“A masterful satire and a ferocious, hilarious, ambitious, inspiring piece of writing, which has large elements of Jane Austen at her vitriolic best. An important book.”



This is going to be a two part review and the reason for that is that I have read this book twice, 15 years apart and so I am going to give you my thoughts and feelings from both experiences.

I first discovered American Psycho when it was serialised in the UK paper the Independent and after reading a few hundred words I just had to go out and buy it.

There was a fair bit of controversy surrounding the novel, it was and still is sold in shrink wrapping in parts of Australia, and is banned in several countries in the world.

Be under no illusions this is a gritty, violent, stomach-churning disgrace of a novel but I absolutely loved it. It felt edgy and different to anything I had ever read before and I ended up going on and reading many of Ellis’ other works. It’s not an easy novel to read, but I do remember thinking it artistic and pretty cool!

Fast forward 15 years, several jobs, two children.

While short on reading material I thought I’d reread some old books filling up the shelves a few years ago and found myself picking up American Psycho again. I reread quite a bit but had only ever read this once and so decided it was time for a revisit.

The first thing that struck me is the arty 80s-ness of the novel was just completely lost on me a second time. American Psycho is very ‘of its time’ and I’m not sure it stands up as a classic, though it’s controversial status is likely to assure its place as cult classic forever.

Secondly, did someone sneak in and add even more depraved disgusting bits? Upon the second read I had to fight the urge to fling the book away from me several times. It really is disgustingly horrible in a way that stays with you long after reading.

That’s a bit of a mixed review isn’t it? Maybe books are the mirrors that perfectly reflect how much each of us has changed, and I learned something about myself on the reread.


Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 14th December 2015

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Kath Cross