Book Debate Pt II: American Psycho

So my ‘What book will they use to teach about the 80s and 90s?’ question ended up getting picked up by Marginal Revolution and then made in the LA Times Book Blog – who for some reason, linked to him but not me. (and was discussed here, here and here.

The more I think about itAmerican Psycho is the only choice that works. Although the movie sucks and Patrick Bateman has sort of been embraced by exactly the sort of people that Ellis is criticizing, it has the one thing that all the other books have in common: a moral stance on the decades in question.

“I am weeping for myself, unable to find solace in any of this, crying out, sobbing “I just want to be loved,” cursing the earth and everything I have been taught: principles, distinctions, choices, morals, compromises, knowledge, unity prayer–all of it was wrong, without any final purpose. All it came down to was: die or adapt. I imagine my own vacant face, the disembodied voice coming from its mouth: These are terrible times.”

Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho

“Ellis is, first and last, a moralist. Under the cover of his laconic voice, every word in his novels springs from grieving outrage at our spiritual condition.” – Los Angeles Times Book Review

I’m not sure there is a better choice in fiction than Ellis.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.