I loved the movie. Bale's Patrick Bateman is one of my all time favorite characters. This book is awful though. And not for the very few disturbing torture porn scenes.
It is a first person fiction story narrated by the protagonist, and since he is a narcissist, misogynist, psychopath playboy, we get to experience the world how he sees it. And this is the problem, at least on the amount of details the author provides. It does make a good work in putting ourselves in his shoes, but man what a boring, even if very expensive custom made designer tailed shoes, they are.
I would say 80% of the book is exclusively the character detailing what he and everyone else is using. And it is a LONG book. I think this is how to watch the Kardashians feels like. He describes every single piece of clothe, for every single person he finds, in every single scene, naming every designer of that particular piece. Also he describes in painstakingly details the things he has in his apartment and the products he uses to keep his appearance. His sound system and skincare products, for instance.
He also describes other people looks, how good or bad their tan, their hair, and compare those features with hist. That's how he measures a person's worth. Unless its a woman, then he measures weather he would fuck her. That's the only thing women are good for according to him. That and killing them.
There are some chapters dedicated to him describing an album of music he likes. Yes, whole chapters of this. I managed to skip just the last one of these, as just then I knew that it wouldn't contain nothing relevant to the character or the plot.
These scenes of descriptions of his vestiary, on how he spent $400 in a sock or something, is followed by he meeting some random beggar on the streets. He describes his disgust for the scene, their stench, their lack of concern for their appearance, mocks, taunts and sometimes, kill them (of course) This is a very good critic of our society right there. Not the killing though, most people are content to just ignoring or mocking them.
When he is among friends, other psychopaths like him it would appear, all his talk is about this kind of stuff. They only talk about food, people they fucked or would like to fuck, mind you they all have steady girlfriends. They are racists, xenophobic, elitists, womanizers, superficial, a caricature of what incredibly rich and well successful wall street businessman are. Because of the time the book is written, AIDS is still a new thing. They believe themselves to be immune to it, only women and homosexual can die from the disease.
Among the interesting things about the book, we found out he lives in the same building as Tom Cruise. He has an awkward encounter with him in the elevator. He is fascinated with Donal Trump, has a brother whom he hates and wouldn't mind killing him. He also hates his father, who is very rich and successful as well.
The quality I like most about the character present in the book, his overreacting of things that most people would find trivial. The classic scene when he looses it when he sees his coworkers business cards is here, but it didn't have nearly the same impact as in the movie, as it was mixed with all the boring things I talked about. And there is many of this kind of overreaction scenes, which were nice. But the movie has thoroughly captured this aspect of his personality with just that one scene. And that is the thing about the movie, it is a much abridged version, and it was better because of it.
Also, there is much more killing in the book. Some murder and sex scenes are very graphical, especially toward the end of the book. Patrick is obsessed with watching porn, and masturbate to killing scenes.
The thing I loved most about the movie was its ending, which is not present here. They took an implied minor scene of the book and made the whole idea of the movie around it. It was BRILLIANT. The movie ends with Patrick doubting wheater he did in fact kill all those people he remembers killing, as they all seem to be still alive. It makes sense because of the copious amount of drug he uses, plus his disturbed personality. He has many hallucinations where he sometimes can't tell what is real. In the book its just one person he thinks he might not have killed. At least not the right person. But he has committed dozens of cruelty acts, inclusive with animals, and has killed maybe a hundred people, according to his calculations.
Not present in the movie is how Patrick Bateman is extremely vicious and cruel to his victims. Perhaps that's because of the details and time the book has, plus not being restricted by TV moral standards. He likes to torture them in very spectacular ways before killing them. He is also a cannibal.
In conclusion, I don't sympathize with the reasons people liked this book so much. I read the top reviews and I completely disagree with them. Its like an artist exposing a blank painting in an art gallery, and everybody praising it. I just don't see it. Then there is the complaint about how he treats women. This is an unfounded criticism. Its like saying “I will now describe how it feels to be under water”, and then people complaining that they now feel wet. Also, I don't know or care about the “torture porn” genre, but I would guess this would get a 1 out of 5. Its just too few scenes. I hate a book without content. Other reviews are praising the book's dark take on society. Again, 80% of the book is just FILLER. It is not a good book!
Overall I enjoyed the book, but nothing justifies all the useless info dump the book presents.