Book & Nail: American Psycho
Would I recommend American Psycho to my friends? No. Because I love my friends and I want nothing but happiness for them. The graphic imagery – disturbing. The obsessively detailed descriptions of who was wearing what and where they bought it – exhausting. One episode where the POV is broken – disorienting. An extensive break to detail every song on every Huey Lewis and the News album induces frustration and ignites impatience.
But the intoxicating rhythm and drive to see a bad person feel the wrath of justice could motivate any committed reader. I tried to put this book down. After a particular scene early on in the book I closed the pages and did not return until months later. The story had already sunk its teeth in me.
“In fact some, if they noticed my absence, might feel an odd, indefinable sense of relief. This is true: the world is better off with some people gone. Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.” 226
Patrick Bateman is the American psycho. But he isn’t the only one out of touch with reality. Sure, as far as the reader knows, he’s the only got chopping people up, yet, paradoxically, he’s also the only one who points out his own insanity. Besides his actual victims, he’s the only one that notices or cares. He’s the only one who occasionally has some access to clarity, truth. This is difficult to swallow considering Bateman is the most unreliable narrator ever. (A friend of mine suggested that he actually never murdered anyone. This was too much for me to process so I’m sticking with the he’s an actual murderer interpretation right now.)
Everyone is too busy competing to become the best consumer. To have and to be able to afford, the most, the best, the top-of-the-line everything, and to be with the most attractive person currently available, or unavailable or it doesn’t matter as long as you associate with certain people (the best people) is all that matters. Keep these and only these things in mind and you will be: the best.
Graphic imagery followed by name brands and excessive spending creates correlations quickly. It has made me scrunch my nose at the meaning of a price tag or label. And dismiss the need for the best. This story has managed to reform my thought process and made almost disgusted with want. Fascinating!
Because, what really matters? Every person in this book is empty. Unfulfilled. And not trying to be. Except, of course, for Bateman. The crazy guy. He’s the only one going around telling the truth, spewing honesty.
“She says nothing, just looks at me like I’m the opposite of civilization or something.” 208
This is only scratching the surface of American Psycho’s complexity. Readers who can stomach their way through detailed, gruesome attacks and a recap of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits will find themselves with this story, and whatever its message may be, lodged in their brain for months, maybe years, afterward.
The book made me reconsider what value means, what being human means, and what being a consumer means. Now I’m left to redefine these terms which I had thought already had clear cut meanings. But maybe those were the meanings spoon fed to me and not ones I had any hand in developing. American Psycho gave me the space to re-see humanity at its worst, so maybe I can develop a better visual for what it might look like at its best.
American Psycho Nails: 1.) Start with a clear coat base and let dry 2.) Use a red nail polish and paint the inside of a straw. Just scrap the paint off on the inside rim, close to the edge. 3.) On a covered surface, lay your soon to be splattered hand out and blow quickly through the straw for the ultimate splatter. Repeat as you think necessary, directing the straw to particularly blank areas 4.) Let dry 5.) Clear coat again 6.) BONUS: I used a matte black for an accent nail. Using some knock off washi tap, I taped off a diagonal portion of my nail and painted over it. It’s supposed to be like a halfhearted attempted to cover up the splatter – a kind of connection to the book. Also it looks cool.