Thursday, September 29, 2011

Banned Books Week 2011: American Psycho

As Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., in Texas v. Johnson , said most eloquently:

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

I have not read this book, but I have seen the film and I can imagine that, with the descriptive quality of books, it is probably even more horrifying than the film.  This is on my must-read list.

Not only has it been challenged/banned, but there was much controversy involved during, and immediately after, its publishing.

The book was originally to have been published by Simon & Schuster in March 1991, but the company withdrew from the project because of "aesthetic differences." Vintage Books purchased the rights to the novel and published the book after the customary editing process. The book was never published in hardcover form in the United States, although a deluxe paperback was eventually offered.[6] Ellis received numerous death threats and hate mail after the publication of American Psycho."[7][8]

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem was among those opposed to the release of Ellis' book because of its portrayal of violence toward women. Steinem is also the stepmother of Christian Bale, who played Bateman in the film. This coincidence is mentioned in Ellis' mock memoirLunar Park. --wikipedia

American Psycho is on the ALA list of 100 most frequently challenged books: 1990–1999 (#53)

Specific Instances:
The Carthage, Mo. public librarian (1991) was directed first "to take the book off the shelf and keep it under the circulation desk" and then "lose it." The incident involving the novel "snowballed" and was one of the reasons why, under protest, the librarian submitted her resignation. --Georgia Highlands College

Outside the U.S.:
In Germany, the book was deemed "harmful to minors," and its sales and marketing were severely restricted from 1995 to 2000.

In Australia, the book is sold shrink-wrapped and is classified "R18" under national censorship legislation. The book may not be sold to those under 18 years of age, or criminal prosecution may result. Along with other Category 1 publications, its sale is theoretically banned in the state of Queensland and it may only be purchased shrink-wrapped. In Brisbane, the novel is available to those over 18 from all public libraries and can still be ordered and purchased (shrink-wrapped) from many book stores despite this prohibition.[9] Bret Easton Ellis has commented on this, saying "I think it's adorable, I think it's cute, I love it."[10][11]

In New Zealand, the Government's Office of Film & Literature Classification has rated the book as R18. The book may not be sold or lent in libraries to those under 18 years of age. It is generally sold shrink wrapped in bookstores. --wikipedia



Thanks for visiting our little corner of the horror universe. Your comments are appreciated.
Please note: Your comment will appear after site owner approval.

  1. I've seen this movie and its one of my favorite movies of all time. LOVE it. I really want to read the book too!

  2. I love this book. It's better than the film, but Christian Bale makes the best Patrick Bateman. I'm really saddened by the treatment the book has gotten. I read it in high school, before I turned 18. I'm glad I live in a country where it was readily available to me in my public library. I would highly recommend that you read it, but it's much more graphic and detailed than the film, so be prepared if you do. Great, informative post!

- See more at:
- See more at: