First off, American Psycho is a great novel, and The Rules of Attraction is a pretty good one. But oh my God, this book is awful. Ellis rips himself off, trading on the reputation, and recycling the characters and scenes, of American Psycho and his other previous books. He does a poor imitation of Stephen King in too many trashy secondhand horror scenes. Then there is some crappy, clichéd family drama and a mawkish, embarrassing "happy" ending. (Sample: "I saw my father walking toward me -- he was a child again and smiling and he was offering me an orange he held out with both hands.") The characters, including two children and a writer named "Bret Easton Ellis," are cardboard. After finishing this book I was tempted to contact Ellis or the publisher and ask for my $13.95 back.
What I liked about the book was the memoir portions (about the first 35 pages; how much of it is true I don't know) and some of the satire of suburban life. Yes, Cheever, Richard Yates, and many others have mined this territory before, but Ellis has something new to say about the suburbs, circa the 00's -- the kids all on meds, the school-obsessed parents, the six-year-olds reading Lord of the Flies in school. This book would have made a great short story.
There's a blogger named Matthew Perpetua who is writing one entry on every R.E.M. song (link); and another one (Phil Reed) doing the same thing for Talking Heads (link) (via). I am very impressed with and excited about both projects. (Come on Jeff - do The Fall!) People have started doing interesting things within the formalism of blogs; like this for example.