In his second novel Bret Easton Ellis tried to write the kind of book about college that he always wanted to read but couldn't find.
The satirical and black comedy novel follows three main characters (Sean Bateman, Lauren Hynd, Paul Denton), dominating the flow of narration (every chapter is written from a different person's point of view), engaging into promiscuous behavior with men and women alike, taking drugs, not going to classes, getting abortions or STDs, and suffering from the emptiness of their ostentatiously Bohemian life style.
The story is set a Camden College which resembles the Liberal Arts Bennington College that the author used to attend. Lauren, Sean and Paul enter into a love-triangle leaving at least two of them utterly miserable.
Expecting a typical college story would be out of place with Bret Easton Ellis. Everything is hyperbolical for the sake of highlighting the emptiness of the narrators life's.
"I consider the options. I can leave right now, go back to my room, play the guitar, go to sleep. Or I could play quarters with Tony and Bridget and that dumb guy from LA. Or, I can take this girl off-campus, to The Carousel for a drink, leave her there. Or, I can take her to my room, hope the frog is gone, get stoned and fuck her."
In the book we also meet Patrick Bateman (Sean's brother), the narrator of Ellis' third and most acclaimed novel.