I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
“What makes earth feel like hell is our expectation that it should feel like heaven.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Damned
Reading this wasn't Heaven (brilliant) and it certainly wasn't Hell (horrible). It was just kinda purgatory, luke warm. Read almost as an obligation. Perhaps, I've grown too old. Perhaps, CP has grown too old. The shock is gone. All shock is gone?
There is also a bunch of Hell fiction out there. I still prefer Steven Peck's A Short Stay in Hell and of course Dante's (not Dan Brown's) Inferno. This one is a mixture of the Breakfast Club meets Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret with a dash of Jane Eyre for spice. It certainly is transgressive in parts (her first battle with a demon in hell was, um, interesting), but it also is a bit uneven, and actually boring in parts.
So, not my favorite Palahniuk novel but also not my least favorite. Not bad enough to keep me from reading the rest of Palahniuk's pile, just not good enough that I'll read them tomorrow. Hell part 2 (Doomed) can wait.
I'm a fan of Chuck and I'll admit straight up this isn't one of his best books. I still found it quite a good read though and got through it in 3 or 4 days of squirming, tawdry fun with one of my favourite authors.
While the first half of the book meanders along with seemingly little point, it does build to a solid ending (even though there is a sequel) and has a few classic Chuck moments along the way. There is even a hint of a heart in this book as opposed to some of his earlier "anarchic" works. The book plays with the concept of hope, and not always with disdain.
Madison is a 13 year old girl who at the beginning claims to have died of a marijuana overdose and arrives in hell. As with many Palahniuk tales, the book then digs back through time to tell you the real story about how Madison really died and arrived in hell. Madison goes on to become a telemarketer (did you know most telemarketers are employed in hell?) and quickly becomes responsible for an increase in the numbers of people being damned to eternity in hell as she befriends a collection of terminally ill old people and children and convinces them to get life over and done with and to look her up in hell.
The story ends with a scene that has similarities to the ending of Stephen King's "Carrie", except with way more grossness and humour.
As with all Chuck books, Damned is not a book for the prudish and easily offended - and descriptions of the contents of Hell's oceans and rivers, waterfalls etc are graphic and gross. There is also a typically WTF sex scene featuring a giant demon and a decapitated boy which you can see coming but can't look away from when it arrives.
I've given the narration 5 stars as it was excellent - Tai Sammons was the perfect choice.
Is there a point to the twisted tale I have just read?
Here's a quote from towards the end of the book - "To anyone reading this who isn't already dead, I wish you luck, honestly I do. You just keep swallowing your vitamins. Keep jogging around reservoirs and avoiding second hand cigarette smoke. Cross your fingers! Maybe death won't happen to you."
I'm generally a chuck fan, but I couldn't get through this one -just not that funny or interesting or written well enough to justify my time. I do encourage you, however, to try other another chuck (except pygmy - I didn't like that one much either).
I bought this audiobook despite the poor reviews here because when you pick up a Palahniuk, you should know what you are getting into! I have
All of his books describe the ways in which people derive some kind of comfort or satisfaction in unconventional or socially unacceptable ways, and this is no less true for the dead. His books always include some form of odd sexual content, so this should not be surprising to people either - embrace it!
The narrator was excellent.
In summary, this is not a starter Palahniuk, but one for the die-hard fans for whom he can do no wrong. Fight club and choke are mandatory reading before delving into this second string stuff.
It starts out great. But as the story progresses, it feels more and more rushed. The last quarter of the book I could almost hear the editor banging on the door demanding the final draft.
With the one exception of Megan meeting Satan for the second time, its very predictable. Almost like a short story that was expanded to make a book. If you are looking for anoher Haunted or Fight Club, this is not going to get it.
High School teacher and audiophile...I listen to no fewer than four books a week. It is my escape. I listen for information, entertainment and sometimes just brain candy, so my audio library is eclectic. I offer no profound literary analysis, but I can tell you if a book is fun to listen to!
As with all Palahniuk creations, the concept is original and twisted. The "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret" format is humorous enough, but add to that the eventual takeover of hell by a chubby 13 year old who collects trophy pieces from history's most notorious and you have a seriously funny book. The narrator, however, made me re-think listening to the audio. I can understand the choice...her voice has the annoying tonal quality that one might find in a precocious early adolescent, but is just not pleasant to listen to. Though far from monotone, there is still a droning quality to the narration, on par with listening to a wasp trying to escape through the glass of your bedroom window all night long....
I dont know what I was thinking. After half liking Fight Club, I keep trying on Palahniuk and now Im convinced to stop.
First of all, if I wanted to get the chronicle of a hell dweller, I would NEVER choose to talk to a know it all bitter hollow mined 13 yr old girl who knows nothing about life. Granted, she is clever, sometimes half funny, but NOT the perspective anyone would be interested in.
After 7 chapters, this “interview with the damned “ is just a “monologue by a rich 13 yr old girl who happens to be in a funny depiction of a hell”.
It almost feels like she isn’t actually dead, just passed out and dreaming or just plainly on a drug induced hallucination with her neighborhood buddies.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
I'll sum this up for you and save you a credit. A 13-yr old girl BITCHES non-stop about being in hell. Honestly, if you liked "Fight Club", there's no way in hell you'll be able to get through the first ten minutes of this. If you're a 13-yr old girl, you may find this book somewhat amusing.
I usually go head over heels for C.P.'s work. I have read almost everything he has writtin and adored Rant and Haunted...flipped over Lullaby and really enjoyed Diary.
This reads as though it was written by an inexperienced writed trying to sound like Palahniuk.
I didn't feel any connection to the characters, the story built to an anticlimax that left me feeling really flat. It actually seemed more like a book written for teenagers or Y/A.
An hour close to the end I couldn't have cared less but I kept slogging along until, nothing happened, and then, to quote Chuck out of Pygmy, (another fav) nothing kept happening.
If hell is as boring as C.P. invisions...I'd rather go to heaven.
On the other hand I would listen to the narrator. She did a good job with what she was given.
I really should have know from the description that this would not be good. This was definately a major mistake. The characters were not at all likeable. The story was just plain stupid.
I stopped after a couple of chapters. Don't know what I was thinking.
I disliked the characters so much I probably am not giving the reader a fair shot.
There was nothing redeeming about this book