I'm a long-time fan of Palahniuk and bought this one a while back and had never gotten around to reading it. Having found it recently after reading his wonderful "Beautiful You" I tried it out but it never really engaged me.
It set itself up as a road-movie and then very little happened after the premise was laid out. By the end I was pretty much longing for it to be over... there were some giggles and a clever pretense but that's about it.
Perhaps, like "Beautiful You" it's a parody and I just don't appreciate it...
"Fight Club" the movie was the first (and perhaps only) film that at the end I proceeded to rewind and re-watch the whole thing again in one sitting. "Beautiful You" has the honour of being the 2nd book which I've ever done that with.
I finished it trying to decide if it was the female version of fight club, misogynist, misandrist or simply just extremely clever and critical of western society and inter-sexual and societal norms. It is brilliant, dark and cynical all wrapped up in the package of being a throw away beach book ala Dean Koontz, in fact I think that may be one of his inspirations for this one.
Yes the characters are flat, yes the plot reads like the Hardy Boys and yes the ending is, shall we say, very "Clean and Hollywood ready" But in truth it is a hero's journey as defined by Joseph Campbell and like that form there is pretty much only one character in the entire novel the rest are just set decoration. But that character develops beautifully and to a wonderfully circular and unexpected twisted ending.
And no, perhaps I'll not need to read it a 3rd time in the near future to get deeper into the subtext... it's all right there on the surface. But I can see it in 20 years in a literature course on dystopian satires right up there with other works from that ilk.
If you don't get it you won't get it... but if you do it's brilliant. And to be fair I've also enjoyed many of the books that it makes fun of. Perhaps that's the ticket in...
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