“Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued 13-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction.
The daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, while her parents are off touting their new projects and adopting more orphans. She dies over the holiday of a marijuana overdose—and the next thing she knows, she’s in Hell. Madison shares her cell with a motley crew of young sinners that is almost too good to be true: a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, and a punk rocker, united by fate to form the six-feet-under version of everyone’s favorite detention movie.
Madison and her pals trek across the Dandruff Desert and climb the treacherous Mountain of Toenail Clippings to confront Satan in his citadel. All the popcorn balls and wax lips that serve as the currency of Hell won’t buy them off.
This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno where The English Patient plays on endless repeat, roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb, and the damned interrupt your dinner from their sweltering call center to hardsell you Hell. He makes eternal torment, well, simply divine.
©2011 Chuck Palahniuk (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“The story scoots along like any great adventure story, as she takes on Hitler and Catherine de Medici, and it’s a delight seeing Madison find her place in life, even if it’s in death.” (Booklist)
"Palahniuk is one of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time. He rearranges Vonnegut's sly humor, DeLillo's mordant social analysis, and Pynchon's antic surrealism (or is it R. Crumb's?) into a gleaming puzzle palace all his own." (Newsday)
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.
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
I love early Chuck Palahniuk but the later stuff seems to be written to shock the reader rather than to make them think.
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 have never wanted a refund on a book in the past, even if I didn't enjoy it. Some things aren't my cup of tea. I wasn't offended or disgusted by this book but it was just plain stupid and an absolute waste of time. I can deal with losing my credit, but I at least want the 8 hours of my life back that I wasted.
But they were all grimy much like the hell in which Madison resides. I felt like I was on a roller coaster of 'this is getting good' verses 'oh, letdown'.
Narration was good, but it'll be a while before I pick up another Palahniuk.
The book had Chuck's typical descriptive style where it was easy to imagine the narrative. This book left me wanting to learn more about the world he created and I found myself rooting for the protagonist.
A busy lady, just tryin' to fit her reading in where she can!
The title would leave you to believe this is a very serious and sinister book ; but honestly it is a very funny story about a 13 year old girl's journey of self discovery. While the landscape of hell is disgusting, the friends Madison makes are funny and help her find out how she really died.
There is no doubt Chuck Palahniuk is a specific kind of author, and his books wont be for everyone, but I think this book is worth a try.
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