When it came to titles of this post, I had no idea what to write. I’ve read Chuck Palahniuk in the past and I always think that the next book I pick up will be normal, or tame, or … something. But I’m coming to learn one thing.
Chuck Palahniuk is all kinds of weird. And man are his books f***** up.
Really, there’s no other way to say it.
I didn’t actually intend on listening ot a book by Chuck Palahniuk. I thought I might start a new Neil Gaiman, but Hoopla didn’t have ANY of his books to listen to (and really, that is all kinds of wrong!), so I randomly scrolled through the titles and picked Invisible Monsters. It looked like it might be a lot less strange than his other two books I’ve read. Haunted, which was awesome, but super gory. Then Pygmy, which … well, Pygmy was a crazy book. Not for the faint of heart. I still have stomach aches from that one.
Frankly, based on those two books, I knew that what Palahniuk had to offer was going to be an odd one, but this one sounded normal — a former model who gets into an accident befriends someone who helps her recreate herself.
Not bad, right?
I kind of fell in love with this one right off the bat and I think the narrator had something to do with it. She sounded like a combination of the girl who played Georgia in Dead Like Me and Ellen Degeneres and was kind of snarky and I liked it. She made the main character sound like someone you could totally be friends with because you knew they were going to tell you things straight up and not sugarcoat anything.
Of course, that’s what you think. What actually is is that the main character had her jaw blown off and looks like you would “if you got the cherry pie in the pie eating contest.” After I finished the story, I still had no idea how to picture this character. A former model with no jaw, a lolling tongue, and skin tissue hanging all around. The cover of the book is actually kind of clever since it shows the model with that spattering of red in the face, which you would assume is poorly applied lipstick, but instead is a neat way to show what the character looks like without actually showing what the character looks like.
Anyway, when you think this new friend of yours can tell you how it is, they really can’t because they can’t talk. This is illustrated throughout the book with gobbledegook (can I actually pull that word off in a review?!) — awesomely narrated on the audiobook. We spend a lot of time with her narrating, so it’s always crazy to have those reminders that she can’t actually talk.
And aside from her character, everyone in the book definitely has their own story. My favourite characters had to be the main character’s parents. There were a few scenes with them that had me busting a gut! Everyone had a story and everything was so twisted and sometimes confusing — but it all was amazingly tied up in the end that I didn’t even see it coming.
I kind of loved how the whole story was told, too. It’s not told as a series of events that happen in order. Instead, we’re jumping back, jumping ahead, and you would think it would be totally confusing, but I was pretty surprised that I managed to keep track of everything and have no problem jumping back into the audio after not listening for a few days. Palahniuk wrote a story and characters that I could really understand and get into when I was listening, even if I only had 20 minutes to listen. Not only that, but with a story that has its unbelievably gory moments (really, you’d have to listen to it to find out — there were times I was very thankful I wasn’t eating while listening), it’s full of so much heart! You really wouldn’t think that, but the last ten minutes of the book had me hooked and I just had to sit and listen. In fact, this whole story despite all of its craziness made me want to listen … and I rarely listen to audiobooks these days.
Seriously, this book was amazingly good. If you can stomach the gruesome parts in it, you’ll probably fall in love with the story like I did. Yeah, not all of the characters are likable, but that’s a good thing. Now that I’m finished, I definitely need to read more of his stuff. I never thought I’d like Palahniuk’s work, but with every book I read, I realize how awesome he is.
Have you read anything by Chuck Palahniuk? Are you in agreement that he’s just plain weird?