Thursday, 23 June 2011


"Tell-All" by Chuck Palahniuk tells story of an aging movie star and the woman who, essentially, looks after her. It was actually published last year, I believe, but has only just come out in paperback, and therefore only just appeared on the shelves of Waterstone's (not one hundred per cent sure why this is).
A couple of weeks ago, when I bought this book, I was in Southampton with my friends Sara and Nick. Nick said that the best Palahniuk book is "Fight Club". I told him he was wrong, because "Invisible Monsters" is clearly the best, but I had high hopes for "Tell-All". I'll admit, I was a little bit disappointed.

The story is good, it's engaging and well-paced, with short chapters so reading it doesn't feel like a chore. I like to read before I go to sleep, so I'd rather read a few short chapters than slug through a single long one. I liked the way the chapters were described more like scenes from a film, although I found the decision to do this a little confusing at the end (though to explain why would be a huge spoiler, so I won't). I didn't like the character of Miss Kathie (who a couple of times was referred to as Miss Katie - not sure if this was deliberate) and I didn't really like the character of Hazie either, though I felt a bit sorry for the former. Actually, no, I felt a bit sorry for both of them, but for different reasons.

My issue with the book was the constant name-dropping. I understand why it was done, and it was definitely unusual, which I normally like in books. My problem with it was that I hadn't heard of most of the people being mentioned, which meant I didn't understand the references and therefore didn't really get it. I found myself skipping a paragraph or two full of references (and they stood out because they were bold-ed) and then had to go back when I realised I didn't understand what was happening in the next paragraph. I just didn't get along with the constant name-dropping, I found it a bit distracting.

I also think he gave away the end game a bit early on, but I can't say any more than that. In fact, I probably shouldn't have even said that, but anyone who reads Chuck's books knows his style, so I'll just say that the ending of "Tell-All" bears a resemblence to the endings of "Fight Club," "Invisible Monsters," "Choke," "Snuff," and, to a certain extent, "Rant."

I did like the book, I enjoyed reading most of it. I even laughed out loud a couple of times, although I've been told I have a weird sense of humour. Really, the only bad point about it was the incessant name-dropping, which I just couldn't get along with. Someone who knows who these people are might find it adds a whole new dimension to the book, but I was just pleased on the rare occasion that I'd heard of someone.

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