Monday, 21 January 2013
Thirteen-year-old Madison Spencer finds herself in hell after her first experience with marijuana. Once there, she has to find her place and start living the life she never had a chance to live while alive.
I am a Chuck Palahniuk fan. I will buy a book simply because it has his name on it - well, except for Pygmy, which I tried to read and got a headache. My favourite of his books is Invisible Monsters, and my least favourite is probably Tell-All, the one that came before Damned. Now I have a new least favourite, and it's this one.
That might be unfair of me. My main issue with this book is how long it took to get to any kind of story. We're talking 100 pages of inconsequential events, 100 pages of utter nonsense, before the actual story starts. And it isn't a long book, so this poor non-story part accounts for a good half of the writing.
One thing I think Palahniuk does really well is create interesting characters, characters who are something different to what we are used to reading about. Madison, I thought, is severely lacking. In fact, she's a bit dull, as well as irritating. I think the irritating part is deliberate, but I found her so thoroughly uninteresting that it was hard to plough through this short novel. Also, while we're on the subject of Madison, she spends a lot of time showing off her vocabulary and criticising the reader for being surprised she knows such words. Except, I wasn't surprised that she knew them. They were words I would expect a lot of thirteen-year-old girls to know, especially those who had received expensive private educations. In fact, part of me found it a bit insulting, since I knew a lot of those words when I myself was thirteen.
Once the story does pick up, it's quite interesting for a while. There's a twist that anyone who has read more than four books in their life will see coming a mile off - I don't think it deserves the name of twist, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was intended to be - and the ending is a bit of a hash, because this is the first book that Palahniuk has ever written a sequel to (as far as I know). All in all, I don't think I would recommend this book, mostly because fans of Palahniuk will read it regardless, and people who aren't fans could pick any other of his books and find a better story.