Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk October 7, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — NVMP @ 9:32 PM
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A book review by Alexander Castiglione


Well, the old adage, “If you have nothing nice to say don’t say it at all,” that’s getting thrown out the window.  Now, anybody that reads my reviews knows I am a huge fan of Mr. Palahniuk, but his new release and sequel to Damned falls short of the mark.

Then again, maybe my expectations are too high, since most of his books I’ve read multiple times, equally enamored each time around.  Maybe it’s the fact that the protagonist is an undead tween, donning a skort, battling obesity and dealing with a serious inferiority complex; and as a twenty-something male, I find that a tad hard to relate to.  My ability to relate aside, points to Palahniuk for being able to create and maintain a unique alienated teenage voice for near 600 pages between the two novels.

Of course the book has its vile twists and turns and sordid sub-plots (no Chuck book would be complete without them), but save for the end, I found this entire piece weighed, measured, and found wanting.  A gut feeling tells me it’s part of a trilogy, and I truly hope so.

Damned, well, it was pretty damned good.  A truly twisted tale of Hades, Hell, the underworld; whatever name you put on it.  With candy as currency and pools of bodily fluids making up the landscape, it was as hilarious as disturbing.  However, it’s sequel left something to be desired.  Doomed, just like its prequel, ends with a question mark (IE The End?) and I truly hope this is prophetic of a 3rd installment, as this one left much to be desired.

Doomed comes out October 8th, 2013 via Doubleday.  Grab a copy and decide for yourself.


Damned by Chuck Palahniuk September 11, 2011

Filed under: Book Reviews — NVMP @ 5:16 PM
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A Book Review by Alexander ‘Stigz’ Castiglione

Ever wonder what it was like to be in Hell? Or ever wonder what it’s like to be a 13 year-old fat girl who dies from a marijuana overdose? Well, you need not muse any longer, because Palahliuk’s newest novel gives you both viewpoints, as only Chuck can deliver: mired in unpalatable truths and tethered in the places between reason and reality.
His newest piece, which hits the shelves tentatively on October 18 2011, is your standard Chuck satire, an allegorical piece truly assaulting the notions of what is moral and what is not. It looks at our entire paradigm of “moral behavior” and what is a damning offense, and fleshes out the idiosyncrasies in our cultural logic. If you honk the horn more than 500 times in your life, say “fuck” more than 300 times, or throw more than a dozen cigarette butts in the street, you better be ready for warmer climes, according to the narrator.

Almost the negative image to his portrayal in Haunted, this book focuses not on Heaven, but on Hell, and what the author thinks it would be like. Complete with nauseating landscapes of the Ocean of Wasted Sperm, the Dandruff Desert, and the Sea of Aborted Fetuses, the narrator paints a vivid and equally revolting picture of what you heathens can expect in the afterlife.

Operating under a character paradigm loosely based on the cult classic The Breakfast Club, we follow a disillusioned preteen and her unlikely cohorts through the hellish landscape and brimstone background. With a new take on the rebel, the jock, the girly girl, and the dork, little miss Madison Spencer, our protagonist, takes on a twisted form of the Ally Sheedy character in this allegorical foray into the underworld. As always, expect people to kick the proverbial bucket in the most twisted of ways, interlaced with a plot that coalesces, creating a story which is truly symphonic literature. Some Palahniuk fiends may think they have it all figured out halfway into the book, but trust this Chuck-junkie, you won’t, not until the last 20 or so pages at least.

As always, expect metaphors and seemingly useless facts to delineate what the author is trying to convey, like demons named Zaebos, Succorbenoth, and Kabol. Get ready for Hitler to get an ass-whooping, Caligula to lose his manhood, and to meet some of our collective favorites, like Sinatra and Cobain, spending eternity in Hades. Also, expect some cunnilingus performed on an ancient, giant demon named Psezpolnica by a severed head. Yes, it gets that twisted, but what else have you come to expect from Chuck Palahniuk? And by the way, all those phone calls from market research companies you get right before you sit down to enjoy your dinner, well, those are done by demons and damned souls. Think about that next time somebody calls and asks you about your chewing gum preference while your Lean Cuisine is getting cold.

Besides the wonderfully repelling locales and characters, it shows in the subtext how we constantly, throughout human history, turn old idols into new demons; and we continue to do it today – just not as flagrantly. Complete with plot twists, perfectly timed flashbacks, and hyperbole-enriched characters like Maddy Spencer’s eco-obsessed, egocentric, billionaire, movie star parents who toss the 13 year old Xanax like Ju-Ju Bees and force her to watch porn; get ready for a bitch slap to the face of us – Americans. Obviously a furtive jab at the over-medicating of our children, and how we shield them from pornography and sex – one of the few things that binds us all as a species, as usual, nothing is safe from the reach of Chuck’s pen, nothing is sacred from the indelible swipe of his sword made of words.

In closing, if you are a Palahniuk fan, get a first edition of this book the day it comes out – it takes the sordid descriptions, ubiquitous hopelessness and the extensive degradation we expect and creates a wonderfully crafted metaphor and gilded allegory for our times. If you’re looking for a leisurely read, grab the book anyway, Palahniuk’s storytelling abilities are unparalleled.

4.5/5 Pitchforks

P.S. I’d like to thank the people at Doubleday for presenting me with an advanced copy of the book 6 weeks before it hit the shelves so that I could complete this review. Thank you.