Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

Title: Damned
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date:
Source: Library

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a Chuck Palahniuk fan.
  • You don't mind being grossed out.
What's the Story?:

From "'Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,' declares the whip-tongued thirteen-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 hard-sell you Hell. He makes eternal torment, well, simply divine."

My Two Cents:

 I like Chuck Palahniuk's writing in general. It's funny. It's off-kilter. It's unique. I loved Fight Club and Survivor so much that he's been elevated in my book so that every time he has a new book coming out, it ends up on my TBR list so adding Damned was no question. While I finished the book, I'm a little sad about the time I spent on reading the book. 

The storyline sounds funny. In practice, it's not so funny. On top of that, throughout the book, I felt like Palahniuk was trying to see just how far he could go in either grossing the reader out or just pressing buttons in general. Or was it just to see how much shock factor you could fit in a book? Yes, I know that many people feel that Palahniuk just likes to shock and even in the books of his that I loved, the shock factor is present but I feel like there is a ton more there. There's great, witty writing, which did not seem present here. 

It takes a lot to shock me and my philosophy when it comes to books is that if the shock serves some higher purpose, I'm usually okay with it but if it's shock for the purpose of shock, it gets a little ridiculous quickly.

Bottom line: I suggest skipping this one.  



  1. I haven't read any of his books but my husband has and is starting to get tired of them. I don't even know if he read this one. I do plan on reading Invisible Monsters one of these days though!

    1. Invisible Monsters is another good one. I almost feel like Palahniuk feels that he has to keep pushing the limits for the sake of pushing the limits.

  2. I've been meaning to read this (and other Palahniuk books) for some time now, but things keep getting in the way. Should I start with one of his other works? Which one would you suggest?

  3. This book sounds really good, from your review though I think I will pass. It's a shame it was not a better book with such a good premise.

    1. Yeah, the premise definitely sounded good. It sort of makes me even more disappointed in the book.

  4. I won this awhile back and its sitting in my tbr pile...guess it will stay there...i do not do cross

  5. Replies
    1. Yup, I definitely see where that author is coming from...


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