Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hysteria is impossible without an audience

My book review on Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk


Channeling your inner diva to find the monster within yourself seems to be the best way I could describe Invisible Monsters by well-known author Chuck Palahniuk.

The story is told through the narration of a disfigured woman named Shannon McFarland, who was on top of the world being in love and living the dream of a fashion model. After a freeway accident left her disfigured and unable to speak, fair-weather friendships, an unfaithful partner as well as a shattered identity, the reader can get a real sense of how desperate times can often lead to desperate measures. Along the way, she befriends a pre-op transsexual named Brandy Alexander who is anything but what she appears to be and will teach a valuable lesson to Shannon; to take charge of one’s life means to stop trying to control it.  

As an author, Palahniuk appears to be cynical and probably the most jaded person on the face of the planet. He’s raw and unapologetic and a lot of the dialogue is extremely graphic and might even churn some stomachs. It’s anything but politically correct. The book does not follow any order at all either. It jumps around from thought to thought, weaving in and out to add some witty conversational dialogue, while still managing to tantalize the reader with intrigue. The foreshadowing of events that I picked up on were very subtle too. The laughter that escaped me came from Palahniuk’s twisted humour, showing the epitome of dysfunctional family dynamics. I’m still not sure how something so wrong (you’ll understand what I mean once you read this book) could fit in as well as it did, but I’m sure afterwards, you’ll be thinking your family life is perfectly normal.

Oddly enough, this book is a hit with creative story-telling, interesting characters, memorable lines and overall obscurity. I would consider this mature reading and so heed my warning if you are very conventional and squeamish.

I look forward to reading other books by this author. Surely a warning label should be on any of Palahniuk’s books though. When entering his mind, buckle up, but remember to enjoy the ride!