Monday, August 30, 2010

Invisible Monsters

I decided to be a good reader and give Chuck Palahniuk another chance. Partly because I like books that are, uh, darker, so he should be right up my alley. And partly because I was at the library without my to-read list and feeling pressured.

I'm glad I gave this dude another chance.

Invisible Monsters is less about shock and more about actually telling the story.

In this story, nothing is what it seems.

At sixteen, Shannon's brother Shane had his face scarred by an exploding hairspray can in the family burn barrel. No one knows who put the can there, but the police investigate the parents for neglect.

Soon there after, Shane develops a case of strep throat. Tests results, though, show that the sixteen-year-old has gonorrhea of the throat. Presumably, he got it from a tryst with a lover. When their parents throw him out of the house, Shannon refuses to let him back in.

An anonymous phone call a few years later tells the family that Shane has died from AIDs.

Shannon starts her modeling career and meets Evie. No matter how hard Evie tries, she's always big-boned.

Shannon has had her jaw blown off by a gunshot through her half-open car window. The shot may have been fired by Evie or Manus, Shannon's fiancee that was having an affair with Evie.

Before her jaw was blown to smithereens, Shannon has suspicions about Manus. As a detective, he wore Borat-style swimsuits to catch public masturbaters. When he lost his job security because of age and the public masturbaters wising up, he started to do "research" in gay clubs and with gay porn.

Shannon meets Brandy Alexander in the hospital. Brandy looks a lot like Shannon did before her jaw was blown off.

Manus breaks into Evie's house while Shannon is house sitting and tries to kill her. She locks him in the trunk and burns the house down.

Shannon and Brandy Alexander travel the country with Manus in tow. Every city means a new alias as the trio steal drugs from open houses they attend.

Brandy reveals that as a teen she was orally raped by a police detective that blackmailed her to drop neglect charges against her father.

Shannon, Brandy, and Manus crash Evie's wedding. Shannon sets the house on fire again. Manus is caught having sex with the groom. And Evie shoots Brandy Alexander. Maybe.

That about sums it up.
Except absolutely nothing in this book is what it is originally presented as.
But it still manages to tie itself up quite nicely in the last few pages.
And because this only the second Palahniuk book I've read, I won't jump to any conclusions about his earlier work being better. But I'll think it to myself.


  1. 1) Chucky P. freaks me out. I enjoyed Fight Club as a movie, but the book and his other material? Meh. Not such a big fan.

    2) I did get your package the other day! I muchly appreciated the note. I need to finish up a pair of library books first, and then I'll get to the reading of it quite-quickly.

  2. Have you read Palahniuk's short story "Guts"? (I think you can read it online) It's totally disgusting and made me a little scared of the guy.

  3. Though I'm forced to disagree with you on your oinion of Palahniuk (the man is my idol) I will agree his later works are better than his earlier works. I would reccomend reading Pygmy if you are willing to give him another shot. And don't bother with Rant.

  4. Wow just wow. I'm never read any of his stuff and I feel like I should.