DAMNED by Chuck Palahniuk
The newest Palahniuk novel concerns Madison, a thirteen year old girl who finds herself in Hell, unsure of why she will be there for all eternity, but tries to make the best of it.
The author described the novel as "if The Shawshank Redemption had a baby by The Lovely Bones and it was raised by Judy Blume." And "it's kind of like The Breakfast Club set in Hell."
Summary: (No spoilers)
First of all, the above blurb is a fantastic description of the book. Madison dies and wakes up in hell. She died of a marijuana overdose, and she can't remember dying. But she's sure she's there for a reason, she's sure she belongs in hell.
Each chapter starts with an homage to Judy Blume, "Dear Satan, it's me Madison..." Amazing!
Madison wakes in Hell and meets a random bunch of teenagers, and it's seriously like the gang of The Breakfast Club. There's the popular girl, the punk guy, and the nerdy one. Then there's the weirdo. Ally Sheedy.
Madison in Ally Sheedy in DAMNED. And it's glorious.
She goes through the landscape of hell meeting all kinds of characters along the way.
THERE IS A SEQUEL. Yes. I squealed. I love Palahniuk. He IS my favorite author. My two favorite books are THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, and THE GREAT GATSBY, but after those two are Palahniuk books. And I like a multitude of his.
I walked into DAMNED expecting to like it. For me, that can be a problem. Sometimes when something is too built up, or I walk in with too high of hopes, I am left disappointed. (The opposite can be true too. If something is just beaten down, and I try it anyway with super low expectations, it can surprise me as not too bad). But neither were the case this time. I walked into it with high expectations, and I was NOT disappointed.
I loved how gross the book got. I love the chorus aspect of Dangerous Writing. And I LOVE the way Palahniuk eliminates all thought verbs and instead makes the reader FEEL everything and believe it on our own through showing, not telling.
Basically I reacted with Loooooooove the whole way through the book. And then I was SUPER pleased with the fact that I still need to buy and read DOOMED.
I with SNUFF or SURVIVOR had sequels now!
Yes! Absolutely yes. I love Chuck Palahniuk. There isn't one book of his (of the ones I've read) that I would not recommend.
Unfortunately, this recommendation comes with a caveat. I hate to do it, but I have to.
If you don't like swearing. If you don't like dirty themes and things that will make you squirm. If you don't like dangerous writing (and form of minimalist writing) then you will Not like anything by Palahniuk, including DAMNED.
I recommend it anyway, though. Give Palahniuk a shot. IF you've never read anything of his (first, for shame) then my recommendation may be different. My favorite three are: SURVIVOR, SNUFF, and LULABY. HAUNTED is also wonderful. Plus.... hello, FIGHT CLUB (for shame on me with this one... I still haven't read it yet).
But read DAMNED. Read Palahniuk :)