Chuck Palahniuck, an American novelist and freelance journalist known most for his novel “Fight Club”, which was later made into a feature film directed by David Fincher, is a transgressional fiction writer who has written other successful novels, such as “Invisible Monsters” and “Choke”. His novels, mostly fiction but heavily influenced by Palahniuck’s personal life, are notorious for their “illicit” and somewhat “disturbing” content, of which was the cause for the initial rejection of his first publication attempts. Although his novels received little recognition when first published, his works grew in popularity due to a cult following years after the publication and movie production of “Fight Club”. Chuck Palahniuk’s most recent novel, “Damned”, is a story about a 13-year-old, Madison, daughter of two very famous hollywood actors, who awakes finding herself in Hell. The novel unfolds as Madison explores Hell, which is similar to that described by Dante’s “Inferno”, as she attempts to find out why she went to hell when she died, and exactly how she died. This novel cleverly portrays the thoughts, actions, and internal controversy of the protagonist as she gradually recounts the memories of her life leading to her death while associating with those also in Hell. The story emphasizes the theme of finding one’s personal identity, alluded to in the passage “It’s stunning how having nothing to lose will build your self-confidence”. Palahniuck also writes, “In Hell, it’s our attachments to a fixed identity that tortures us”. Although this book provides an entertaining read, it’s obvious Palahniuck made a careful attempt to write something fresh and creative, yet failed to gradually build the enthusiasm of the plot, making it tempting to put down at times. Although the climax and twist at the end of the novel are quite creative, its significance will alienate readers who are not familiar other famous literature, mainly British. I would mainly recommend this book to famous literature readers, but not particularly to casual readers who would probably prefer his earlier works more so than “Damned.”
I know I’m not the only one who envisioned Hagrid just a little bigger and Umbridge a lot uglier. Maybe you were let down by Peeta and Gale. Books that are turned into movies often get a lot of publicity and reach a bigger audience than they might of because of the readers that want to see their favorite book on the big screen. However, at least for me, many times it is a let down. Often the producers are not required to stick to the books exact story line. This leaves readers disappointed when the endings are messed up and ruined. I read—and cried through—My Sister’s Keeper. The movie was just as sad but missing the ending I was expecting and even wanted! I am a strong believer in reading the book before you see the movie. There is something about creating a face and somewhat of an identity for the character on your own before the media ruins it and commercializes it. I’ve yet to see the Hunger Games because I haven’t had time to read the book yet. This is not to say all books are ruined by movies. Water For Elephants, in both book and movie form, is excellent. This is a challenge to read the book before you see the movie next time. Make your own ideas about it before you are swayed but the commercials. Don’t be disappointed by the big screen ever again.