Lauren's Reviews > Invisible Monsters

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
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's review
Mar 30, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: old

This book is thoroughly disgusting. That's the easiest way to put it. I had the bizarre experience, in closing this book, of not being sure whether this was the best thing I'd ever read or the worst, but with the firm conviction that it was one of the two.

The plot is fairly nonsensical, the characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is ridiculous, and it delves into so many just plain gross ideas (the infamous "felching" conversation comes to mind). However, there are two main features to Invisible Monsters that make it worth your time anyway. The first is the writing. Palahniuk masterfully utilizes blunt revelation and ritualistic repetition in a way that weaves a current of thoughtfulness throughout the narrative. I was first introduced to this book by a collection of quotations from it, and that really is the best way to distill down the story's strengths: it is eminently quotable.

On top of that, Palahniuk makes some seriously intriguing observations about both humanity and society in this book. Not all of them hold up to greater analysis due to his sort of juvenile anarchist revulsion at anything traditionally valuable (if you've read Fight Club or seen the movie, you know exactly what Palahniuk's all about), but many of them do. Brilliant ideas like “game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random, useless facts that are all we have left of our education” are present throughout this book.

I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to anyone, but I will say that there's something fundamentally appealing about it. I think Invisible Monsters manages to isolate something pure and significant about negative human emotion. You may hate this book, you may love it, or (like me) you may oscillate between the two, but there is no real middle ground here. This is a polarizing novel in every sense of the word, and I think there's definitely a place for that on my bookshelf. Maybe yours, too.

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03/30 marked as: read

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