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Misty Wilmot has had it. Once a promising young artist, she’s now stuck on an island ruined by tourism, drinking too much and working as a waitress in a hotel. Her husband, a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt, but that doesn’t stop his clients from threatening Misty with lawsuits over a series of vile messages they’ve found on the walls of houses he remodeled.

Suddenly, though, Misty finds her artistic talent returning as she begins a period of compulsive painting. Inspired but confused by this burst of creativity, she soon finds herself a pawn in a larger conspiracy that threatens to cost hundreds of lives. What unfolds is a dark, hilarious story from America’s most inventive nihilist, and Palahniuk’s most impressive work to date.

262 pages, Paperback

First published August 26, 2003

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About the author

Chuck Palahniuk

178 books127k followers
Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’s first New York Times bestseller. Chuck’s work has always been infused with personal experience, and his next novel, Lullaby, was no exception. Chuck credits writing Lullaby with helping him cope with the tragic death of his father. Diary and the non-fiction guide to Portland, Fugitives and Refugees, were released in 2003. While on the road in support of Diary, Chuck began reading a short story entitled 'Guts,' which would eventually become part of the novel Haunted.

In the years that followed, he continued to write, publishing the bestselling Rant, Snuff, Pygmy, Tell-All, a 'remix' of Invisible Monsters, Damned, and most recently, Doomed.

Chuck also enjoys giving back to his fans, and teaching the art of storytelling has been an important part of that. In 2004, Chuck began submitting essays to ChuckPalahniuk.net on the craft of writing. These were 'How To' pieces, straight out of Chuck's personal bag of tricks, based on the tenants of minimalism he learned from Tom Spanbauer. Every month, a “Homework Assignment” would accompany the lesson, so Workshop members could apply what they had learned. (all 36 of these essays can currently be found on The Cult's sister-site, LitReactor.com).

Then, in 2009, Chuck increased his involvement by committing to read and review a selection of fan-written stories each month. The best stories are currently set to be published in Burnt Tongues, a forthcoming anthology, with an introduction written by Chuck himself.

His next novel, Beautiful You, is due out in October 2014.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,706 reviews
Profile Image for Airiz.
248 reviews109 followers
June 9, 2011
Liking Chuck Palahniuk's books must be akin to a Fear Factor challenge for most readers. And sometimes I can't help but wonder, what if THAT is what exactly Palahniuk wants the readers to feel about his works? Feel challenged by it, dislike it, feel disgusted or insulted by it--all of these by hurling the naked truths of human nature to the face of people in the harshest possible way?

My first Palahniuk book is Choke, and I was sort of culture shocked when I read it--a multitude of f-bombs being dropped from heavenly heights, sexually explicit situations, bitter but truthful ruminations about life. Completely different from the books I've been reading--and that's saying something because I usually go for the "dark side" of literature. I thought Choke would already build my literary panoply when it comes to his works. But I was wrong--Diary might not lie on the opposite side of the spectrum when leveled with his other works, but it's a new account of insane despair that I'm not really used to.

Diary is a story about art,and, well, the crazy reality that most desperate people live. It also tackles a Marxist concept but viewed from a strangely twisted angle. It is written mostly in the second person point of view and in the format of a 'coma diary' written by the female protagonist, Misty Wilmot. There is no subtlety in Palahniuk's style of writing, and when what he writes stabs, it stabs straight to the heart and conscience. It gets under your skin most of the time.

I will not detail everything, but I just want to say that this is a satisfying read. The Palahniuk "flavor" is exotic and dark, and it's the sort of taste that most readers will only refer to as "poison". If only everyone reads closely, the antidote to the venom of reality that Palahniuk presents in this work is also present--right between the lines.
Profile Image for Sully (sully.reads).
367 reviews128 followers
August 12, 2013
“It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
Profile Image for Fabian.
940 reviews1,544 followers
December 8, 2020
A clunky "horror novel" with all the usual Palahniukisms we've come to love/expect. Isn't he just OBSESSED with factoids? Piecing these together, a patchwork of knowingness played out in a mostly insipid arena, it is a haunted house story told clumsily... by a Dude.

Yet, as sordid and repetitive, as shock-for-shock's sake and clumsy as it is, DIARY is actually pretty enticing, never dull. Funny how I read him in my mid 30s, knowing how unliterary it is, a beach book parading as a beginners manual for American "readers."
Profile Image for shana b.
3 reviews
March 26, 2009
no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

This book is ridiculous.
I've never found it exactly difficult to get through a Chuck Palahniuk book because he's one of the greatest, most complex writers I know of, but this book... it was such a drag. I prefferred babysitting over reading Diary.

I had to pull myself through it each and every day. I get anxious if I don't finish a book so I couldn't toss it aside. The only reason I completely forced myself through it in less than a month is because I was so excited to read another book I'd recieved in the mail.

I love Palahniuk's writing style, I won't lie. The repitition and the way he makes you feel like he's TALKING to you instead of telling a story... I don't know. I like it. but in Diary, his writing style couldn't make up for the fact that it was just boring?

I don't see how anyone could find this interesting and sometimes I worry that maybe I missed the moral/point of the story and i always want to reread it.. but I don't think I could bring myself to do it.
Profile Image for Jonathan Ashleigh.
Author 1 book118 followers
March 21, 2016
The way this narrative was a dairy while also describing a diary was an amazing idea. The setting and the characters were the right type of people in the right place but something about it all made it sort of gross to read. And that was probably the point and I probably missed that but I wish it was more of an actual diary. I started reading with that idea and am a huge fan of epistolary fiction. My favorite of which is The Sorrows of Young Mike.
Profile Image for Pietrino.
156 reviews203 followers
May 11, 2021
Alle elementari dopo i Pokémon davano sempre Hamtaro. Da buon maschietto che ripudiava i cartoni per le femmine (bleah che schifo le ragazze!) guardavo quel cartone con molto astio. La cosa che mi colpiva sempre era quella cacacazzi della protagonista che scriveva sempre un diario su quanto la sua giornata fosse stata fica. E il Pietrino che era ino veramente si chiedeva perché.

Flashforward a 20 anni dopo.

Diary è senza ombra di dubbio il libro piu’ sottovalutato di Palahniuk. E’ quello piu’ delicato, piu’ descrittivo, per quanto questi epiteti possano riferirsi ad un autore del genere. Il marito di Misty cerca di ammazzarsi chiudendosi in garage con l’auto ancora in moto. Finisce in coma e Misty deve mantenere la figlia e pagare col suo lavoro da cameriera le macchine che tengono in vita il marito in stato vegetativo.

Non sara’ il momento migliore per dirlo, ma forse prima di criticare la sanità italiana e’ il caso di pensarci due volte.

Il suo odio e la sua carriera da artista mancata le fanno iniziare a scrivere un diario, per quando il marito si risvegliera’ o per chi verra’ dopo di lei. Le parole anatomiche imparate all’accademia svelano col cinismo di una donna alcolizzata stufa della vita una terribile tradizione legata all’Isola natale del marito in cui vive e tira a campare. E quando la scopriremo sara’ troppo tardi. Sopratutto per lei.

Per chi non lo avesse ancora capito, queste recensioni che scrivo quando fuori è buio o mentre sono ancora in accappatoio perché ho avuto un flash in doccia, sono il mio diario. Se vi piacciono mi rendete felice, se vi scatenano la polemica, pure. Ma alla fin fine è per me che le scrivo.

Una volta ho rivisto un amico dopo molto tempo e mi ha detto che stava leggendo un libro da me recensito, e che la recensione gli piacque molto. Sono andato a rileggermela davanti a lui e sono finito per farmi una risata per una roba che avevo scritto e nemmeno ricordavo.

Grazie Ale, per le belle parole.

Penso sia a questo che servono i diari. Per fotografare delle diapositive della tua vita tramite delle lenti che chiamiamo emozioni. Che poi nemmeno ti rileggi se non per pura casualita’. E’ per questo che scrivo ste robe, o almeno credo.
Quanto alla tizia di Hamtaro che scriveva sempre la stessa pagina dopo la stessa giornata in ogni cazzo di episodio, non ho la piu’ pallida idea di quale fosse il punto.

Ma dopotutto, a quello che non capisci puoi dare qualsiasi significato.

Peace Off

PS: oggi faccio 29 anni, e mi sento già un boomer del cazzo.
Profile Image for F.
294 reviews251 followers
March 26, 2017
Very slow to begin with.
A little confusing at times but the end was great.
Profile Image for Imogen.
Author 6 books1,225 followers
June 28, 2010
Hey, goodreads. Remember how seriously I used to take you? I would tell you every time I finished a book, and then I would tell you about the book. I guess I haven't been doing that as much lately. Kind of like how Chuck Palahniuk has been phoning it in for three books now, huh?

Because look, this was the last one of his books I hadn't read. Now I have read all of them. And Chuck? The only reason I didn't give this one five stars is because it wasn't Rant, which I have built up in my head to be your grand achievement, or whatever the French word is. But Diary was great! Remember when your writing used to be transgressive not because of vibrator jokes, but because of the grim tone and the overwhelming, almost-but-not-quite cartoonishness of the immorality of all the characters? This was fun! You did interesting things with the plot- I don't even want to say what because it would give it away! The fact that you think girls are icky was expressed interestingly, instead of boringly! The metaphysical stuff was fun, the repeated staccato phrases didn't get overwhelming or boring, and there were homos.

Thumbs up, Chuck.

So here's what I think: Snuff, Pygmy and Tell-All are Chuck's humor trilogy. Y'know how he likes to write in trilogies? Diary is part of the horror trilogy with Haunted and... something else, I forget what. Well, Chuck, your humor trilogy has failed. Please write a second horror trilogy! Or keep doing sci-fi, like Rant! Because when you are on your are on. Finishing this one is kinda bittersweet.
Profile Image for Shimelle.
9 reviews12 followers
July 23, 2007
This was my first selection to our book group -- and it definitely shook things up a bit.

I love Palahniuk, and this is actually my favourite of his. Fight Club comes second, so if you hate Fight Club, I can't think you'll like this. The style is still there -- short, choppy ideas repeated until you wonder why, a vocabulary that makes you double take from time to time. One of our book groupies actually read it with a dictionary to hand because she wanted to know what every word meant. Which, given my love of dictionaries, I think is pretty cool in its own little way.

What I really love about this one, to set it apart from the others, is the amazing construction of the female narrator (something I wasn't sure he could do...but he certainly can) and the art slant to everything. It's a different perspective than the out-to-get-the-corporate-world of Fight Club or the out-to-get-the-truth-out of Survivor. It's more insular and introspective (well, as a diary should be) and the value of the written word and the work of art are important here...not so much the world.

Don't read it if you'll be phased by the profanity or any of quite a few twisted images, but if you're willing to let it go as not-part-of-your-reality, it will definitely give you something to think about. I actually find it empowering, but there's no way I could explain that in less than about six lifetimes.
Profile Image for ☆LaurA☆.
187 reviews55 followers
January 22, 2023
Per la cronaca, il tempo oggi ha nuvole di stordimento, acquazzoni di incredulità

Arrivata a questo punto posso dire che amo schifosamente questo scrittore...
Ancora sono stordita, incredula, sbigottita, nauseata e boh...ho un gran mal di testa!

«Tu bevi perché vorresti esprimere te stessa e hai paura».

Chuck è davvero un fottuto genio nello scrivere, le sue micro frasi disseminate per i capitoli sono la cosa che più amo!
Ti fanno raggiungere un livello di ossessione, ansia e confusione che rispecchiano a pieno lo stato mentale e d'animo di Misty Marie.

"Secondo Platone, noi viviamo incatenati dentro una caverna buia. Essendo incatenati, di questa caverna possiamo vedere soltanto la parete di fondo. Soltanto le ombre che vi si muovono. Potrebbero essere le ombre di qualcosa che si muove fuori dalla caverna. Potrebbero essere le ombre di altri individui incatenati accanto a noi.
Forse l'unica cosa che ciascuno di noi vede è la sua stessa ombra.
La tua testa è la caverna, e i tuoi occhi ne sono l'ingresso. Che vivi dentro la tua testa, e vedi soltanto ciò che vuoi vedere. Che non fai altro che guardare ombre, inventandoti un significato tutto tuo"

Sono davvero stordita...ho letto le ultime 100 pagine tutte di filato....non lo so cosa sto scrivendo, ma leggete qualcosa di Palahniuk, lo dico per voi!!!!

Ora torno ad un paio di drink. Un paio di aspirine. E via da capo.
Profile Image for Ajeje Brazov.
681 reviews
August 4, 2022
Partiamo col dire che questo libro non è solo un libro o almeno non è un libro qualunque, e tu mi dirai: "Che cazzo vuol dire qualunque?". Ebbene qualunque nel senso che questo libro si crea nello stesso momento in cui tu lo stai iniziando. Magari lo potrai buttare dalla finestra dopo le prime quattro frasi, maledicendo il giorno in cui un fulmine ti ha colpito, proprio quando stavi passando davanti ad una libreria e via il libro illuminato era proprio questo. Oppure, ad ogni frase, dirai: "Ma che cazzo sto leggendo?" con gli occhi di chi ha visto chissà cosa e non immagina nemmeno perchè. Altrimenti potresti fare come me o te o chissà chi altro essere umano, con in mano questo libretto incazzato con la società contemporanea fatta di tanti stereotipi, immersa nella melma del quotidiano preordinato ed anche dal vuoto cosmico dell'edulcorazione di ogni ca.. (opss sto esagerando!), dicevo di ogni attimo della nostra esistenza su questo benedetto pianeta...
Un paio di drink. Un paio di aspirine. E via da capo.
Ah mi son fermato a metà, non ho finito nemmeno la frase, ma dovevo fare una pausa. Dicevo: ...con in mano questo libretto inizio a capire di avere in mano qualcosa di fenomenale, non so, sono solo sensazioni, sono solamente all'inizio, alla prime battute, prime battute che mi ricordano subito l'inizio del film "Traispotting", sapete quando il protagonista corre per le vie della città, col narratore che spara a destra ed a manca una sequela di frasi inacidite verso la società del consumo, con in sottofondo Iggy Pop che blatera la sua "Lust for life"...
Un paio di drink. Un paio di aspirine. E via da capo.
Così Chuck continua ad intessere la sua storia ed intanto questa (la storia) inizia sempre più ad attorcigliarsi attorno a me, mi avvolge in un abbraccio via via più vorticoso. No so com'è, perchè non ci sono mai stato su una nave durante la burrasca, ma mi sento proprio così, le caratterizzazioni dei protagonisti iniziano a fondersi col mio subconscio, scusate, so che pare una cazzata, una frase così tanto per fare effetto, ma le sensazioni si fanno inquietanti e vertiginosamente tangibili, la scrittura di Chuck qui si fa mia, tanto che non riesco a distogliere la mente dalle pagine....
Un paio di drink. Un paio di aspirine. E via da capo.
Arrivo al finale col fiatone ed anche leggermente spossato, sarà anche per il caldo tremendo di quest'estate infinita e da record, ecco altra frase ad effetto mmhhhh. Comunque sia il finale mi lascia di stucco, Chuck sei tornato, era tanto che non ti leggevo e le ultime volte era stato un incontro alquanto deludente, ma...
Un paio di drink. Un paio di aspirine. E via da capo.
Secondo Platone, noi viviamo incatenati dentro una caverna buia. Essendo incatenati, di questa caverna possiamo vedere soltanto la parete di fondo. Soltanto le ombre che si muovono. Potrebbero essere le ombre di qualcosa che si muove fuori dalla caverna. Potrebbero essere le ombre di altri individui incatenate accanto a noi.
Forse l'unica cosa che ciascuno di noi vede è la sua stessa ombra.
Carl Jung lo definiva il gioco delle ombre. Diceva che noi non vediamo mai gli altri. Vediamo solo quegli aspetti di noi stessi che si riflettono su di loro. Ombre. Proiezioni. Le nostre associazioni.
Profile Image for AmberBug com*.
462 reviews106 followers
September 8, 2015
My absolute favorite Chuck book so far. It spoke to me bring an artist wit the theme of artists suffering. Original storyline as usual, he does not disappoint... but rather brings it... fully (more so then any other book he has written, in my opinion).

Suffering = living. Suffering = true feeling. Suffering = emotions. Emotions = Open mind. Open mind = creativity. Creativity = Artistic excellence. (Or something along those lines).

This book made me realize why (as an artist) I go through dry spells of creativity and original thoughts/expressions. Sometimes I feel like things just click and sometimes I feel like I can't produce anything worth sharing (all the bullshit). It's absolutely true that when you are suffering... you think more, you brood more, you long for things to work out. BUT while things AREN'T working out... your mind is working in overtime. When things are going well in life, it's easy to go day to day, thinking about life and the deeper meaning of things less. When things aren't going well... you tend to open your mind a little, to try and figure out why... all those serious and depressing life questions come to the surface and those thoughts are what creates meaningful art. Any art with value has extreme emotions and deeper meanings to it... things that can't be reached unless you try real hard (which works better when your mind is open to the suffering). Think about it... at what time in your life do you ask yourself the deep questions regarding your life? Usually once something goes wrong. When things are going good, why think about things which could depress you? We all know that the meaning of life, in the overall scheme of things, is depressing as hell... and usually isn't brooded upon until we are in situations which put us there in the first place.

Okay, so overall... one of my favorite book and HIGHLY recommended to anyone who has a creative bone in their body. It will help you recognize creativity, where it stems from and the sad reality behind anything created with any value. Depressing book... yes. But it is Chuck and should be expected. By far my favorite Chuck Palahniuk book yet. (Even though I know Haunted was his baby and has been the book he has been wanting to write throughout his entire career... I still believe this is his best).
Profile Image for Allison.
617 reviews56 followers
January 6, 2009
Like all of Palahniuk’s other work, Diary is vivid, disturbing, grotesque, and a bit supernatural. If his descriptions don’t leave you feeling at least somewhat squeamish, then you must have no imagination whatsoever. He is like a painter who makes the simplest object look hideously grotesque, who can look at a common scene and envision it in the twisted way only a serial killer might. Only, the serial killers in his novels don’t kill for pleasure; they kill for reasons much more creative than that.

Palahniuk is nothing if not creative. Diary is written as a diary from the point of view of the protagonist, Misty, in the fashion of a long letter written to her comatose husband Peter. However, because she is writing to him directly, she refers to “you,” who also happens to be the reader, creating a number of identity overlaps. Moreover, the narrative habit of referring to oneself as “you” when writing in a diary comes up a number of times, because it would be equally applicable as referring to Peter or the reader as “you.” And none of this even begins to brush the surface of the story, which involves Misty’s allegedly supernatural artistic abilities, her inexplicable attraction to Peter’s shiny junk jewelry (which he pinned through his own scabby skin), and the creepy warnings she finds inside sealed-off rooms of buildings Peter remodeled before he tried to kill himself.

Invisible Monsters will always be my favorite Palahniuk novel, and Fight Club will always be the most famous. Haunted might very well be the most disturbing. But Diary pays homage to what Palahniuk does best: turn a common story and a common story form into a extraordinary and very unsettling tale.

Profile Image for Carmela.
53 reviews18 followers
December 23, 2012
Some strange shit. Always the strange shit, Chuck.

This novel tackled art in a very weird way. How it was used to save a cheesy named Island. How an artist was brought to a master plan by a strange group of Island people, to do her art, convince her to do her art and fulfill the prophecy of saving the Island. Enriching it. Nurturing it.

Though some parts of the book were tough for me to handle, I consider this an easy read. Especially towards the ending. It felt like it was shortened and brought to a conclusion immediately just so Chuck could end it. Terms were easier to understand then. I've read his recent book, Damned, and in that, Chuck still had his 'repetitive use' of phrases and words.. Making it look like some hidden clues for deciphering something that might come in handy when Chuck leaves the world, make a name of his own, as the author with readers disgusted by his works.. I don't know.

Maybe he really wanted to have this effect on people. He writes like this to manipulate, and confuse. And he's better this way, really.

I like the book. I really like it. Misty spoke to me in some unexplainable ways to awaken my own 'personal coma'. I really liked the idea of some form of a cult, a pagan god, witchcraft, tradition and the thrill I feel especially towards the ending. Though I never knew what her mural looked like, I'd say it was perfect that people were burned to death.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,094 reviews1,497 followers
July 30, 2012
A brilliant parable of how life and expectations of one's family and culture can trap you. The tale is of an art student of poor background who gave up her ambitions for the American Dream of marrying a wealthy island resident of the Northeast with a grand old house. The pressures on her to fulfill everyone's expectations to become a great artist soon moves into bizarre territory after her husband's apparent suicide attempt. Much of the story emanates in an omnmiscient second person account of events from his coma state, somewhat resembling that of the murdered girl in the Lovely Bones. Although it is often hard to keep disbelief in suspension, the twisted humor and growing paranoia keeps you going, as was true for Palahnuk's "Fight Club" (which I may pursue for reading as I only saw the movie). I do like over-the-top writers who can take you for a wild ride of the imagination.
Profile Image for Rahele.
27 reviews3 followers
June 30, 2022
خیلی وقت بود که می‌خواستم کتاب های پالانیک رو شروع کنم و قرار نبود "دفترچه خاطرات"اولین کتاب برای این شروع باشه..
از اونجایی که این کتاب هدیه بود،تصمیم گرفتم با همین کتاب شروع کنم:)
باید اعتراف کنم اول کتاب حس خوبی نسبت به داستان نداشتم اما حدودا از صفحه ۱۰۰ به بعد همه چیز برام تغییر کرد..
چیزی که واقعا احساسش کردم این بود که چاک پالانیک بدون شک نویسنده خوبیه اما با این داستان نمی‌تونه به طور آزادانه و واضح این موضوع رو نشون بده!و خب اینم برمی‌گرده به همون سپردن کتاب به شخصیت اصلی داستان.
به‌طوری پیش میره که بعضی وقتا نمی‌دونین میستی داره باهاتون حرف می‌زنه یا خود نویسنده..

داستان کتاب هم با نوشتن خاطرات زنی به اسم"میستی"شروع میشه که شوهرش بعد از اقدام به خودکشی به کما میره.میستی با نوشتن خاطرات روزانه‌ش برای همسرش"پیتر"راز هایی رو از زندگی شوهرش و خانواده‌ی چندین ساله‌ی اون،بر ملا می‌کنه.واقعیتی عجیب که سرنوشت میستی به اون گره خورده.

یکی از دلایل حس خوبم نسبت به این کتاب،داشتن علاقه و تجربه توی نقاشی کردن بود.
هنرمند و رنجی که همیشه همراه اون باقی می‌مونه.
چیزی که هر نقاش و خالق اثری حسش کرده و گاهی با اون زندگی کرده..
به‌نظرم برای کسایی که به هنر یا زندگی هنرمندها علاقه دارن،کتاب خوبی میتونه باشه🤝

و با اختلاف، یکی از کتاب های خوبی بود که این چند روز خوندم!میتونم بارها طی عمری که می‌گذرونم بخونمش و هر بار ازش لذت ببرم..
پیشنهادش میکنم❤
Profile Image for Amanda.
544 reviews34 followers
October 4, 2007
I'm always struck by just how weird Palahniuk's novels are. In the case of this one, I really thought I had it figured out. Turns out, I didn't. I should probably just give up trying and enjoy the story. Which I usually do.

Misty lives on Waytansea Island with a husband in a coma and a mother in law who seems bent on pushing her to be the famous artist everyone seems to think she is. While Misty went to school for art, she takes it as an insult that everyone thinks she, a poor white trash girl, should be producing great works of art.

After her husband fails an attempt at suicide, she begins a diary that she writes to him in his vegatative state. As she chronicles her everyday life, she tells of meeting Angel, a man who seems to appreciate her work too much. She tells of people that her husband did work for calling and threatening to sue for disappearing rooms and strange writing underneath the dry wall and wallpaper work. Misty's story gets stranger as her mother in law and those around her all seem to be conspiring and pushing for the art they "know" she can produce.

Through most of this book, I was trying to see if I could figure out the "secret." I never did. Parts of it dragged, and parts of it had to be re-read just because his style of writing isn't always standard. But by the end, I was completely into the story and, like always, completely surprised.

Definitely a good read for Palahniuk fans or anyone who likes novels that don't follow anything relatively normal.
Profile Image for Eddie Generous.
636 reviews74 followers
December 30, 2019
Far and away my favorite Palahniuk. Like Rosemary's Baby meets Harvest Home, but snarky and funny. Suspenseful, wild, engrossing. Totally fucking fantastic.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews658 followers
May 19, 2014
I enjoyed this book quite a bit more than I did Choke, the only other Palahniuk book I've read. With strong echos of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," this is a creepy tale of intrigue and intergenerational mayhem on a small island off the coast of the United States.

What lengths will the islanders go to to keep rich mainlanders off their island? And what does Misty Kleinman's artistic talent have to do with it?

The story uncoils slowly, but with a growing sense of menace that made me truly uneasy. As with many of the best ghost/supernatural stories, the initial events are all plausible, if offputting, and as the story continues, it becomes more ambiguous, and finally, truly horrifying.

From what I've seen, Palahniuk always seems to push the limits of his reader's stomachs, and this is not an exception - but it seemed (to me, anyway), to have a point this time, rather than just equating outrageousness with cool, hip, edginess. Diary uses the same kind of skin-crawling detail to a specific end, and it's integral to creating the strange world he does.

I don't normally read books like this, but I'm glad I did this one.
Profile Image for Monique.
192 reviews24 followers
October 19, 2020
I finished this book yesterday but sat with it for a spell to consider my opinion. I gave it four stars because it was a compelling read and it was a unique narrative with a writing style that I very much enjoyed. I also appreciated the fact that I haven't read anything like it before.
The opening chapter was awesome - an intriguing narrative hook and the use of second person had me by the scruff. The final line of the opening chapter left no argument, I was turning the page.
As the book progressed, the story switched between past and present in a way that drip-fed the context, but also took the foot off the pedal momentarily. But the story sashayed in a weird, compulsive and gripping way for me. This was my first Palahniuk book, discovered through the GR community. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another by him to freshen my palate.
Profile Image for Booklover Butterfly.
149 reviews45 followers
September 28, 2010
Misty Wilmot was a promising young artist back in her youth. She met Peter in art school, married him, had his daughter, and somewhere along the line her talent seemed to dry up. Her husband’s unsuccessful suicide attempt has left him in a coma, and Misty is turning to alcohol to get her through the days. Peter was a contractor, and now his former clients are threatening lawsuits at Misty because rooms in their houses have disappeared and there are disturbing messages on the walls. Amidst all of this stress and turmoil, Misty’s artistic talent comes roaring back. Soon Misty finds herself in the middle of a dangerous plot that could endanger many lives.

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk is a suspenseful, darkly twisted read. I’ve come to expect a certain level of disturbing and shocking content in a Chuck Palahniuk novel, enough to make me cringe but at the same time make it so I can’t look away. Diary definitely didn’t let me down on that front! Palahniuk paints a vivid picture of his characters and the setting, but he often chooses to describe these things based on their flaws and ugliness. I thought this was a very interesting and truly Palahniuk approach to thing. One of the things I love most about Chuck Palahniuk books is that he always includes really random and fascinating bits of information in his novels. Due to the art theme woven into the plot of Diary, the tidbits of information are all revolving around art, artists, and my personal favorite, the different ingredients in different shades of paint. You’d be really surprised what’s in some of it.

The plot of Diary felt different from the other Palahniuk novels I’ve read. It had a suspenseful, almost mystery novel feel to it, but done in a unique way that is true to the author’s nihilistic, unsettling style. While I did predict some of the aspects of the plot, I was still surprised by the majority of events taking place. Things weave together at the end in a much more complex, solid fashion than I would have expected. I was truly creeped out by the events taking place, probably because even though it’s unrealistic to think that people would actually stoop to the level of the characters in this novel, I could sort of see a bunch of greedy, disturbed people pulling something this horrifying. Even though Palahniuk’s novels are bizarre and hard to believe at times, they aren’t completely out of the realm of possibility.

For readers looking to step outside their comfort zone and try something new, I highly recommend Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. It was a fantastic read!
Profile Image for Guillermo Jiménez.
456 reviews275 followers
November 28, 2022
La novela funciona. Tiene congruencia, un poco de pretensión aderezado con una historia macabra: un bebé de Rosemary del arte. El complot de una sociedad en virtud del continuum cíclico de un modus viviendi que nada tiene de romántico ni de sensible.

Misty es un engendro creado por un grupo de lunáticos que pretenden sobrevivir con su estilo de vida anquilosado por años, sangrando al arte: la pintura y lo que mucho, poco o nada pueda decir al mundo.

De acuerdo, Palahniuk tiene buenas ideas. Un tanto torcidas aquí y allá, fundamentadas con lecturas sobre anatomía, psicología jungiana y corrientes filosóficas jansenistas o ve tu a saber qué, las tiras cómicas del diaro dominical o el prime time de la televisión.

¿Tiene talento? Quizás. Al menos en esta obra permean estructuras ordenadas y una trama que desenvuelve su tensión dosificándola, esparciendo poco a poco el qué va a contarnos. Capítulo a capítulo, es decir, día a día en la entrada de este «diario» se nos relata en primera persona la vida de Misty, aspirante de pintora, de artista, venida a menos, venida a casi nada.

Sin embargo, en las últimas páginas ya estás cansado. Te comienza a desinteresar el destino fatal de esos personajes desquiciados y perversos, de sus ínfulas de abolengo y aristocracia extinta.

Insisto, el libro funciona, y no me extraña por qué es tan rimbombante y efectista el nombre del autor, a quien muchos conocimos a través de la otrora artificiosa película (basada en otra novela de él) The Fight Club.

Lectura fácil, en cuanto que cualquier persona con dos dedos de frente puede entender casi de cabo a rabo. Me deja un sabor final de fuego artificial, de lucecitas de colores en el árbol de navidad, lucecitas con forma de calaveras o pentagramas, intenta asustar, pero, la verdad, no lo logra, es una farsa, una telenovela.

Tengo otro de él que me interesa por la temática, Choke. Sin embargo, tendré que quitarme ese regusto salobre que me quedó después de apurar las últimas 20 o 30 o 100 páginas de esta. No, no lo disfrute y hasta pensé en lanzarlo por la ventana.
Profile Image for MJ Nicholls.
2,008 reviews4,007 followers
October 7, 2012
The Correspondents #4

Dear MJ,

Received your letter via Patrick. There are several things a man can do to attract a woman. I present a series of options for perusal in the following numerically partitioned sentences. 1) Kidnap. All you need for this is a car and a popular secluded late-night environs. Prowl lanes and nooks for bait. Once you have kidnapped your selected woman she will hate and fear you: the best qualities for a woman to have in any relationship. 2) Wear Down. Works best with friends. Wear a female friend down over a series of years by constantly telling them you like them and they won’t find anyone as devoted to them as you, and eventually they will ditch the dream of a proper man and take up with you out of desperation. 3) Subliminal Self-Advertising. Stalk your prey, and on their daily route, flash brief adverts of your brilliance at opportune moments. Signs saying MJ IS GREAT! YOU SHOULD MARRY MJ! every few yards. After a month or so she will fall into your arms. You can resuscitate her herbally. I hope these tips have been helpful. Good luck with the being you thing.



Profile Image for Lili.
482 reviews
June 11, 2011
I last read this book some time between November 2005 and March 2006, but the audio recording was excellent. I thought knowing the plot - especially the conclusion - would diminish some of its power, but I was very happily surprised that it was even better than I remember. I had forgotten just how many details about art, physiology and other esoteric intelligent topics were woven into the tale, as well as how rhythmic it is in the telling. Still my second favorite of Palahniuk's writing (behind Lullaby), but might figure higher on Katia's list for the art details, and Cooper's list for the sheer absurdity and novelty of it.

PS. The publisher's blurb does not do this book justice AT ALL. Do not use that to gauge whether you want to read this book.

PPS. Martha Plimpton is the ideal narrator. I keep remembering her as the cousin whose throwing a party in "200 Cigarettes" and keeps complaining that she has no friends because no one has show up yet.

PPPS. I might just listen to this one again before returning it to the library.
Profile Image for Caroline Johnson.
124 reviews734 followers
February 24, 2022
my least favorite from chuck so far, but he nailed that contrasting hyper-real/delirium combo again w/ Diary
Profile Image for Heather.
186 reviews5 followers
December 6, 2007
there was very little i enjoyed about this book. palahniuk has a flair for quirky juxtaposition in his imagery, something i appreciate -- and probably the only thing i really appreciated in diary.

just for the record, the 'just for the record' repeating business was super annoying. i don't mind an occasional repeat - the cadence can be quite charming at times. but repetition of this and other phrases, plus the penchant for describing people's musculature in action, it all felt pretentious instead of charming, or amusing. definitely served as a writerly warning to me.

the core idea for the story itself - the origins of which i am a little confused about (enclosed letter from a fan, claiming at least partial authorship?) - it's an interesting one, and in its sleepy, disjointed little way, was entertaining, but just barely. i put this book down for over a month, and it's the first time i haven't read a book straight through. still, i can tell palahniuk is a good writer (or at least has the potential to be), and will likely check out more of his work...someday.
Profile Image for Missy (myweereads).
461 reviews21 followers
August 14, 2020
“Just for the record, the weather today is calm and sunny, but the air is full of bullshit.”

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk is written in the form of a diary kept by Misty Wilmot as her husband lies in a coma from an attempted suicide. She was an aspiring artist once who is brought to an Island by Peter who she marries. She soon finds out that her husband had been hiding messages in rooms he had been refurbishing. She finds herself frantically looking for them to figure out why she was brought to Waytansea Island. Miraculously her ability to paint comes back to her and she produces some of her best work which is taken away from her by her in laws who have a plan for Misty.

I liked the format this novel was written in. Being a diary meant access to Misty’s real thoughts was there from the beginning. She unveils some hard truths on her goals, her family, her husband and the predicament she has lived with for so long. When things appear to be off she questions her own sanity, that’s when the bizarre is kicked up to a whole new level.

The surprises hit you at every turn in this book, I did not expect there to be so many. By the time I reached the end I was like “wow” that was a trip. I liked the psychological horror aspect of the story and the thrilling moments which kept me wanting more.

This is definitely just the beginning of what will become a Chuck Palahniuk binge.
Profile Image for Jocelyn.
229 reviews
January 16, 2013
I met a guy in a coffee shop while reading this.
Guy: Is this your first time reading this?
Me: First? Why, have you read it more than once?
Guy: Nah, once was enough.

What he should have said was NOT AT ALL was enough.

The back had a review comparing Palahniuk to Vonnegut. No. No, no, no. If anything, Palahniuk is a slightly sour rip off of Pynchon's Lot 49.

A lot of the book seemed unnecessary to the story, which is why I was able to finish it so quickly. Skimming, skimming, skimming. The story is told from an interesting perspective (diary written to unconscious husband of manipulated/used wife who ends up being heroine), but it just doesn't hit a voice or tone that is an interesting as the perspective.
Misty Marie (artist) is a loser with a brain dead husband, a controlling mother in-law and a daughter who is on the mother in-law's side, I guess? It's all about finding out why Misty is on the island, why people are wanting her to paint, why her husband wrote all over people's walls, why he married her in the first place, why why why and the answer is supposed to be an M. Night Shamylan whatever gasp, but it was more a
"thank god this book is over"
sigh of relief
30 reviews2 followers
January 8, 2009
I have read over 8 books by this author and the only reason i gave him two stars was because i love fight club so much. honestly, i thought the movie was better than the book, but ill give it to him anyway. in an effort to be edgy and controversial, chuck loses sight of important literary necessities like continuity, concept, intelligence, character development, and so on. his books sometimes feel like i'm in someone else's bad acid trip. but of course, this is all probably intentional because he would rather be a cult icon than a pulitzer prize winner. right there with you chuck. dont get me wrong, he most certainly has his moments of genius, but they are few and far between.
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