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Damned #1


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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."

256 pages, Hardcover

First published October 18, 2011

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About the author

Chuck Palahniuk

250 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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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,178 reviews
Profile Image for Baba.
3,559 reviews852 followers
January 27, 2022
This fantasy horror (or maybe horror fantasy?), is a Palahniuk masterclass. Thirteen year old Madison, daughter of mega celebrity parents finds herself dead and consigned to Hell! Wow now that an interesting kick-off point; that notwithstanding, Madison goes on a journey, to, dare I say it, find herself; but you have to bear in mind she's looking to 'find herself' in the customary cluster-fuck method that can only be called in a Chuck Palahnuik style!

The first half of this book focuses more on the hellacious reality of Hell, and Madison's past life is way out there, like nothing I've read before - literally Judy Blume meets Breakfast Club meets Dante's Inferno, I kid you not! There are triggers all over the place, so not one for those of you not thick skinned. The second half couldn't live up to the first half as it moved more into Madison's story in Hell. Still a nice and cosy 8 out of 12.

2019 read
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,813 followers
January 29, 2012
If a thirteen year old dead girl in Hell stops a rampaging Godzilla-sized demon by sexually pleasuring it, would you consider that necrophilia, bestiality or kiddie porn?

I’m not sure either, but these are the kind of questions that can come up when you read a Chuck Palahniuk novel.

Madison is the very smart but overweight daughter of a rich and famous Hollywood power couple that finds herself dead and in Hell after experimenting with marijuana. Turns out that all the whacko Christian fundamentalists were right after all, and it’s very easy to wind up downstairs after you kick the bucket. (Apparently we should all lay off our car horns and using the F-word in conversation.)

While Hell is very dirty and pretty gross, Madison finds herself some friends that form a Breakfast Club-type group, and she uses her Hell-job as a telemarketer to spread the word that being dead isn’t all that bad.

This one follows the standard Palahniuk set-up. We’ve got a main character who finds themselves in bizarre circumstances telling us a story that eventually explains how they ended up there. Along the way, he takes his usual shots at materialism and celebrity culture while throwing in some tremendously gross and shocking tidbits. There’s some of his usual twisted humor and clever observations about the hypocrisy of people in general as well as the ways we try to deny that we’re all eventually going to be taking a dirt nap.

Damned seems wildly unfocused though. A lot of time is spent on the Breakfast Club set-up and then it’s almost immediately dropped. Also, this Hell seems kind of weak. Sure people get eaten by demons and have jobs as telemarketers and providing content for web porn, but I was expecting Palahniuk to really deliver on the whole eternal torment thing. Meh. Even his attempts at the gross out like hills of discarded fingernail clippings or a sea of sperm seem kind of listless and half-hearted.

It also felt like Palahniuk couldn’t really decide on an ending and in the last quarter of the book, Madison cycles through several personas and shifting attitudes about her life and death. There’s a couple of revelations late in the game that just confuse everything even more.

The book ends on a To Be Continued note. I’m not sure whether Palahniuk was being serious about that or not, but I don’t have a urge to read any more of this story if he does carry on with it.
Profile Image for Megs ♥.
160 reviews1,285 followers
February 17, 2012

Damned is another book I loved from Chuck Palahniuk. Each chapter starts: “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” by a girl so emotionally needy she craves attention from the devil himself.

Madison is thirteen, and very smart. She's the daughter of a narcissistic actress, and a billionaire father. They adopt orphans to look good to the public, and ship Madison to her Swiss boarding school during the holidays to do other things. Madison dies, and is sent to Hell. She thinks the reason for landing in Hell, is because she smoked marijuana, but throughout the story she learns more and more about the night she died. Madison is unlike any other Chuck P. character, and I thought he did an okay job writing the perspective of a teenage girl without sounding much like a creepy 40+ year old dude.

Madison shares her cell with a group of young sinners that is almost too good to be true: a cheerleader, jock, nerd, and a punk rocker, united by fate to form the six-feet-under version of everyone’s favorite detention movie! The book has shocks coming at you from every direction, and there are even some twists to keep the story interesting.

The parts I liked the most in this book revolve around Maddy's job in hell. She's like a telemarketer, but what she's selling is hell. She spends hours trying to convince terminally ill people to come to hell. Chuck also spends a fair amount of time throwing in all of the ways you can land in Hell in this story. Turns out that even simple things such as honking your car horn too many times in a lifetime can land you in Hell.

This is the afterlife as only Chuck P. could imagine it: The English Patient is playing on endless repeat, and roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb. Palahniuk's Hell is made up of dirty cages, dandruff and toenail clippings. [ew]

This was definitely not my favorite book by Chuck P., but I still enjoyed it. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to kind of "try out" Chuck's writing style. Although it seems a lot of his fans don't like this book, because they think it's not up to par with his older books I think this is a perfect book for a potential fan to try.

Loaded with Chuck's usual dark humor and satire I think this book was definitely worth reading. I am giving this book 4/5 stars, because I simply thought that Chuck's vision of hell would have been a little more insane. His world building was lacking a bit in my opinion, but the story was able to hold my attention the whole way through.

This books ends with "to be continued...", and people are speculating if this story really will be continued or if that was a joke. I probably would read another book if he writes it, but the story had a good enough ending I think.
Profile Image for David.
Author 18 books337 followers
December 28, 2015
Palahniuk shows more sympathy for the Devil than for liberals in this book. Which is not to say that this reads like an axe-grinding conservative polemic (I have no idea what Palahniuk's politics are), but the targets of his satire in Damned are Hell and Hollywood, and he makes Hell seem like the less awful place.

A word to all the Goodreads reviewers who classified this book as "Young Adult" -- are you nuts? Did you actually read this book? Or do you just assume that any book with a teenage protagonist must be YA?

(Yup - I just checked and apparently 30 people think Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a children's book because the main character is a nine-year-old. Context, people!)

The protagonist of Damned is Madison, the 13-year-old daughter of two super-rich ultra-liberals, a billionaire and a movie star. Palahniuk is pitch-perfect if vicious in his skewering of poor, fat Madison's vaguely-loving but utterly narcissistic parents, right down to that perfect Hollywood brat name, "Madison." Initially I thought they were all just going to be caricatures, but while Palahniuk does throw every cruel, satirical stereotype there is at Madison and her parents, from their brood of fashionable adopted foreign babies to their much-abused Somalian maids to their brainless orthodox leftism, Madison, at least, develops into a real person. She is pretty much the sort of person you'd expect a girl who might have been fundamentally decent but raised in an over-privileged moral vacuum to be: she's a horrible, annoying brat with occasional flashes of humanity.

Madison's parents leave her alone in a hotel room with one of her many adopted siblings, whom they collect like Paris Hilton collects purse dogs, and she winds up dead. How exactly this happened is one of the twists which I won't spoil, but most of the book takes place in Hell, which Madison entertainingly guides the reader through accompanied by several other vapid, damned teenagers.

I have yet to understand what makes Chuck Palahniuk such a cult favorite. From what I can see, his books have a certain cleverness to them, usually cleverness piled atop cleverness, but it's a clever that substitutes for any depth or lasting impact, and sometimes he takes shortcuts on the way to clever, which is where you get drink-spraying images like a prepubescent girl masturbating a giant demoness with the severed (but still living) head of one of her fellow damned souls. I mean, really, Chuck? What was the point of that scene other than to prove that you could write it?

But I am being a little unfair here. There was a point, which is that Damned is a riff on Inferno. And The Breakfast Club. And Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. And also Gulliver's Travels and probably half a dozen other literary influences besides the ones I spotted. Palahniuk is clever and well-read. And I enjoyed Damned. Parts of it really are pretty damned funny. It's not a work of genius, but Palahniuk's version of Hell, where The English Patient plays in an endless loop, people get damned for breaking any one of hundreds of arbitrary rules (like peeing in a swimming pool more than twice in your life, so as Madison says, most people are already damned to Hell by age five), and damned souls make up the majority of telemarketers who call you during dinner (you knew this, didn't you?), has the sort of bizarre, macabre, and uneasily funny tone of a genuine satire.

Madison's story is one of eventually coming to terms with the fact that she is, well, damned. In the process she practically takes over Hell and also turns out to be really good at telemarketing.

This book is a little bent, like the author, but if the sense of humor I describe does not put you off, you will probably enjoy it.
Profile Image for F.
294 reviews251 followers
July 3, 2018
Loved this book.

The breakfast club but set in Hell. And with the English Patient playing over and over (which i have seen and don't wish that upon anyone)

The first half was amazing, the last half dragged a bit for me but I still loved it.

Sick & twisted.
Unique Characters.
Short Chapters.
Unusual storyline.
Profile Image for Jeannette.
662 reviews138 followers
July 8, 2016
Read on the WondrousBooks blog.

Are you there, Chuck? It's me, Jeannette. I honestly used to like your books once. Invisible Monsters was a revelation - if I ever grow the balls to become a director, that would be the movie that I'd do. If you have become addicted to heroin, find some help, I believe there is still something you can offer to the world. But your books have started to suck. I'm sorry, Chuck. I really don't want to hurt your feelings, I think you are a rock star in contemporary literature. If anything, you've always been able to put me into a humorous shock. But I'm turning into a non-believer. Forgive me, Chuck. No pressure, but pick your game up a bit.

Disastrous. I know the word disastrous, even though I'm a foreigner and English is not my first language.

Give me a spark of life. Give me something. Give me a good Chuck.

Because right now I'm Jack's utter disappointment.

Hydrogen. Helium. Lithium. Beryllium. Boron.

There was once a girl called Molly. Molly went into the forest. She met Mike. Mike was a junkie. Molly jerked him off. She prayed and screamed "YE, GODS!" and the gods of old gave her a revelation. Molly ran to the nearest town and had a sex changing operation. Then she went home and killed her family because they were boring. With her dying breath her mother told her that she is actually her father. Molly realized that she is going to hell for picking flowers in the forest. She blew her own brain to pieces.

SEE, CHUCK? If I can do it, so can you. And a thousand times better at that.

I've long since accepted that Chuck Palahniuk is a genius. No matter what anyone tells me, I'm convinced that he is a highly educated man. If you really read beyond the stupid and disgusting things in his books, you'd see it too. But, for some reason, Chuck has chosen to hide his intelligence in a pool of sperm, tears and blood. Add to that some hot boiling spit and some "kiddie-porn" and you've got a Palahniuk book.

I think there is so much more to him, but since I'm not his psychiatrist, I'm not going to go into long musings about just how fucked up his psyche is.

Damned sucks. Big time. It's damn depressing. And since I've grown immune to the random electric shocks that he likes to give his readers by describing sexual atrocities, I was also bored while reading Damned.

I've always described myself as a realist, but reading Damned, I started having some doubts about actually being a damn optimist. Because I can't believe that people like Antonio and Camille exist. That families like Madison's exist. That the Western world is as fucked up as Chuck shows it. If that is really the world we live in, I'd rather stay oblivious. I'm already too familiar with the ruin of the Middle East. Knowing that there is no place in the world where people are normal... I'd really rather be oblivious.

I don't think there is a point to analysing this book. I'm not even sure it's meant to make sense. Even in a world as upside down as the one in Damned, there still should be some logic, but there doesn't seem to be one and I'm not going to tire my hands writing too much about it.

At one point I got all of Palahniuk's books and I've been going through them for years. At one point I always ask myself "Why don't you just get it over with, read them all and be done." And then I read one and I realize that if I read another one immediately after, I'm going to need therapy. So my quest continues, in a couple of years I might be done with Chuck Palahniuk. Or not...

Are you there, Chuck?

Profile Image for Emily.
Author 2 books21 followers
November 8, 2011
I wanted to finish the book before I did a full review on it, but some things just cannot wait..and this is one of them.

I really try to like Palahniuk. His earlier stuff..brilliant. But lately, especially in the case of Damned , all I'm reading is shock value nonsense. You know, I get it. You are a very intelligent man, Mr. Palahniuk. You know a lot and you have very opinionated views on the world. How bout writing an essay on why you think the Hollywood celebrity crowd is wasting their time trying to stay young instead of prattling on disguised as a 13-year old who, if I may say, would not know all those fancy words? Of how bout just writing a decent story that doesn't consider it's sole mission to offend/shock as many people as you can? I'm halfway done with the book and like I said, I plan to finish it and if anything I've said needs amended, I will fix and apologize and all that gooey stuff. But I have a strong feeling my review is going to stay just like it is.

Okay, I have finished the book. Yes, my current claims still stand but I'd like to add something. I think I get so upset with this man is because I think he's a superb writer. Imagery is his forte and I feel like he's wasting it with all this muck stuff. He has a gift and he submerges it in filth. I'm being dramatic, I know. It's much easier for to rant about something I dislike than to praise something. Gah, the potential! The potential!
Profile Image for Gina.
51 reviews
July 30, 2013
Tedious, try-hard and frustratingly inconsistent. Chuck Palahniuk is completely incapable of writing as a 13-year-old girl, particularly a girl of the same generation as Madison would ostensibly be. He just sounds like a 40-something white guy who's really impressed with himself and his ability to write. I can't say that I've read anything else by Palahniuk, but this book was all I needed to ensure that I'll avoid him for the rest of my life. Madison doesn't know what French kissing is, but describes in graphic detail one of the most disturbing sex scenes I've ever come across in any book. Her education level is *wildly* out of order with her age. Her character bounces around all over the place. And then the cop-out twist comes along, and it seems like nothing more than Palahniuk's own realization that he wrote an amazingly inconsistent book and readjustment to cover up the problems without having to go back and fix anything. It could just be that this was a personal experiment of his in writing while on a variety of drugs. That would be a fitting reason for how much of this book is just utterly idiotic and lost in superfluous, aren't-I-so-daring gory details. An obnoxious, annoying book.
Profile Image for David.
Author 12 books136 followers
October 4, 2011
Well, I can now sit back and wait for the 2011 Palahniuk wars to commence. I've already heard the distant rumblings of such and now, based on what I've read, I know that the full slaughter will soon break. Mind you, I don't think that Palahniuk's newest work is bad. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. It won't rank up there with some of his books that I regard as imperative in order to not have lived a wasted life, but it was a fun read. There are some good characters, good description, and an interesting re-imagining of hell and the after life. However, I think that a certain segment of Palahniuk’s fan base is going to be enraged. Having gone fanatical for some of his other books, they will be unwilling to let him ever write anything that isn't almost exactly the same. They will be disappointed. Although, what right will they have to bitch? Palahniuk has already written some amazing books. Perhaps this book is more "good" than "amazing," but that is Chuck's prerogative and not his fans. Regardless, I can already hear the bitching coming from over the horizon...
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 48 books366 followers
October 27, 2011
I enjoyed this book, but it would have been much better if it had a plot arc going on. Sometimes it's nice when authors work off an outline or just known what's going to happen next in the story rather than seeming like they're making up every little thing as they go along. Sure, there's an inciting incident and a journey with no particular destination for no particular reason than to just wander around Hell and check out the sites. And then the journey comes to an abrupt halt for no reason that I could figure out. And at first, I thought the descriptions of hell could have been a lot more imaginative, until I realized what Palahniuk was doing with it: it was composed of human waste and sweat and discarded fingernail clippings. And once I figured out there was a reason for these choices, I admired its meaning more than I would have if the choices that he made for the details of the setting were random and extremely imaginative (which is what I would have done if I ever wrote a novel where Hell was the setting).

And sure, the protagonist experiences inner change through the book. And it has this "episodic" thing going on with the character from one thing to the next without any sort of satisfactory explanation. But unlike episodic-type of books, it just seemed like Palahniuk got tired of writing about one thing and just leaped to another.

And I really liked the meta aspect of it near the end (which I won't get into specifics about to avoid revealing spoilers), where the story actually provides an explanation as far as why the book's protagonist is pretty much like every other protagonist in each of Palahniuk's novels (while none of his novels have had an explanation like this before). And although the female protagonist may be a typical Palahniuk character, the book is written in first person and she does not "talk" like a typical Palahniuk character (or in pidgin-English), which was rather nice. Although I did not buy that the story was being told by someone who was as young as thirteen-years-old. And I don't think she had been in Hell for too long before the book started, so she wasn't exactly an immortal, wise-beyond-her-years, thirteen-year-old.

But overall, it was an extremely entertaining read that was highly flawed.

I think I hold Palahniuk to higher standards than virtually all the other authors that I read because he's the only author who I enjoy that writes books that get on the bestseller lists (at least I assume that they do) and makes big money and has legions of fans, so I'm going to be more critical of him than anyone else. Nevertheless, I don't think it would have been that difficult for him to have incorporated plot structure into the novel in order to improve it significantly.
Profile Image for Scott.
290 reviews300 followers
August 16, 2017
Fifty pages into Damned I was pitching it to my friends, selling them on reading about eternal torments, daemons, and hellfire - all hilariously done in the style Palahniuk has made his own.

Those first fifty pages are pretty entertaining. Madison, a sad, overweight rich kid, drops dead (from a weed overdose) and finds herself in hell. This is isn’t the standard lake-o-fire Hell either – this is Hell like you’ve never imagined it - an underworld that is as amusing as it is gross (and it’s really gross). The landscape of Palahniuk’s Hell is spectacularly icky- mountains comprised entirely of nail clippings, an ever-growing sea of ejaculate (fed by every act of masturbation on earth), vast dandruff deserts, that kind of thing. Madison finds herself a breakfast club style group of friends and sets out on a journey across damnation and up the hellish hierarchy. It’s all rather amusing and spiced with the usual cutting pop culture references and jabs at both hypocritical liberals and right-wing nut jobs like Ann Coulter. So far, so Palahniuk.

Fifty pages later I was calling friends to retract my recommendation. Very quickly the humour in Damned wears thin and the plot – which often seems little more a series of unimportant signposts on Madison’s journey to become a big-time hell-boss - starts to feel perfunctory. The whole book begins to feel as though some good ideas for a short-story had been thrown onto the rack and tortuously stretched into a full novel. I eventually goaded myself to the final page and was confronted with a ‘to be continued’ – a frustrating finish for a story this thin.

It surprises me that the guy with the chops to write Fight Club could take a scenario as rich as the Inferno and write a book that never ignites. There's a great deal of unrealised potential in Damned. The whole book feels like it's racing to get to its underwhelming ending, powering past interesting lookouts, intriguing roadside attractions and picturesque seaside towns on the way to the reading equivalent of a weekend getaway in a malarial swamp.

Reading a promising book that lets you down is its own special kind of hell, and I have a suggestion for a new underworld location in Damned’s sequel - The Dire Library Of Disappointment, a sadistic institution stocked entirely with novels that begin well then descend into aimlessness and unearned cliffhanger endings.
Profile Image for Amalia (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤.
291 reviews59 followers
August 30, 2022
La historia no está mal pero he tardado en engancharme. Eso sí, hay escenas muy divertidas, didácticas y asquerosas.
The story is not bad but it took me a while to get hooked. Of course, there are very funny, educational and disgusting scenes.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,559 reviews8,686 followers
September 30, 2016
“What makes earth feel like hell is our expectation that it should feel like heaven.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Damned


Reading this wasn't Heaven (brilliant) and it certainly wasn't Hell (horrible). It was just kinda purgatory, luke warm. Read almost as an obligation. Perhaps, I've grown too old. Perhaps, CP has grown too old. The shock is gone. All shock is gone?

There is also a bunch of Hell fiction out there. I still prefer Steven Peck's A Short Stay in Hell and of course Dante's (not Dan Brown's) Inferno. This one is a mixture of the Breakfast Club meets Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret with a dash of Jane Eyre for spice. It certainly is transgressive in parts (her first battle with a demon in hell was, um, interesting), but it also is a bit uneven, and actually boring in parts.

So, not my favorite Palahniuk novel but also not my least favorite. Not bad enough to keep me from reading the rest of Palahniuk's pile, just not good enough that I'll read them tomorrow. Hell part 2 (Doomed) can wait.
Profile Image for Mary  BookHounds .
1,301 reviews1,783 followers
March 29, 2012
quite possibly my favorite book of the year!


So, if Christopher Moore (think Abby Normal from Bite Me) and Judy Blume got together and wrote a book dedicated to a life lived in hell as a sort of CandyLand game with all of the twists and turns that move a player forward; where candy is currency . Each chapter starts with a note from Madison, the eleven year old protagonist address to Satan. As she accepts her death and now after life, she finds that even small infractions are enough to send you to the underworld. Honk your car horn? You get 700, once you surpass that magic number, kiss heaven good bye. Same thing for being rude, an idiot and not picking up your trash. As far as Madison can figure out, she ended up in hell because she smoke pot. There is more to the story than that, but you have to read this one to the bitter end to find out exactly how she died.

The writing is so superb that I can't even describe the pleasure of each word and the placement. Most writers have one or two quotable lines, but this whole book is entirely quotable. I have read most of the author's work and this totally redeemed him in my eyes for Pygmy. I had a hard time reading that one. In no way is this book suitable for younger teens but more adventurous ones should really enjoy this. It takes young adult paranormal drama to the next level. Hell is also the location of telemarketers. Madison rules hell as she convinces people to give up their eternity for hell and become the top recruiter on her way to world domination. She does get her chance for salvation, but instead decides she is more suited to a life as a ruler.
Profile Image for Stevie Kincade.
153 reviews100 followers
August 29, 2016
(Audiobook) "Are you there Satan? It's me Maddison" begins each chapter. Maddison finds herself in hell, dying of an apparent marijuana overdose.

The daughter of a multi millionaire and an award winning Actress, 13 year old Maddison is a self described "fat chick" struggling with her sense of self and identity at the time of her death.

This setup allows Paluhniak to viciously pillory EVERYONES sense of identity. it is a lot like attending your own roast because however you identify, what ever you care about, Chuck wants to mercilessly mock and tear down our social constructs. He goes after liberal do-Gooders just as harshly as religious conservatives, finding hypocrisy everywhere.

Using the breakfast club archetypes of the jock, the nerd, the punk rebel, the babe and the misfit chubby chick - Paluhniak takes us on a hilarious journey through the afterlife with his caustic, acerbic wit. I found myself sniggering away throughout my workday all through this thoroughly entertaining ride.

Narrator Tai Sammons did an excellent job with her wry, understated delivery allowing the humour to shine through. A book that makes me laugh while I seriously contemplate my own sense of identity and self perception is a rare experience. Highly recommended
Profile Image for Leo.
4,300 reviews385 followers
December 19, 2021
I finished this in the beginning of December after really dragging the audiobook out as much as I could bare. This book is definitely not for everyone and I'm very aware that it's easy to dislike with a passion. But I just loved it with a passion. It's hard to explain but even if it's about a 13 year old girl it's not by any shape or form suited for children/teens. It's an insane story with a lot of disturbing and bizarre content but somehow very human and so intriguing to listen to. This is one of those storylines that could so easily been to much to bizarre if it had been made by anyone else. But Chuck Palahniuk definitely balanced it well on on the where thin line of obscure. I'm very sure this s my favorite book of the year
Profile Image for Brandon Tietz.
Author 9 books55 followers
December 11, 2013
**originally published on www.wearevespertine.com**

I’m going to put a few fears to rest right away regarding this newest work by Chuck Palahniuk.

First, this one is close to 250 pages, so for all of those who have been complaining about the length of his last few releases—you can chill out. You’re getting a decent page count this time around.

Second: there was some churning the rumor mill that this is a YA novel. Thankfully, those were just rumors as this book isn’t even close to being YA. Not unless that young adult goes by the name of Damien and has a little 666 inked into their scalp.

Last, and most importantly, we’re getting our old Chuck back. Well, for the most part we are. For those of you who begged and pleaded to see the writing return to its former style and glory as seen in Fight Club, Survivor, and Choke—you’ll be quite pleased with the speed-laced prose that is Damned.

That’s right, kids. You’ll find no broken English narrative or bold-faced name-dropping in this one, and the disgust factor “for the sake of itself” as some have criticized, is properly channeled in Palahniuk’s singular version of Hell. Now if you’ve read the last few novels (and we’ll pretend that you have since you’re reading this), there seems to be a certain amount of experimenting Chuck has been doing in the latter portion of career—and let’s be honest, the results and reactions have varied. Some have embraced it, remarking on how they like seeing him try different things while others have yearned for the type of work as seen in his earlier novels. In this particular instance, Damned seems to the proverbial halfway point, a place where old and new meet halfway.

We begin with Madison Spencer, a chunky silver-tongued thirteen-year-old who is the daughter of a way-into-herself film actress and billionaire daddy. After a marijuana overdose (yes, you read that right), she awakes in the wrong side of the afterlife within the confines a scummy jail cell in Hell. She compares this experience to The Breakfast Club, a sort of permanent detention in which you’re stuck with people who are nothing like you in a place you don’t want to be. Madison, of course, plays the basket case a la Ally Sheedy while others fill the role of The Jock, The Nerd, The Cheerleader, and The Burn Out. And true to Breakfast Club form, a particular amount of emphasis is put on the question “Why are you here?”

As one would expect, Madison’s marijuana overdose falls under a certain amount of scrutiny amongst her new counterparts. My advice to the reader is to not let yourself get hung up on that. Already, I’ve seen way too many arguments as to whether you really can or cannot OD on weed. It’s fiction, people. Even if you believe in Hell, you probably don’t believe Chuck’s version in which candy is used as currency and The English Patient plays on an infinite loop. You probably had no idea that our Internet smut and telemarketers are really part of Satan’s business model. Perhaps I’ve said too much already, but it’s when these five characters start their tour of Hell and learning the ropes that Damned becomes a real joyride. Palahniuk truly has no rules to play by in this one, so rather than the reader having to suspend their disbelief in regards to the porn industry or special agent foreign exchange students—his version of Hell, and all the sights and sounds he provides us—they’ll hit just as hard as his infamous Guts short story while taking regular cracks at your funny bone with its satire.

pg. 136:

…I ask Emily what it’s like to have AIDS.
Even over the phone, her eye roll is audible. “It’s like being Canadian,” she says. “You get used to it.”

Chuck’s classic dark humor runs deep in this one, as does his acerbic wit when channeled through his rag tag crew of jilted teens. The Breakfast Club in Hell vibe totally works for this novel, as does the Judy Blume homage to open each chapter: “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison.”

If you’ve read the Blume novel, the parallels regarding puberty and the struggle with religion are prevalent, but with a Palahniukian twist, of course.

The ebb of flow of Damned follows the group tour of Hell while going back to Madison’s time on earth, examining her home life and the circumstances leading up to her untimely demise. We’ve seen this move before: Chuck giving you past and present events in a steady rotation, and the move still works. Damned has a sense of urgency about it, almost forcing the reader to tear through it in order to get that next tidbit of Madison’s backstory or another Hell-related factoid, i.e. – the role of demons and which celebrities reside in the flaming deep. I easily tore through this one within the day.

A couple of forewarnings: The Breakfast Club walking through the inferno premise (on the back of the book, mind you) is abandoned about halfway through the novel. So while the first half of this book comes off as a lot of group fun, there will be an abrupt transition in which Madison’s plotline becomes the main focus, and the other four characters that you’ll quickly come to know and love are only mentioned in passing. The reasoning, of course, is to progress the main plot in regards to Madison. She is the main protag, after all. Like I said though, it’s a rather abrupt change and makes the supporting characters come off kind of disposable, in a sense. Perhaps this is remedied in the future.

“The future” being the next novel. Yes, a sequel. Consider this your official warning, Damned ends with the words "To be continued…"

Perhaps it’s a two-parter, or a three-parter. It’s uncertain. However, with this, I’m left a little unsatisfied, somewhat perplexed, but definitely wanting more. After what feels like the best book Chuck has released since Rant in a style akin to his much-celebrated early career, the man delivers on the goods with Damned only to put us in our own purgatory: one of waiting.

Profile Image for Robyn.
282 reviews27 followers
March 29, 2012
I once again find myself Lamenting Good Reads' lack of half stars. This should be a 3 1/2.

I must admit, I walked into this book with a fair bit of trepidation, having felt rather lukewarm to everything that came after Haunted and been fully enraged by Pygmy. Reading this book was going to be, I thought, the book fan's equivalent of identifying the corpse. "Yep, that's good old Chuck P. I used to love him... Pity what happened, though." And I would assert that my beloved author was dead to me, and I would be able to move on with my life. No more would I have to try to defend his bizarre missteps to the rest of my circle of literary friends; after this book, I was going to be done.

You might be expecting me to tell you at this point that the author's corpse leaped off the autopsy table, and did a little jig, and as such, I have regained all my faith in his abilities and he's my most favoritist author ever once again. Well, not quite...

The beginning of this novel was very slow and meandering, with lots of ruminating and very little action. The Palahniukisms came hard and fast: the cynical narrative character with two or three repeatable catch phrases, the funny sentence structure; if you've read even two of the author's books, you know the little stylistic flourishes I'm talking about, here. I'm not actually certain if I was deluged with them, or if I've read so much of the author's work that these devices are starting to feel repetitive for me, but it was just... too much.

Also too much was the expected jabs at upper-class white society. Yes, we get it, you hate this psuedo spiritual, pill-popping, insincere group of people. I don't like them either, but if I were a published author I would find some more interesting stuff to say about it, rather than creating these same caricature-ish straw men over and over.

The grossness in this book was once again an issue. I don't even know how to describe this, and I'm going to sound funny trying but... Grossness can be done artfully. Shock can be more than schlock, and in his earlier works, Palahniuk positively nailed this concept. It's an interesting ability to get a generation of kids raised with Ren and Stimpy cartoons to read words on a page, and then throw up in their mouths a little. It's even better when he does it and it actually adds something of worth to the overall narrative. He's consistently proven that he can pull out the making people throw up in their mouth part, but the making it worthwhile... he's been a bit shaky on that concept. This book, it falls right in the middle. Some of the grossness actually seemed to have a real point, and some of it could have been grosser, but the author showed remarkable restraint. Hell, the gigantic pile of nail clippings sounded kinda fun in a horrible way.

This pretty much reflects my feelings for the first... oh... two thirds of the book or so.

But then... Something happened. I can't quite pinpoint the exact spot, or tell you what it was precisely that caused it, but I found myself caring about Madison. I found myself identifying with her. Something in the book began to actually move me. I finished the last third or so, completely engrossed, despite some of the really over the top cartoonish stuff that was going on. There was a part of my brain telling me "No, this is far too silly, don't like this." but there was a bigger part telling the first part "f*** off, I'm having fun!"

So, with a "to be continued" at the end of this book, I'm hooked. You haven't charmed my pants completely off, Chuck, but you have my interest again, and I'm keeping an eye out for the next installment.
Profile Image for Steve Lowe.
Author 13 books183 followers
November 8, 2011
It was... you know... eh. Don't get me wrong, well written, with some solid Palahniukian things to say about... things and stuff. But overall? Shit, I don't know.

I didn't really go into this book with any kind of expectation. It seems two camps have emerged in the Chuck Palahniuk fandom world - the group that's tired of that "Chuck" voice that every main character seems to have and wishes he'd branch out, and the group that's tired of Chuck trying to branch out and do something that doesn't read like a Chuck book. I fall in between I suppose. I liked PYGMY until the end, but my problem with that book didn't have to do with the voice or the "Chuckitutde" of it, more with the copout of an ending.

I guess this is Chuck's curse, to have all of his work forever compared to his first, great breakthrough. Either it's not enough like it, or it's too much like it. I think my problem with DAMNED is, Chuck's heart just doesn't seem to be into it. To put it another way, this felt like book writing instead of story telling. Felt like fiction manufacturing instead of yarn spinning. By the time I got to the TO BE CONTINUED... at the end, I really didn't even have the energy to be annoyed. I laughed a few times, kind of got to like the Madison character, wondered why all the candy in Hell didn't melt, but mostly just felt really noncommital by the end.

All I really want is to read a good, entertaining story. That's all I'm looking for at this point. If I get something more out of it, then that's just the unexpected gravy atop the mashed potato. (The yellow kind they served with school lunch, that seems so delicious and magical now that I haven't had it for 20 years.) It's not you, Chuck, it's me. Will I read the sequel(s)? Yeah, most likely. But, again, I won't go into it with any kind of expectations. I grew up rooting for the Chicago Cubs. I've learned not to have expectations. I am broken.
18 reviews11 followers
August 12, 2013
Are you there, Chuck Palahniuk? It's me, Eddie.

I know no one dares editing your stuff any more, since you're a genius and all, but do you think, maybe, you could not use the same rhetorical device as many times as there are pages? I'm dead, not illiterate.


The M. Night Shyamalan of literature, Palahniuk has found a way to transcend the accusations of cop-out twist ending that he, like Shyamalan, must suffer: the not-at-all-contrived-or-hackneyed "To Be Continued"!

Now, some people might say that, to justify a "To Be Continued" ending, the work must be especially long, or have a singular narrative thrust that completes itself with an overarching aspect to it. Or perhaps an episodic structure, where the entire plot is resolved, but a with a quick, jump-cut scene, the book ends with Something About To Happen.

Palahniuk shows us just how simple-minded that view is: Damned is short, nonsensical, and pointless. Palahniuk, king of the ridiculous premises, ensures a few gags are worked to death (to DEATH, get it?), and makes sure to end in a scene that makes particularly little sense.

But I get ahead of myself.

Damned is, and it should go without saying there will be spoilers below, the story of little 13-year-old Madison Spencer, who dies and is sent to hell, which is apparently where the vast majority of people must go if the criteria listed are true. And of course, everyone lies about why they're there. (An unreliable narrator? Way to stretch your boundaries!)

The child of movie stars, Madison has dozens of adopted siblings she mostly doesn't bother to name, and parents that she doesn't connect with. She makes witty observations like "The magazine took her picture arriving at the Oscars red carpet with my dad driving them both in a dinky electric car, but really, when nobody’s looking they go everywhere in a leased Gulfstream jet, even if it’s just to pick up their dry cleaning, which they send to have cleaned in France.”

Celebrities are hypocritical examples of conspicuous consumption? Mr. Palahniuk, do go on! What a muckraker!

After escaping from her cell with her Breakfast Club group (Madison fancies herself the Ally Sheedy type), she travels the fantastical landscape of hell with the speed and sudden quick-travel that only someone who hates writing description can give his characters.

A 13-year-old girl pleasuring a demon by sticking a severed head in the vicinity of its giant clitoris, and having that demon be just so grateful that it gives them all, even the one it just ate whose severed head was all that was left, a ride? Why, how witty and insightful and not-at-all desperately edgy that was. I swoon.

Madison reaches the central hub of Hell and gets a job as a telemarketer, where she spends her time annoying the living and convincing them that Hell isn't all that bad, really. And you get paid in Reese's.

Eventually, she takes over hell in a move that can only be described as "quick"; the 13-year-old even wins a fistfight with a demon.

But despite her chapter-beginning love letters to him, Satan is nowhere to be found until the very end, where the shocking what-a-twist moment happens, before there's a skosh of what I guess is supposed to be denoument and then the cliffhanger. The book has less than 250 pages, and yet somehow requires a To Be Continued.

Palahniuk supposedly spent some time reading Judy Blume books before writing this. If I were Ms. Blume, I'd ask him to claim he was reading Beverly Cleary.

In closing, I got this free from the library as an e-book, so while I can't ask for a refund of money, I can wish that I had the time I spent reading it back almost as much as when I made the mistake of watching Cloverfield.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
766 reviews1,298 followers
July 21, 2016
¿Estás ahí, Satanás? Soy yo, Madison. Por favor, no te lleves la impresión de que no me gusta el Infierno. No, en serio, si está muy bien. Mucho mejor de lo que yo me esperaba. En serio, está claro que te has pasado mucho tiempo trabajando muy duro en los océanos agitados y embravecidos de vómito hirviente, y en el hedor a azufre, y en las nubes de moscas negras zumbantes.

Omitamos primeramente que debía ésta reseña hace ya un mes cuando lo terminé, más o menos, pero que jamás noté que no la había hecho. Chuck Palahniuk es de esos autores con los que uno siente cierta afinidad, a pesar de jamás haberlos leído. No sé si les pasará, es una especie de conexión extraña, quizá las temáticas que toca, no lo sé, pero algo me hizo ansiar leer algo suyo con todo mi ser. "Condenada" es el primer libro suyo que leo, y francamente estoy bastante satisfecha. Se trata de una niña llamada Madison, la cual fallece en consecuencia de una sobredosis, y de ahí termina en el mismísimo infierno. La gracia de éste libro está en la manera en la que una chica de trece años ve el infierno, las dudas que le surgen, la gente extraña con la que se topa, aquellas expectativas de lo que nos encontraríamos en caso de desviarnos en nuestro camino al cielo. ¿Es malo? ¿es bueno? ¿es tan terrible como dicen que es? Ahora ella lo va a descubrir.

En términos generales, una novela que envuelve con su humor negro, por lo picante en la pluma de Palahniuk. La protagonista se torna un poco molesta, y a mi parecer, podría unirse al grupo de "Niñas que razonan y accionan como adultos a pesar de que aún estén en pañales", en el que también se uniría Trisha McFarland y muchas otras más. Ese tipo de personalidades hacen que se corte por completo la realidad que se había formado, y que algo en la historia se desconecte de manera abrupta.

La novela puede resultar un poco fuerte porque es básicamente una burla a todo, desde la religión, los ideales, la hipocresía, las apariencias, la sexualidad, la vida y la muerte. Es una novela que definitivamente puede ser catalogada de horror, pero que tiene un terror de aquellos que perturban, que incomodan, no de los que asustan y te espantan por un mes. Aún así, me pareció un libro ameno, llevadero e hilarante.
Profile Image for Brian.
Author 1 book978 followers
November 24, 2011
In the last few years, Palahniuk's books have felt like a 7th generation copy of a copy of a copy of a book he wrote in the early 2000s. I've continued to read Chuck in hopes of seeing again the genius behind his first works, but alas, "Damned" is such an execrable send-up I am hoping that this is nothing more than a contractual obligation book and at some point we get to see the return of a very talented writer, rather than wonder when his muse left him.

"Survivor" was my favorite book of 2000. "Fight Club" was one of the best first books written by any American author in the last 20 years. "Choke", "Lullaby", "Diary" and several of the others around that time were also good, but somewhere around "Haunted" it felt like wheels were coming off, and as big a fan as I am, I hung on through "Pygmy" before taking a break (the only CP books I've not read are "Tell-All" and "Snuff"). My hope dies hard (a la Madison Spencer from "Damned") that I get to read a book from CP that channels his true talent.
Profile Image for Todd Bristow.
62 reviews5 followers
February 28, 2017
The author's view of hell is gross and wonderful. The protagonist is delightful and her journey is worth taking. The story gets meandering at times. There is an arc, but the story feels incomplete, but a continuation is threatened. If it comes, I'll read it.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,920 reviews1,255 followers
January 30, 2015
I have to return this book to the library soon, because despite putting it on hold, it has another hold on it already. Already. This Chuck Palahniuk guy sure is popular. Yet I feel as if I should do my civic duty and put a sticky note inside this book that reads, “Don’t bother.” That’s pretty much my review of Damned, in two words.

Madison Spencer is a thirteen-year-old girl, the daughter of rich-but-eccentric parents who love her but are not close to her. She overdoses on marijuana on her thirteenth birthday, dies, and goes to Hell, which it turns out runs on candy and forces people to work, usually as telemarketers. (It is Hell, I guess, so that’s fair.)

Madison Spencer is really concerned with letting you know that she is well aware of who Judy Blume is and that she has a good vocabulary. That’s why she starts every chapter with a faux-naive address to the Prince of Lies himself: “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” and why every time she uses a word that you might doubt a thirteen-year-old would know, she lampshades it by challenging you and reminding us of her bookish habits, because she feels alienated and angsty (unlike any other teen in the history of ever). When she isn’t sharing her thoughts on her own sexuality, she’s rubbing decaptitated heads into giant clitorises, telling living people that dying and going to Hell is a bucket o’ fun, and punching Hitler and ripping off his moustache as a trophy (because why not?).

Going to be honest: I kind of stopped paying attention after the punching Hitler part. But by that time I was too far in to quit, and I rather hoped that Palahniuk would somehow pull a redemptive ending out of his ass that would, if not make my time sunk into this worth it, at least give me something marginally positive to say in this review.


Damned occurs entirely in the first-person voice of Maddy. And that’s where it falls flat for me: Chuck Palahniuk does not convince me that this is a thirteen-year-old girl, or at least, not any thirteen-year-old girl I want to sympathize with:

A crew of sinister Snarky Miss Snarky-pants girls at my old boarding school, the infamous three who taught me the French-kissing Game, they once professed toe ducate me about human reproduction. As they told it to me, the reason boys desire so desperately to kiss girls is because, with each kiss, the activity makes the boy’s wanger grow larger. The more girls a boy can kiss, the larger a wanger he’ll eventually possess, and the boys boasting the largest are awarded the best-paying, highest-status jobs. Really, it’s all very simple. All boys devote their lives to amassing the most elongated genitals, growing the nasty things so that when they eventually wedge them inside some unfortunate girl, the distant end of the enlarged wanger actually breaks off—yes, the wanger flesh becomes so hardened that it shatters—and the broken portion remains lodged within the girl’s hoo-hoo. This natural event is much like those lizards that live in arid deserts and can voluntarily detach their squirming tails. Any amount, from the pointed tip to almost the entire wiener, can literally snap off inside a girl, and she’s fully unable to remove it.

WTF, Chuck? The above language sounds like something I’d more likely find in Worst. Person. Ever. —and you wish you were as darkly hilarious as Coupland. Not only is that just crude, but it’s not even the type of crude that would actually slip out of a thirteen-year-old girl’s lips. Trust me, I asked a couple of people who were once thirteen-year-old girls. Did you?

It’s not even the “thirteen-year-old” or the “girl” parts that Palahniuk fails so badly at: Maddy just doesn’t seem like an actual person. She is a badly written character. And given the equally-bad twist at the end, maybe that’s intentional Palahniuk is just trying to be uber-meta and clever���but I’m just not charitable enough to cut him such a large length of slack. My slack is incredibly short supply these days, and I cannot dole it out to just anyone. You have to earn some of my slack, Chuck, and you don’t do that here.

Even if I cut you slack on Maddy—and I’m not—the rest of Damned is still a disaster. Let’s talk about Hell:

I explain the seemingly arbitrary rules of which people run afoul, how each living person is allowed to use the F-word a maximum of seven hundred times. Most living persons haven’t the slightest idea how easy it is to be damned, but should anyone say fuck for the 701st time, he or she is automatically doomed. Similar rules apply to personal hygiene; for example, the 855th time you fail to wash your hands after voiding your bowels or bladder, you’re doomed….

Such yawn. Much boredom.

And yes—I will say this explicitly, lest someone reads these criticisms and challenges me on the grounds that I did not “get it”—I get it: Palahniuk is trying to make Hell sound boring and drab and overly bureaucratic. The problem with that? It’s boring (and drab). Matthew Hughes does a far superior job depicting an overly-bureaucratic Hell. And he manages to do so while exploring some interesting moral and philosophical issues. Palahniuk just seems to be working out some prurient plotlines that don’t actually go anywhere.

One reason I got so far into the book before realizing I should bail is that I was waiting for something to happen (beyond the going to Hell part). Maddy spends the first hundred pages stuck in a cell or wandering aimlessly around Hell with her friends before we even get a glimmer of the wider structure of the place. Even then there seems to be little hope of an over-arching storyline. Maddy veers from one remembrance of her parents’ terrible parenting to another, and all the while she has conversations with living people over the phone. Oh, and then she goes off on some kind of sabbatical and ends up punching Hitler.

Because … why not?

Then there’s the twist at the end. Without spoiling it, all I can say is it puts Maddy in a Satan-killing mood, and that’s where the book ends. On a cliffhanger. After less than three hundred pages. Maybe if you had led with the twist, Chuck, and built an engrossing story around it, then I would have liked Damned. As it is, now I just feel like you spent an entire novel working up to the real story, in Doomed. The irony here is that the only reason I read Damned is because my Dad gave me a copy of Doomed many Christmases ago, and I thought it sounded very interesting but that I should read the first book in the series before I read it.

Past!me, you were so wrong, it is not even funny.

Damned is crazy, and not in a good crazy way. I’m guessing Palahniuk wants to be clever in a shocking-look-at-me-for-how-outrageous-this-is! kind of way. It all falls very flat, and the result is nearly three hundred pages of boredom topped only by my disbelief—in everything. It has been a long time since I’ve read a book, and finished it, and not had anything good to say about it. I’m less than 10 books into 2015, and already I think I have a solid candidate for worst book I’ve read this year.

My two words still stand: Don’t Bother. Read anything else. Read another Palahniuk book. Read a Twilight book. Read Twilight fanfic. But leave this one on the library shelf where it belongs. Don’t even think about putting it on hold.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
Profile Image for Tyler.
126 reviews
March 11, 2012

I'm going to say right now, I am one of those people who think that pretty much all of Chuck's early books are at the very least entertaining to various degrees. Fight Club and Invisible Monsters are incredible, I really like Diary, Survivor is good, Choke is decent. I'm probably forgetting one or two of his earlier books.

I used to be a huge Chuck fan and still strongly recommend those early books. I think the first book I hated by Chuck was Haunted. That was terrible... bullshit uninteresting (that's the biggest crime) shock literature. Whatever.

Then I read Rant and I liked it. It wasn't amazing but it was a cool little slightly new direction for Chuck. Yes, it still had the Chuck voice, but I have no problem with that voice. His voice, his writing style, it all entertains me.

But I've skipped books like Pygmy, Snuff and Tell All because quite frankly, I don't care about those books. They don't sound very fascinating. I decided to give Damned a read because it's been so long since I've read a Palahniuk book and I think it's fitting to read his most current book to see where he's gone, to see his evolution.

And I wish I hadn't.

The voice is still fine, his writing is still fine. But the plot is boring and I didn't care about what was going on or the characters... at all. There were no moments that stuck out. It lacks the emotional ending of Invisible Monsters, it lacks the satirical, passionate oomph of Fight Club. I read along, waiting for something fun to happen to engage me... to grab me and pull me into the story, and it never came.

He wastes the idea of Hell. Yeah, Chuck can describe things pretty well while never going overboard, but I'm just not impressed by the idea of a Sea of Wasted Sperm or whatever it was called. It doesn't paint this gruesome, gross version of Hell like he probably wanted.

I don't know if this is all Chuck does anymore; this shock-lit. Maybe it is, someone on here should tell me... but Haunted was the first attempt at that and it sucked. This is more of the same although not nearly as bad as Haunted was in that regard. The shock factor was less tedious than Haunted but Haunted had a more interesting plot.

I don't know how Chuck made Hell boring, but he did. I really think he should just take a couple years and write another masterpiece... at the beginning of his career he wasn't writing all masterpieces but he wrote a couple. Now it sometimes feels like he isn't trying. I know he is, I know he has meaning in all his books, but as a reader when a book comes off like that, it's hard to get involved in the story.
Profile Image for Cristina Boncea.
Author 7 books686 followers
February 10, 2017
Aceasta este prima carte din trilogia cu același titlu. Cel de-al doilea volum se numește "Apocalipsa" și a fost publicat la aceeași editură în 2013.

Trebuie să spun că această lectură a fost pe cât de plăcută, pe atât de zdruncinată. Printre primele mele gânduri a fost și cât de mult mi s-a părut că atmosfera seamănă cu cea din Ed, Edd și Eddy, de pe dealul cu multe gunoaie și lucruri abandonate dar această observație este strict cea a unei persoane crescută în generația '90, presupun. Cel mai pe scurt, avem parte de mult iad, locul unde se desfășoară cea mai mare parte din activitate iar protagonista este Maddie și are treisprezece ani.

"Ceea ce face viața să fie iad e ideea oamenilor că ar trebui să fie rai" este o mantra repetată de către Maddy pe tot parcursul romanului. Părinții ei sunt constant aduși în discuție, fiind niște foști hipioți care sunt acum foarte celebri la nivel internațional, foarte fixiști și mult prea ocupați pentru a-i oferi lui Maddie altceva înafară de bunuri materiale. Astfel, Maddie a crescut urând superficialitatea, fiind foarte cinică cu privire la orice însă dorindu-și totuși să fie plăcută celor din jur, în special unui anumit personaj. În Blestemați avem moartea privită ca pe o renaștere, o reinventare, o altfel de continuare a vieții.

Dacă v-ați imaginat vreodată o puștoaică de treisprezece ani bătându-l măr pe Hitler în iad, categoric asta e cartea perfectă pentru voi.
Fiecare capitol începe cu un monolog la persoana a II-a de la protagonistă către Satan și multe dintre acestea se bazează pe flashback-uri din viața de muritoare a lui Maddie, care a murit într-un fel original dar și tragicomic, la fel ca George din serialul Dead like me - o altă comparație pe care nu mă pot abține să nu o fac. Recunosc că mereu am fost pasionată de povești care prezintă incursiuni în viețile morților. Totul merge foarte linear până într-un anumit punct, îți poți face niște idei clare în legătură cu direcția în care ar putea merge acțiunea dar trebuie să recunosc că nu mi-a plăcut deloc ce a făcut Chuck cu finalul.

Maddie își găsește niște prieteni în iad, începe să se obișnuiască și apoi o grămadă de lucruri se întâmplă în lanț și situația se schimbă, chiar după ce se împăcase cu acest gând și noua ei existență. Iadul este prezentat ca un cartier mărginaș de care nu a mai avut nimeni grijă iar locuitorii săi variază de la personalități istorice la victime colaterale ale ororilor din diverse secole. Dacă pentru prima jumătate a cărții am dat paginile însetată să aflu cât mai multe detalii despre viața în iad, comparațiile dintre existența de dinainte și după moarte și mai ales, felul cum a murit protagonista, după anterior menționatul punct culminant recunosc că m-am simțit puțin pierdută. Deși la un moment dat simțeam că citesc ceva scris de mine însămi, nu mă așteptam ca intuiția mea să fi avut dreptate iar acțiunea să fie așa de previzibilă.

Halloween-ul obligă toți morții din iad să se costumeze în persoanele care erau înainte de a muri și să iasă printre ceilalți muritori, până la miezul nopții. Aceasta este scena finală, după care acțiunea se continuă în volumul doi, pe care nu sunt sigură că vreau să-l citesc. Deși la nivel de stil Chuck nu avea cum să mă dezamăgească, combinând toate elementele care-mi plac mie la o carte - nihilism, moarte, Satana -, tind să spun că e chiar copilăresc și greu de luat în serios ce se întâmplă în ultimele pagini și nu văd cum ar putea salva situația volumul următor. Dacă aș putea da o notă doar pentru prima parte, ar fi cu siguranță mult mai mare însă voi încerca să fac o medie în acordarea punctajului. Ce nu mi-a plăcut deloc este chiar banalitatea încheierii, modul de rezolvare aparentă a conflictelor și chiar aerul de roman YA tipic; consider că se putea întâmpla ceva mult mai șocant, neașteptat și potrivit restului acțiunii, refuz oarecum să cred că a avut loc în modul descris de autor.

Recomand cartea celor în căutare de ceva relaxant, foarte comic, dulce pe alocuri, nu foarte solicitant și totuși, cool.


Profile Image for Lily.
418 reviews27 followers
April 11, 2012
Hmmmm… Wow…


So… This is my first Palahniuk novel, and frankly I am scared to pick up anything else written by this author, though I have ‘Fight Club’ on my “To-Read” list for April. And I hear from many (MANY) sources, that this guy is GENIUS and ‘Fight Club’ is ridiculously good. I don’t doubt all these people… but I still have my fingers crossed.

Madison Spencer. A 13 year old girl, daughter of two eccentric famous parents, dies, and ends up in the most strange, weird, ridiculous version of hell I have ever read.

A hell containing wonderful images such as: towering hills of clipped fingernails, dead skin and dandruff, a lake of wasted sperm, a steaming swamp of (partial??? – I am pretty sure I read that!) abortions and grounds strewed with odd array assortment of candy bars. Not to mention, where the dead have such jobs as making annoying telemarketing calls during dinner time to the unsuspecting living (I knew it!!!). Where said 13 year old uses the severed and still very much alive head of one of her dead buddies to sexually stimulate a towering demon as it devours said head’s still flailing body?

Well, I will say this. Though Madison Spencer, 13 years old, who ‘might be dead but isn’t stupid!’ (or ignorant, or blah blah blah) is kinda annoying, she certainly is interesting.

And though I think that this version of hell feels like it was conjured through enjoyment of a certain drug that Madison thinks actually killed her, it was most certainly amusing, and darkly comedic.

And though I honestly cannot rate this novel above the “It’s Ok’ rating (since I neither hated it, nor was blown away by it or even really liked it), I couldn’t close this book and stop reading it.
It was so completely absurd, that I just had to keep reading this to see how much more absurd it could actually get. This novel was a metaphorical pug. So ugly… it’s actually kinda cute! (Before I get attacked by pug lovers everywhere, let's be clear. I like pugs. How can you NOT like pugs. Refer to Exhibit A pic below)

Yup... Really Cute!!!!

But maybe this is the Palahniuk genius I keep hearing and reading about. Write something so distorted, so perplexing and ridiculous, that no one that picks this novel up can put it back down until it is finished. That’s PRETTY GENIUS. But it still only get 2 stars out of me.
Profile Image for Malum.
2,223 reviews128 followers
July 4, 2022
When an author needs a few bucks, is the general practice to just churn out anything, even if it is a rambling mess? Damned reads like a plotless, pointless, YA novel where every single bit of humor falls dead flat.

First, the main character is a 13 year old depressed girl. That's totally fine, except for the fact that the book also reads like it was written by a 13 year old depressed girl. She dies and goes to hell, but she is just so totally awesome! She beats up all of the evil people in hell and even the devil thinks that she is just so cool you guys! And did I mention that the currency of hell is candy? Yeah, totally! Yeesh.

I could forgive that, but the bigger problem here is that there is just no plot. The book rambles on and on and on, with the main character just talking at you and telling you an endless amount of things that you have no reason to care about. Just when you think Palahniuk is going somewhere with some kind of plot thread, he immediately drops it and moves on to something totally different. The book starts with the main character sitting around in hell, talking endlessly about this and that. About six chapters later, something finally happens...unfortunately that something is just a bunch of wandering around and even more pointless exposition and flashbacks. Then she gets a job and works as a telemarketer for a while. Then she suddenly becomes a warrior and defeats famous evil people while raising an army to assault hell (which, as a 13 year old girl, she is totes awesome at! By the way, it was at this point my wavering 2 starts crumbled into the one star you see before you. I had already gone too far, though, and decided I might as well finish). Then she goes back to her day job for some reason. Then more wandering around. Then...oh I don't care. This book is terrible.

Lets take a look under the hood. What is Palahniuk trying to accomplish with this? Well, I think he is trying to be funny, but I didn't have a single laugh while reading this. He is also trying to lampoon various things, such as religion and celebrity. I applaud any efforts to lampoon any sacred cow, but the problem here is that others have taken the piss out of these things in much better, funnier, and more clever ways. Again, it reads like an edgy kid wrote this thinking she was so extremely clever and original.

Why Palahniuk believes this should be a series is scarier than anything in his idea of hell.
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews161 followers
July 20, 2014
To be upfront, I am not typically a fan of Chuck Palahnuik’s writing, but this one’s description caught my eye so I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did, because I generally loved it.

The main character, 13-year-old Madison, evolves throughout the story from a rather clueless girl to one who gradually becomes more self-aware. The writing style is meant to mimic how a girl her age may write, and for the most part it played out nicely. However, after a while some of the repetition began to grate on my nerves like one of the demons in the book. We got the point, Mr. Palahnuik. It really marred what was otherwise a pleasant read and is the sole reason I gave it three stars instead of four.

The other characters were excellent. All surprising and well-rounded, they did a great job of making the novel thought-provoking as opposed to one-dimensional. Archer and Goren were particular were favorites of mine.

The list of ways to get you a one way ticket to eternal damnation had me laughing every time one came up. I challenge anyone not to wonder if you are gambling with their soul the next time they commit one of the atrocities.

As is so common in a Palahnuik novel that I don’t think it bears even a thought of a spoiler warning, it all comes down to the ultimate existential crisis. This one is the best I have ever read, not only from the author, but from possibly any author. It definitely left me wanting more in spite of the previously mentioned repetition. Lucky for me, there is a sequel, “Doomed”.
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