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  • gilwilson 10:21 PM on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: after-life, , , celebrity, chuck palahniuk, , , doomed, fame, heaven, , maddie spencer, ,   

    Audiobook Review: “Doomed” by Chuck Palahniuk 

    doomed

    Audiobook Review: “Doomed”
    by Chuck Palahniuk
    Read By Tai Sammons
    Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
    9 hours and 35 minutes

    If you didn’t get enough of the snarky Madison Spencer from Chuck Palahniuk’s book “Damned,” then sit back and let the life/afterlife or death/after-death of Madison Spencer roll on. Be warned, however, where “Damned” was a disgusting, gross out fest of a romp through hell, “Doomed” is just as gross but this time Maddie gets to roam Purgatory (or as we call it, Earth) as a ghost and explore all that has happened since she died.

    The narrator, Tai Sammons, does an excellent job portraying the snarky, apathetic teen. Throughout the book the, Sammons captures the true spirit (pardon the pun) of Maddie Spencer so much that it seems as though you are listening to her tell her story. The voice acting was perfect throughout the audiobook and may be the redeeming factor in this not needed sequel (more on that later).

    In the book “Damned,” Palahniuk introduce his readers to Maddie in a tale that could haunt us all in that knowing everything we do will land us in hell. Maddie is not happy with that idea and wants to escape hell, even though she holds a great job as a telemarketer in the pits. In “Doomed” Palahniuk guides the reader/listener on an adventure through the modern world as seen through the eyes of the plucky, pubescent progeny of celebrity parents, Madison Spencer.

    As a trick on her parents Madison, while serving as a telemarketer in hell told her parents to do all the things that could land them in hell. She does this under the guise that doing these things will land them in Heaven. So from that point forward her parents creatively curse, act rude towards each other and fart as a method of tribute. The problem is these are what gets a person sent to Palahniuk’s hell. The problem in Maddie telling her parents to do these things, is that her parents are the type of celebutantes that take things to the extreme. So as a tribute to their long lost daughter, they form a church based on these principals and the world soon becomes a cursing, rude, farting mess.

    In a botched ritual by Maddie’s peers, Maddie is brought back to Earth as a ghost. She now wanders the world freely and soon learns the madness that her parents have created. But first, Maddie finds the ghost of her deceased grandmother and a flashback ensues which tells the tale of how Maddie Spencer started on the path that doomed her to eternal damnation. It all starts with her causing the death and castration of her grandfather and from there the family is never the same. Maddie’s life has been guided by forces from hell long before she was born and in what becomes a battle between Satan and the forces of good Maddie travels the world with a drugged out ghost hunter to try and convince her parents to change their ways and renounce Satan.

    In what I have recently discovered to be the second of a trilogy of books, “Doomed” lacks the fun and uniqueness of the first book. At times I really got tired of the book and nearly quit it. Being a Chuck Palahniuk fan I had to continue, if only to say I finished the book. Maybe the third in the series will tie it all up in a neat package. This book does have its moments, but there are long sections where nothing really happens. Give it a chance only after reading “Damned.” Just like most other books by Palahniuk, it does turn a mirror to society to show the truth behind the madness of pop-culture, but not so much in your face reality as with his other books.

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  • gilwilson 8:48 PM on June 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anna fields, , , , , beauty, , , , , chuck palahniuk, fashion, non-linear story, , , road trip   

    “Invisible Monsters (Remix)” by Chuck Palahniuk 

    “Invisible Monsters (Remix)”
    by Chuck Palahniuk
    Read by Chuck Palahniuk, Anna Fields and Paul Michael Garcia
    Published by Blackstone Audio
    Approx 7 hours.

    Not only does Chuck Palahniuk deliver with yet another twisted tale, but this time around the story gets told HIS way. I first became a fan of Palahniuk, as did many others, when the movie “Fight Club” was released and with the non-linear story in that movie that I had loved before, I knew I had to investigate this author. Looking for the time to read every book I want to read turns out to be a bit tougher than I want. I have been wanting to read every single Chuck Palahnuik book and I’ve put a pretty good dent into his works. This book “Invisible Monsters” has been on my list for a while but I just never got around to it. Finally I got the opportunity to review this book when Blackstone Audio released the Remix and sent me a copy. I was anxious to get on with this book and even more so when I found out that this version is basically a “director’s cut” of the original novel. This “remix” contains new material and even adds a bit of extra adventure in reading that Chuck originally wanted in the novel.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Chuck Palahniuk is the master of non-linear storytelling. If you are not familiar with this type of story, whether you are reading or listening, It seems to jump around from the past to now in the storyline and by the time you get to the end you get this big “Ah-Ha!” moment where it all makes sense. (Also you get those moments throughout the story.) I’m a fan of this type of story telling, because usually the story is not predictable.

    In the introduction to this story, Palahniuk, discusses how he originally wanted to release the novel where it was nearly a never-ending story with the chance to either continue reading to the next chapter or to jump ahead or back to a chapter creating a different story with the same ending. That’s what the “Remix” is all about. Jumping to the various chapters in the book. In this new version, in hardcover form, Chuck mixes up the order of the original text and intersperses it with a series of reminiscences, commentaries and mental challenges to the reader. Some chapters are printed in reverse, so that the reader must hold them up to a mirror in order to read them. Each chapter ends with an instruction to “jump” to a new chapter. These “jump to chapter” instructions create four internal loops within the book:

    Loop 1 is the original text. By following the “jump to” instructions, the reader can track the story as originally published.
    Loop 2 consists of three chapters of reminiscences describing the process that led to the writing of the book.
    Loop 3 consists of three chapters of commentary directed to the reader.
    Loop 4 consists of four chapters providing further insights into the mind of the main character, Daisy St. Patience.

    The audio version is presented in the same order as the print version. Listeners can experience the book as printed and discover new material and insights as they go, or they can follow the “jump to” instructions by creating their own “playlists.” Here is where I have my complaint. I received the audio CD version and when jumping around I would have to change the CD, for example the instructions would tell the listener to jump to disc 6 track twelve after listening to the first chapter on disc one. This would work nice If I had had the digital audio version and could make a playlist on my iPod, but driving and changing discs mad for, at times, a very frustrating process. This idea works great for the hardcover and digital audio (it comes with a pdf file giving the track number order for the various loops) but for the CD version it makes listening difficult. In fact, if the story weren’t so fascinating and original I might have stopped listening.

    Other than the CD shuffle frustration, the audiobook is superb. Anna Fields does the reading of the main story loop, and her ability do the vocal gymnastics to perform each character is perfect. Without giving away some spoilers, I will say that when you find out more about each character the listener will realize that Anna offers up some hints in her vocal work that give you some more “Ah-Ha” moments. She is simply awesome in the delivery of this book.

    Okay, so how do you sum up a book that starts at the end and ends in the middle without giving away spoilers? I may accidentally give some spoilers so if you don’t want to read them, I suggest you just take my word for it and pick up this super-fun transgendered road-trip novel and have fun.

    That being said, I think I can sum up the gist of the story by saying the story is about a model that has lost her face and decides to take a road trip with two companions as one tries to find her sister and one is in love with another and all are damaged goods. Shannon is the model but when she runs into Brandy Alexander, her life becomes a mystery and at the same time unravels the mysteries of the three companions on their road-trip through parts of Canada and Northwest U.S.

    Palahniuk mixes family pressures, homophobes, transgender persons, models and undercover cops into a satire of the beauty and fashion on a mystery road trip that will surprise you with every chapter.

     
  • gilwilson 1:57 AM on August 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , chuck palahniuk, , snuff   

    “Snuff” by Chuck Palahniuk 

    snuff“Snuff”
    by Chuck Palahniuk
    Read by Todd McLaren
    Produced by Tantor Media
    approx. 5 hours

    Whoa!  Okay, I knew what I was getting myself into when I picked up the is Chuck Palahniuk audio book…but still, Whoa!  “Snuff” is a novel that explores the dark underbelly of the world of porn but also maybe a little dark lesson on life and relationships.

    This novel is told through the voices of 4 main characters as the queen of porn, Cassie Wright,  brings her porn career to an end by breaking the world record for serial fornication, on camera with six hundred men. Each of the 4 characters have a huge stake in the making of this movie and as the listener jumps from inside head to head of each character to hear their story something dark unfolds.  The characters are; Mr. 72, Mr. 137, Mr. 600, and Wright’s personal assistant, Sheila.

    Mr. 72 is a young man out to save Cassie Wright.  Mr. 72 thinks he is the son of Cassie Wright whom she put up for adoption.  As the book progresses it is learned that Cassie may have had what is called a “porn-child,” a child conceived during filming of one her movies.  Mr. 72 reveals his strange childhood with his adopted parents and the eventual discovery and lusting after who could be he mother, Cassie Wright.  Very disturbing is the best way to describe the way Mr. 72 discovers who his mom could be and the way he continues to act once that discovery is made.

    Mr. 137 is a has been television actor.  He once had the biggest show on television in which he was a detective.  However it is revealed that once the public became aware of a gay porn movie he made in his youth the studio fires him and his series is cancelled.  His appearance in this record-breaking movie could get him more “face-time” and maybe he could make a comeback.

    Mr. 600 is legendary porn star Branch Bacardi.  Branch is considered to be the father of Cassie’s porn-child, but he denies this is possible.  Branch is also looking at this film to revitalize his career but his reasoning is that in filming this record breaking feat, Cassie Wright could die from an embolism.  So Mr. 600 wants be known as the man who killed Cassie Wright on film.

    Finally we get to the wrangler, Sheila.  Sheila is Cassie Wright’s personal assistant who comes up with the idea to end her career with this film.  Sheila also makes it possible for the lost child of Cassie to become very rich by talking her into taking out life insurance payable to the child.  Sheila is also the one who decides who is next to be filmed.  The “actors” are not filmed in numerical order, but rather randomly so that editing of the film can make the film more interesting.  Sheila also has a hidden secret.

    This novel is very dark and disturbing but in that darkness is some funny dark humor thrown in. It can’t all be tragic, I guess.  Some of the funnier moments are the various names for men which Sheila comes up with.  Also funny are the names of the films listed in which Cassie has starred.  Neither of these will be repeated by me, knowing that some younger folk may read this, but for the movies keep in mind the running joke of porn movies renamed after “normal” movies.

    Once again Chuck Palahniuk dives into the dark seedy side of life to bring out a point.  Good reading or listening.

     
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