Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk [Book]

Invisible Monsters by Chuck PalahniukOne more time, please. This time with a little less face.

Invisible Monsters initially unnamed narrator was once a beautiful fashion model. But only to draw the attention of her parents away from her brother, Shane. The narrator has it all until the fateful day of the accident where the bottom half of her face gets completely blown off leaving her with nothing more than top teeth and a tongue that hangs out of the gaping wound.

Now unable to speak and constantly wiping drool from her mouth, the narrator still gets attention, but only because she is a hideous monster. So here comes Brandy Alexander, the queen of overly coifed hair and heavily painted face. Only one surgery away from being a “real” woman, Brandy takes the narrator under her awkwardly large wing and equips her with the things she needs to be beautiful again. At least as beautiful as she can be with only half a face.

When Brandy isn’t giving our narrator hats with face veils, new clothes, “speech” lessons, and completely new identities, she is finding houses for sale. Not for purchase, but for prescription drugs to steal.

There are drugs, wounds, blood, fire, and new identities. Palahniuk delivers a dose of jilted beauty queens, messed up transsexuals, and twists on top of twists on top of twists. Invisible Monsters will only leave you wanting. Wanting what, I’m not sure. But you’ll want something.


After my less than stellar experience with one of Chuck’s latest books, Damned (check out review #3 of our 100 books in 2014), I felt it was a perfect time to revisit some of his older works.  There are only a few Palahniuk books I have not dove in to over the years, the most well known I have yet to read is his classic Fight Club, but I’m thinking I may get to that one this year at some point.  Another novel was Invisible Monsters.  I just have to say…THIS is what I have come to expect from one of he finest writers of this day and age!  It is filled to the brim with the wit, poignancy, and down right fits of distrubia that I have come to expect from this wonderfully creative human being.  Of course, this book is now 15 years old, and has also been the subject of a “remixed” version, released in 2012, which I have not read either.  But, this is classic Palahniuk.  His tales of some just downright terrible people doing terrible things, all the while making you fall in love with them, are what makes good ole Chuck just so unique and one of the greatest.  He is the F. Scott Fitzgerald of the “that’s just wrong” variety.  Although I would argue that Chuck would win a battle rap type fashion if his work were butted right up against Fitzgerald in contest when it comes to word use and character development.  Yes, I am that serious about this cat’s work.

What struck me to be my greatest fascination with this novel was a quality that appears in just about every piece of work the man has ever done.  There is always a somewhat relevant bit of phrasing that occurs in his work.  In Fight Club, the film and I am told in the book as well, you have the “I am Jack’s ….” where he would enter a different trouble or personal description.  Damned started each chapter with “Are you there Satan?  It’s me Madison”.  And in Invisible Monsters, the word “Flash” is of great importance”  Give me ____.  Flash! Give me ____.  Flash!”.  I can’t truly explain what this does for me, but dammit I love it.  Palahniuk has developed a style of writing that is worthy of praise from every reader who lies eyes on his pages, and every writer out there who thinks they are even the least bit original.  And it is character traits like this that make him one of the greatest of all time.

I’ve had many conversations with avid Palahniuk readers about which of his works they like best.  Many people say Fight Club, as it is apparently a brilliant novel.  Several people claim that Fight Club is the ideal collection of film and book.  Both are brilliant, and slightly different, meaning you can enjoy both pieces of art and avoid the pretentious statements like “the book was better” or “I’ll just watch the movie”.  I can’t stand that.  And if you do such a thing, I suggest you stop reading this right now, and go fix yourself a big heaping shit sandwich and enjoy every last drop.  Anyway, back on track here:  I think it is impossible to truly make a claim as to what my favorite work of Palahniuk may be.  And maybe that is what makes him so great.  If it is a conversation I wish to keep short, I usually just say Tell-All or Rant, which always seem to pop in to my mind.  If it is somebody I want to talk to, I make the claim that it is impossible for a couple of reasons.  (1) I have yet to read all of his books, at this time of writing I believe I have yet to read 4 of them and (2) Each piece of work is so brilliant in its own way and I would simply have to choose portions and scenes and characters from each book that would be my “favorite”.  And Invisible Monsters definitely adds to the beautiful confusion.  I discovered a few new favorites about Palahniuk, and thoroughly enjoyed yet another amazing story from an amazing writer.

Foto von Chuck PalahniukI must admit that there is much bias in my readings of Palahniuk.  You see, I’m not one to take too much pride in where I am “from”.  I quote the word “from” because I don’t think I am really “from” anywhere.  But, I spent a combine number of years in the Pacific Northwest more than anywhere else, albeit at different stages of my life.  But I do have a fanboy love affair with the city of Portland, Oregon.  I absolutely adore that damn place, and everything it has to offer.  And it is a city that good old Chuck still calls home, which makes perfect sense if you know his work and anything about the city of Portland.  In fact, I recommend you read Palahniuk’s book Fugitive and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon.  He spells out quite nicely why he loves this town.  Chuck Palahniuk is to Portland what Woody Allen is to Manhattan.  Of course, they also have the wonderful Gus Van Sant wandering around, but I have a feeling Chuck may get recognized more.  He is a fixture in the community, and the locals can not help but admire his work, but don’t get star crazed when they see him having dinner with his family, or strolling through a neighborhood staring at nothing.  He just walks among so many other great writers and musicians and tattoo artists and artisan bread makers just like everyone else in one of the weirdest cities in America.  I only bring this up to admit my bias for the man because of where he calls home.  But luckily, the man is a world-renowned brilliant writer, and my bias means nothing.  It’s just another reason I have to continue the proverbial ass kissing of this brilliant fascinating man.

In the end, I may not have enjoyed Damned recently, but as the old saying goes, “Sex is like pizza, even if it’s bad it’s still pretty good”.  I feel the same for sex as I do for Chuck’s work.  As well as pizza.  “Chuck Palahniuk’s writing is a glorious 12″ pan of brilliant pizza sex literature.”  End quote.

Note: 2014 is the first year for book reviews at Trainwreck’d Society.  We will be making a valiant effort to read and review at least 100 books.  This is review #6.  Be sure to stay in touch and be on the lookout for further reviews throughout 2014.  Be sure to let us know if we are falling behind.  For a complete list of book reviews, click HERE.  Enjoy!

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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