Friday, 30 December 2011

"Damned" by Chuck Palahniuk

Year of Publication:  2011
Number of Pages:  247 pages
Genre:  Comedy, horror

This is the story of thirteen year old Madison Spencer, the daughter of a world famous movie star and a billionaire, who dies and finds herself condemned to Hell, a place where  the newly dead are locked into filthy cages, there are mountians of toenail clippings and used razor blades, along with lakes consisting of insects and seas of various bodily fluids.  Grotesque demons munch on damned souls, the only currency is candy and the only jobs are internet porn or telemarketing.  Also the only entertainment on offer are endless showings of The English Patient.  However, Madison is not sure why she is there and so she, along with some new friends that she meets along the way, travels towards the centre of Hell in order to find her answers.

This book basically mixes the Dante Alighieri's Inferno with The Breakfast Club and Judy Blume novels.  It's told in the first person by Madison and moves between her adventures in Hell with her life on Earth.  Frequently very funny, it is highly readable and very imaginative.  It might not rank as one of the best of Palahniuk's works, but it is entertaining, and his familiar style is very much in evidence.  The book pokes fun at the lifestyles of the super rich and famous, as well as teenage fiction and Hell itself.  The lead character of Madison Spencer is engaging and likeable, even if few of the secondary characters really register.  Even if you are not a Palahniuk fan, this is enjoyable enough to make it worth checking out.   

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