I rented a copy of Damned by Chuck Palahniuk from the local library and listened to the book in my car through the Overdrive app. I found a beautiful contradiction between the fall foliage visible on the New York Throughway and Palahniuk’s disgusting and hilarious descriptions of Hell.
I feel the need to state that I was biased to like this book because Fight Club really catalyzed a paradigm
shift for me as I began the transition into adulthood. It would have been tough
for me to end out disliking this book on his merit, but it stood on its own and
won my fan-hood fair and square.
Damned is the tale of Madison, judgmental, self-deprecating, child of privilege who died and winds up in Hell. I felt immediately hesitant because I don’t get into stories with pessimistic characters. I find myself carrying their baggage back into reality. However, early in she falls into a clique that intentionally Mirrors the five kid dynamic of The Breakfast Club, an incredible coming of age film from the 80s. The interpersonal connections were intriguing and lured me ever onward. Madison also describes the indignity of the experience and some little sadistic part of me wanted to watch her suffer.
I perceived that Madison’s struggle throughout the novel is
to “lose hope” as a part of coming to grips with the events of her life and her
future in the afterlife.
His descriptions of Hell and the forms of torture awaiting the unsaved had be laughing out loud, and I don’t mean texting “lol” while driving the throughway. As I have often suspected it might be, Plahniuk’s Hell has a few horrors of the mundane living world. I’ve even spent a couple months at a desk performing one of Hell’s jobs. There was a satisfying amount of research and fact dropping regarding Hell’s hierarchy and while not necessary, I was thankful I once read Dante’s Inferno, if only to enjoy several references.
I had an incredible journey in the mind of a thirteen year old girl. There is one scene that threw me straight back to 1993 when I was on a bus coming home from grade school, debating reproduction with our ignorant prepubescents. I felt like he’d created a mental time machine just for me!
I made a few guesses based on well played foreshadowing, some panned out, others went right over my head until I just shook my head and gave Palahniuk a silent nod and a grin. His ends wraps up Maddie’s journey of self-discovery and opens up what I hope is covered in Doomed. I’m looking forward to the next installment.