Book Review: Invisible Monsters

Anyone who read any of the notorious Chuck Palahniuk‘s novels (he’s the author of Fight Club) should know what he got himself into. The characters are usually people who have been marginalized in one form or another by society, and who react with often self-destructive aggressiveness. The narrator usually is the character himself, beginning at the temporal end, where he or she recounts the events that led up to the point at which the book begins. Then, There is often a major plot twist that is revealed near the end of the book, which relates in some way to this temporal end (i.e. the hidden gun). The formula can be described as refreshing and original, but sometimes, if the formula is great but the story is not, the book might not be as appealing as the writer intended to be. However, even though this is not exactly the case with Invisible Monsters, it did suffer from similar relapses.

The book recalls the misadventures of a beautiful fashion model that had everything: a boyfriend, a career, and a loyal best friend. Unfortunately she got into a horrific traffic accident (or was it an accident?) leaving her disfigured and incapable of speech, and suddenly she goes from being the center of attention to an invisible monster that no one wants to see. Enter Brandy Alexander, the queen supreme, that teaches our jawless hero how to reinvent herself, erase her past, and make something up instead. The fashion model then decides to reciprocate from that by kidnapping her boyfriend and setting her best friend’s house on fire, along with many events that are bound to shock you twice or thrice.

Granted, this book is not for everyone. However, it does contain a crude black humor that ranges from drag queens to overt sensationalism and searches for identity. Since the plot is so out there, it makes sense that the themes are also out there, in terms of characters and the writing style. The latter however might be a little bit confusing for those who aren’t familiar with Palahniuk’s work, but gives it a decent 30 – 50 pages and the manner will gradual grow on you. There are moment that can be described as humorously funny and others that don’t make any sense whatsoever. The plot twists start a little cheap at first, but then, they take a major loop toward the end and become much better in terms of execution. I cannot help but to feel sympathetic for the major character, but I honestly didn’t care for the rest (except for Brandy Alexander). If you think you can cope with the mystifying writing style and the off the wall script, you will definitely cherish the time you dedicated to this novel, but if you want simpler stories, then you probably should steer clear from this one.


3 responses to this post.

  1. This type of book just doesn’t appeal to my taste, thanks for the review! 🙂


  2. Posted by Sushi on July 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I might give it a shot although I’m taking a break from anything too bloody or gory.


  3. Posted by Hussain on July 16, 2008 at 6:05 am

    I finished reading Snuff a short while back and was sort of disappointed. I’m taking a break from Palahniuk for now. He’s sort of becoming predictable to me, which sucks.
    Ah, how I miss being psyched over the early works!


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