"Invisible Monsters" by Chuck Palahniuk

As promised, here are my thoughts on Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahnuik.  I know I piqued some interest with my teaser earlier this morning…  and before some people get too excited – no, this is novel has nothing to do with anything paranormal (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  No, this novel has everything to do with some crazy addictions, bizarre family issues, sexual orientation and gender issues, and the insane societal value on beauty.  I’m having trouble describing this novel at a surface level, without giving too much away, so I will instead provide you with the Publisher’s Notes, from their website:

She’s a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway “accident” leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you’ll ever want to look.

In this hilarious and daringly unpredictable novel the narrator must exact revenge upon Evie, her best friend and fellow model; kidnap Manus, her two-timing ex-boyfriend; and hit the road with Brandy in search of a brand-new past, present, and future. Changing names and stories in every city, they catapult toward a final confrontation with a rifle-toting Evie — by which time we will have learned that loving and being loved are not mutually exclusive, and that nothing, on the surface, is ever quite what it seems.

This is the first novel by Palahniuk that I have read, only ever known that he was responsible for Fight Club.  I picked this novel up having absolutely no idea what to expect.  As the story progressed, I started to feel a little dizzy, and by the end – my head was full out spinning.  I could see one twist to the story coming…  and then there were at least three more that blew me into left field.  I didn’t even know to be looking at that point/idea/character and think that there could be a twist there.  Absolutely nothing is what it seems…  and you just can’t take anything for granted.  This book is nothing short of a wild ride, and I loved every minute of it.  I’m sorry for being so intentionally vague on the details, but with a book like this – I think knowing less before you start is truly for the best.  

It appears on IMDB.com, that a movie based on this book is technically “in production”, but that it has been for some time now.  So, I’m not holding my breath at this point, but I have to admit – I’d be very interested to see this on the big screen.  Also, if you are interested, here is the author’s website – complete with all the covers available for this book (and they are all quite interesting – my copy was ‘US Trade 1)  But be forewarned – he gives away more of the story on his site than I did!

As a further side note, I am counting this book toward my “Fall Into Reading 2010” Challenge as my Reader’s Choice.  

Invisible Monsters
by Chuck Palahniuk
W.W. Norton & Company, 1999
297 pages
ISBN: 0-393-31929-6

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