Review: Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk

Beautiful YouFrom the author of Fight Club, the classic portrait of the damaged contemporary male psyche, now comes this novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of female pleasure. Sisters will be doing it for themselves. And doing it. And doing it. And doing it some more…

Penny Harrigan is a low level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, aka ‘Climax-Well’, a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan’s most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed of heights of orgasmic pleasure for days on end. What’s not to like?

This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of sex toys to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called ‘Beautiful You’. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell’s plan for erotically enabled world domination must be stopped. But how?

Review

It has been years since I’ve read a Palahniuk novel. The last one was Haunted, which I loved. It was appropriately disgusting, shocking, and riveting. So much time has passed, it was a worry of mine that anything else I’d read of Palahniuk’s work would disappoint. I’m glad to say this is definitely not the case now I’ve read Beautiful You.

Beautiful You may not be disgusting in the same way as Haunted was, but is appropriately shocking and riveting. The power of the female orgasm used as a device to create a dystopian society is something I find both amusing and clever.

On the one hand you could be highly offended by a story depicting women completely controlled by pleasure. It reduces the female population to easily manipulated, shallow beings, and once again inferior to man. Except, one could argue this is how media portrays and differentiates man from woman. In Beautiful You it’s only to an extreme.

The story beginning with Penny being raped in a court room amidst a large crowd, is something I found daunting. I don’t find pleasure in reading about rape, regardless of whether it’s in fiction, or not. I did hesitate knowing Beautiful You was beginning with that scene.

Thankfully the great writing quickly overcame my hesitation. I couldn’t put Beautiful You down. Between all the erotic descriptions, the ludicrous reactions, and the depictions of addicted masses, the character development of Penny was very engaging. She’s a delightful character and Maxwell is an equally delightful villain. I did find parts of the story repetitive though, but luckily it wasn’t too much of a hindrance to my attention.

There are so many things I love about this story. I just want to read it again. It not only entertained, but it catered to my dark sense of humour. I’ll definitely be reading more Palahniuk novels and preferably in the not too distant future.

Review: Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

Bathing the LionIn Jonathan Carroll’s surreal masterpiece, Bathing the Lion, five people who live in the same New England town go to sleep one night and all share the same hyper-realistic dream. Some of these people know each other; some don’t.

When they wake the next day all of them know what has happened. All five were at one time “mechanics,” a kind of cosmic repairman whose job is to keep order in the universe and clean up the messes made both by sentient beings and the utterly fearsome yet inevitable Chaos that periodically rolls through, wreaking mayhem wherever it touches down—a kind of infinitely powerful, merciless tornado. Because the job of a mechanic is grueling and exhausting, after a certain period all of them are retired and sent to different parts of the cosmos to live out their days as “civilians.” Their memories are wiped clean and new identities are created for them that fit the places they go to live out their natural lives to the end.

For the first time all retired mechanics are being brought back to duty: Chaos has a new plan, and it’s not looking good for mankind…

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BA Features Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

Welcome to BA’s Book Features showcasing a small collection of books to be released this week, or showcasing a special feature as part of a blog tour and promotion event. If you’d like to have your book featured on Bookish Ardour please send an enquiry.

Author Jonathan Carroll and his novel Bathing the Lion

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BA Features City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Welcome to BA’s Book Features showcasing a small collection of books to be released this week, or showcasing a special feature as part of a blog tour and promotion event. If you’d like to have your book featured on Bookish Ardour please send an enquiry.

Author Robert Jackson Bennett and his novel City of Stairs

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BA Features Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Welcome to BA’s Book Features showcasing a small collection of books to be released this week, or showcasing a special feature as part of a blog tour and promotion event. If you’d like to have your book featured on Bookish Ardour please send an enquiry.

Authors Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki and their novel Branded

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Review: Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Day 21No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.

It’s been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They’re the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries…or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.
In this pulse-pounding sequel to Kass Morgan’s The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. And the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can — together. Continue reading

Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

The 100No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves — but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.

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