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Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

Damned (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Chuck Palahniuk

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7864011,712 (3.17)14
Authors:Chuck Palahniuk
Info:Vintage (2012), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:read in 2012, humour, fantasy

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Damned by Chuck Palahniuk (2011)




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Although this still hasn't topped my first Palahniuk - Rant - I definitely felt a sense of the familiar madness descending as I plunged headfirst into this novel. Basically, Damned is the testimony of a thirteen year-old dead girl called Madison, who wakes up in a cell in Hell and proceeds to take Hades by storm, befriending a demon (and a bunch of other teenage inmates), defeating Hitler, finding she has a knack for telemarketing (one of the two career options in Hell - the other being dodgy porn webcam sites) and generally becoming a bit of a celebrity in the Underworld. Meanwhile, we slowly piece together bits of her life and death, while Madison hunts for Satan to try to find out exactly why and how she ended up here. It's all very bizarre, a bit gross, vaguely jumbled and occasionally shocking - and I raced through it, as usual. Very tentatively recommended - Palahniuk is definitely not for everyone! ( )
  elliepotten | Oct 24, 2014 |
While this book did include some interesting and funny takes on subject matter such as death and religion I found a lot of it childish and while Palahniuk can usually pull off vulgarity as a key part of a story a lot of the gross and absurd scenes seemed completely unnecessary in this novel. ( )
  morgantaylor | Oct 10, 2014 |
Palahniuk played with fantasy and I loved it. This isn't my favorite but I bow down to him for his excellent imagination (which has made him one of my favorite Authors). He has again produced something entirely unique with a writing style still jam packed with useless information. Bravo Chuck, Bravo. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
An insult to the intelligence and taste of even the least discerning reader. This bestseller is proof that: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." - H. L. Mencken. How demoralizing.

A low class, dismal and ugly assault of a book. Not funny, not clever, just vacuous sophomoric drivel. Won't bother with anything else by this author. The first book that ever made me think it was a shame LibraryThing doesn't allow for negative star ratings. I would not recommend this book to anyone. Definitely not for kids.

In his adolescent protagonist's terms - Palahniuk is gross, creepy old man Pervy McPervoson. Spare yourself from Chuck's criminally sick fantasies and ramblings, toss this book in the trashbin. The only book that reduced me to praying for amnesia so I could forget it.

To end on a positive note: The author & publisher set the bar for book publishing to the lowest I've ever seen. So hopeful hack writers, take heart! By doing so, Anchor has pretty much declared they'll publish any dreck that comes there way. Go for it. This toon sums it up for me: https://www.librarything.com/pic/4466206

If anyone is actually interested in reading a truly excellent book on a similar topic try Repossessed by A. M. Jenkins. If the author/publisher had better marketing skills and if the reading public had any taste this one should be the bestseller. A great read for all age groups. ( )
  PitcherBooks | Jul 17, 2014 |
“No, it’s not fair, but what makes earth feel like Hell is our expectation that it should feel like Heaven. Earth is earth. Dead is dead. You’ll find out for yourself soon enough. It won’t help the situation for you to get all upset.” - Madison Spencer

This is a 2.8 review.

Chuck Palahniuk's Damned is about 13 year old Madison Spencer. She's the product of secular Buddhists celebrity parents who adopt random children from third world countries. Madison's smart for her age. She's also dead and Hell's newest citizen. Madison finds herself a bevvy of "friends" while reminiscing about her old life. She's a recovering "hopeaholic."

However, she decides to stop being a nice girl and start asserting herself. She gains the upper hand on all of Humanity's undesirables including Hitler and Caligula. Her world is upended by the fact that her admittance may have been a clerical error and that The Power That Is might be the one pulling her strings. So what's Madison to do?

Palahniuk's writing reminds me of Diablo Cody's screenwriting: it's a little too hype, if that makes any sense. It was also a little too vulgar for my taste. I mean, he did use wonderfully descrpitive adjectives and I am a little prudish but still, too much for me.

I don't think I ever read such a narrative that was polarizing from chapter to chapter. One chapter, I would be totally disgusted with everybody's behavior and the gross descriptions of the equally gross landscape of hell but by the next chapter? I would think it was endearing. Case in point: Madison accidentally contacting her parents and her letting them know everything they believed spiritually is true.

I have such a love-hate relationship with Damned. I liked the concept. I like the twists. I liked the mythology although the infractions that guaranteed a character's damnation was a bit juvenile. However, it still didn't sit right with me. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
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Are you there, Satan? It's me, Madison.
Trust me, the being-dead part is much easier than the dying part. If you can watch much television, then being dead will be a cinch. Actually, watching television and surfing the Internet are really excellent practice for being dead.
No, it's not fair, but what makes earth feel like Hell is our expectation that it should feel like Heaven. Earth is earth. Dead is dead. You'll find out for yourself soon enough. It won't help the situation for you to get all upset.
Probably I woke up because someone was screaming in Hell, someone is always screaming. Anyone who's ever flown London to Sydney, seated next to or anywhere in the proximity of a fussy baby, you'll no doubt fall right into the swing of things in Hell. What with the strangers and crowding and seemingly endless hours of waiting for nothing to happen, for you Hell will feel like one long, nostalgic hit of deja vu. Especially if your in-flight movie was The English Patient. In Hell, whenever the demons announce they're going to treat everyone to a big-name Hollywood movie, don't get too excited because it's always The English Patient or, unfortunately, The Piano.
Another detail to remember about Hell ... whenever you ask why anyone is damned for all eternity, she'll tell you "jaywalking" or "carrying a black purse with brown shoes" or some such pretty nonsense. In Hell you'd be foolish to count on people displaying high standards of honesty. The same goes for earth.
Don't get me wrong. Hell isn't so dreadful, not compared to Ecology Camp, and especially not compared to junior high school. Call me jaded, but not much compares to having your legs waxed or getting your navel piercing done at a mall kiosk.
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As thirteen-year-old Madison tries to figure out how she died and ended up in Hell, she learns how to manipulate the corrupt system of demons and bodily fluids.

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