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Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk


by Chuck Palahniuk

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An absolutely interesting medium to write in. Decidedly different as Palahniuk always is, but without the constant crazy twists and extreme insanity. Still, the ending I will not give away, but classically Chuck. Worth the read for any Palahniuk fan or a fan of old Hollywood. ( )
  mashiaraqcs | Mar 29, 2016 |
My least favorite of the Palahniuk books I have read -- though Pygmy may be equally unfavorable. And I usually really like his books. This one read really fast though. ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
This is Chuck Palahnuik's tribute to Hollywood. A big aging Hollywood star, female, attracts an admirer who wants to tell her life story and scandalize her after her death. She with her friend, secretary, guardian angel thwart this plan. But there is a twist in the end.

There is a lot of name dropping in this book which I don't relate to hence I did not like it and also it becomes quite repetitive. ( )
  mausergem | Feb 6, 2013 |
I think I may have finally hit the wall with Chuck Palahniuk. Many before me have argued that his works have been decreasing in quality since Fight Club, but I've enjoyed his quirkiness and found things to like in even his lesser works. (Rant, specifically, I thought was underrated.) But with Tell-All, he has finally crossed the line, delivering a work that feels rushed and almost lazy, laden down with style in lieu of substance, and committing the unforgivable sin that he teased at in Snuff but has finally pulled off here: complete predictability.

I normally reserve the second paragraph of my reviews for a plot description, but I'll forgo it here because the blurb is actually my first gripe about the book. On the paperback edition I purchased, the description on the back, which is no more than 4 or 5 sentences, gives a pretty cursory summary of what to expect. However, as I read on, the slim volume moving at a painfully plodding pace, I realized that much of the exposition--which is obviously taken for granted since it's part of the blurb--is completely given away on the back cover! I'm not exaggerating when I say that one particular sentence doesn't take place until about 20 pages from the end. At that point, why blurb anything?

What this ultimately reveals is a plot that's as thin as the paper each individual page is printed on. And in a move that has seemingly become Palahniuk's trademark, he has replaced carefully considered events and consequences with an annoying stylistic tic--in this case, putting all celebrities and brand names in boldface. It's exactly as distracting as you'd expect it to be (not unlike the broken "Engrish" of Pygmy), and crosses the line into being truly maddening once you realize that (a) it doesn't serve much of a thematic purpose, and (b) it does absolutely nothing to advance the story. To me, Palahniuk has become shockingly lazy, picking easy targets (Hollywood) and saying very little that's original, all while maintaining the guise that his barbs are vicious and cutting and fresh. His bark here, sadly, is far worse than his bite.

My experience reading Tell-All, though, can be summed up in one phrase: re-hide the gun. In many of Palahniuk's essays and classes on writing, he preaches about "hiding the gun," sneaking a subtle reference early in the story that doesn't pay off until later. Within the first 20 pages of Tell-All, I suspected I'd found the gun. And as the story progressed, I became increasingly convinced that I knew what was going to transpire in the end. I hoped I was wrong, that he was deceptively misleading me and had an even crazier twist planned. But no. In the end, he did exactly what I expected from nearly the start. And that's the saddest part of Tell-All: you wait and wait and wait, and hope you'll see vintage Palahniuk, the stuff you know he's capable of. But the result is awfully bitter, and probably should have been kept in the bottle--or, better yet, thrown away entirely.
  dczapka | Jan 30, 2012 |
As someone who reads and enjoys everything Palahniuk touches, this book is definitely one of his weakest. With only one of his recurring motifs barely enjoyable, the rest of the book is a long, grinding repetition of some very dull and lame ideas and themes. Even the best batters have to strike out from time to time, and with Palahniuk's recent pace and production, it's maybe a miracle that it wasn't worse. At least it's short and ends quickly. Considering the sotry is devoted to the Golden Age of Hollywood, perhaps readers with interest in cinematic history could enjoy it more. ( )
  mikemillertime | Dec 29, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
The curse of celebrity, hardly a unique theme, has always provided a rich vein for satire. There are mild hints through the pages at what Tell-All could have been, an exposé of starwatchers who crave depictions of the sordid lives of celebrities, seeking "comfort and licence in their own tawdry, disordered lives."

But the results are a misshapen mess of half-baked parody and puddle-shallow inspiration.
I am Chuck Palahniuk's new novel, and you bought me without even reading the synopsis on the dust jacket. I am exactly like Chuck Palahniuk's other novels—short, punchy sentences; grotesque trivia; poetry-slam-style repetition throughout. I am also peppered with difficult emotional truths, because market testing has proved that my audience demographic enjoys those. Here's one: Every Chuck Palahniuk novel is just like any other Chuck Palahniuk novel, except for each new one is slightly worse than the last. I am the worst one yet. But I will not be his worst novel for very long. He keeps churning us out every year, so next year's book, which will be worse than me, is probably nearing completion.
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Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy kills girl?
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Act one, scene one opens with Lillian Hellman clawing her way, stumbling and scrambling, through the thorny night-time underbrush of some German schwarzwald, a Jewish baby clamped to each of her tits, another brood of infants clinging to her back.
Every word he’s written about me is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”
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Hazie Coogan, who for decades has tended to the outsized needs of veteran actress Katherine "Miss Kathie" Kenton, discovers that bounder Webster Carlton Westward III has written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie's death in a forthcoming Lillian Hellman-penned musical extravaganza. As the body count mounts, Hazie must execute a plan to save Katherine Kenton for her fans--and for posterity.… (more)

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