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4.1 out of 5 stars
Invisible Monsters
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2004
I read this book while driving and crashed into a fountain (one of the ones of an Angel pissing). You'd think I'd have had enough of it by then but no, I hadn't. It's that good. I read it three times in the hospital and once more in the waiting room at physical therapy (this I had to do collectively over a period of visits). If you like weird stuff and surprises, don't have that midget spring naked and ablaze from your closet when you get home from work. Read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2009
As the title says, this novel is pretty consistent with a lot of Palahniuk's work (of which I've read most). A really absurd story with unique characters, and surprising twists. I wouldn't say it's one of his best though.

My main qualm with the book is that it is written in first person from a female perspective, and in my opinion, it was not convincing at all that this person was a woman. I felt like the character thought much like ones in his other books (which are men) - and that the things she would think about and conclusions she reached didn't mesh with how a woman thinks (I'm a woman!).
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on January 23, 2007
The writing style is unlike any I have ever read; brutally honest, slightly surreal, and hilarious all at the same time. The closest you'll come is probably "Katzenjammer" by McCrae or some of Bukowski's works ("Post Office"). Still nothing compares to MONSTERS. You don't know whether to laugh or cry or be horrified, but you do know you want to find out what happens next. I had no trouble at all with the inconsecutive style; it keeps you on your toes and forces you to piece together a very bizarre puzzle. Is it weird? Yes. Is it gruesome at times? Yes. Does it push your sensitivities to the limit? Yes. And isn't that what we want in a book? I know I do. A novel about a model who agonizes and depresses over a drive-by hitting her, shattering her jawbone and disabling her speech and career. She loses all hope and travels down the wrong path of life for the next year. The story is about that year, with her fiance leaving and sleeping with her best friend, to her parents freakingly denying her brothers death years ago, dead of aids. She tumbles and twists to tell you this tale and the classic voice of Chuck Palahniuk screams through, unraveling the creativeness he always has been good at. Read this novel. Would also recommend the novels "Lullaby" and "Katzejammer: Soon to be a major motion picture." While excellent though, nothing compares to Mr. P's works. Check them out first.
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on June 8, 2004
When reading this novel you have to keep in mind that a book being 'good' and a book being 'entertaining' are two entirely different things. Take for example Proust, no doubt good literature, but it will bore you to death(me at least). Invisible Monsters brings about nothing that hasn't been covered in Palahniuk's other literature, basicly being anti-everything as per Palahniuk's other books. And although the things are not what they appear, role reversal game gets a bit tired by the end, this is no less a very entertaining book. I can say that I've enjoyed it only slightly less than Lullaby. One of may favorite aspects of this,all of Palahniuk for that matter, is that he keeps his books short and active, along with his quirky modern-Vonnegut-esque writing style it allows him to both keep a reader interested and thinking. Finnaly some may say that his aforementioned odd style makes his books confusing, although this may be the case I find that a dry book will lose me far more easliy, and dry this certainly isn't.
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on May 14, 2004
Invisible Monsters was a very interesting book in its manner of narrative. There is very little actually story progression; instead, Palahniuk uses a very non-linear, random method of releasing certain facts at opportune times to let the reader know what's going on. Thus the reader is surprised multiple times, leading them through a story that slowly evolves into a lot more than just a tale of lost vanity. This is a tale of sexual identity, vanity, jealousy, and truth. Everything about it is weird and yet everything is original and smartly produced.
In this it is very similar to all his other books. He displays a complete disregard for the standards of human sensibility and this makes his novels great. Combine this with his sprawling talent for quick, attack-like sentences and you have a great novel.
My only really problems with this novel were the manner in which he releases information throughout the novel. In the manner of his previous novels, it feels as if you are learning the information along with the characters. It's all really surprising and quite jolting when read. In the case of Invisible Monsters, all the realizations, while quite clever and very surprising are too convenient. The manner of narrative is such that the way he presents his revelations is too contrived. You can see the author behind the words, and that's always distracting to the grand narrative of any novel.
It all boils down in the end to whether Palahniuk is your cup of tea or not though. If you're into his type of story, all of his books are genius and I wouldn't only recommend this one but everything else he's written, but if you've got a weak stomach or simply dislike reading about human beings being horrible and wretched to one another, than this is not the book for you, as are any of the rest. (You really should check him out anyways though. He's a great writer.)
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on April 23, 2004
Invisible Monsters is definitely one of the better Palahniuk books I have read so far; Survivor, Fight Club, and Invisible Monsters being one of them. Choke was all right, but it mostly dealt with Victor having sex with his mom's doctor, and not him choking on food except for maybe one time in the book.
Invisible Monsters is about a former model, who's face is destroyed by a car accident, which leaves her face disfigured by the accident. At home, her parents grieve on the death of their only son thanks to burning the garbage when a can of hairspray blows up killing him. Now she meets Eveie; a model also but brings her into going to different cities making up her own history where she goes. So now, at home, Evie is gone to Cancun for a photo shoot, and now she is on the hunt with her trusty shotgun to Cancun to kill her for taking her prisoner at her home. So now as she travels, she makes up history as she goes until she runs into Evie. I am not going to spoil the book, this is one of Palahniuk's best work since Fight Club. Definitely worth checking out. Also there are a couple of original Palahniuk things in here; where her parents give her a female condom for Christmas, and how her mom and dad made a memorial blanket which just makes up laugh. Good novel though.
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on March 8, 2004
Chuck Palahniuk writes quite the interesting novel in "Invisible Monsters". Fair warning - it is not for the faint of heart, or those who cannot tolerate graphic sexual references and lifestyle choices. That said - "Invisible Monsters" was (in different parts of the book) one of the funniest, most disturbing, yet insightful books I have read recently.
So how can a book be all of those things? Well the humor comes primarily from the main character's interaction with her parents. Some of these meetings (particularly the Christmas morning scene) are literally laugh out loud funny.
The disturbing and insightful portions of the story come from the primary part of the plot. The main character and first-person narrator of the story is a model who has been shot in the face, completely severing her jaw and mutilating her beyond people's ability to look her in (what's left of) her face - making her the invisible monster. She joins with other people who similarly have had major changes in their lives and come to the realization that "the past is just a story, and the sooner we learn that, the sooner we can start becoming who we really want to be." This statement alone is basically the overall theme of the book, and it's a powerful statement that could really apply to all of us. Not that we'd want to go through what the characters in the story did, but just that we don't have to let our pasts control out futures.
Add in quite a few surprising revelations about more than a few of the main characters and you have a novel that will, by the end, leave you wondering how so much was packed into such a short novel. In order to get the full gist of it, you may even want to read it again.
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on March 8, 2004
Chuck Palahniuk writes quite the interesting novel in "Invisible Monsters". Fair warning - it is not for the faint of heart, or those who cannot tolerate graphic sexual references and lifestyle choices. That said - "Invisible Monsters" was (in different parts of the book) one of the funniest, most disturbing, yet insightful books I have read recently.
So how can a book be all of those things? Well the humor comes primarily from the main character's interaction with her parents. Some of these meetings (particularly the Christmas morning scene) are literally laugh out loud funny.
The disturbing and insightful portions of the story come from the primary part of the plot. The main character and first-person narrator of the story is a model who has been shot in the face, completely severing her jaw and mutilating her beyond people's ability to look her in (what's left of) her face - making her the invisible monster. She joins with other people who similarly have had major changes in their lives and come to the realization that "the past is just a story, and the sooner we learn that, the sooner we can start becoming who we really want to be." This statement alone is basically the overall theme of the book, and it's a powerful statement that could really apply to all of us. Not that we'd want to go through what the characters in the story did, but just that we don't have to let our pasts control out futures.
Add in quite a few surprising revelations about more than a few of the main characters and you have a novel that will, by the end, leave you wondering how so much was packed into such a short novel. In order to get the full gist of it, you may even want to read it again.
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on March 5, 2004
Invisible Monsters, is by far, one of the greatest books to exist on the surface of this planet. Unfortunately, there is no in between with this book. I have bought this book for everyone who knows how to read and there have been only two reactions. You either hate it or you love it. It really depends on the type of person you are. If you're an intelligent, open-minded person who is looking for a book with depth and layers, then this is the book for you. If you're the type of person that's looking for a simple story that you don't have to think about, try a different book.
Truth is, the first time you read this book, you really need to be paying attention. Nothing in this book is without purpose. Everything is there for a reason. I recommend buying this book, waiting till you have a few hours (however long it takes for you to read about 280 pages) and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Then I suggest you read it again. I've read this book well over twenty times. Everytime I read the book there seems to be a part I don't remember reading the last time. As the book says "No matter how careful you are there's going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didnt experience it all. There's that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should've been paying attention. Well, get used to that feeling. That's how your whole life will feel some day."
The book opens your eyes to a new point of view, to keep you looking forward. As one of the most remarkable characters to hit print says "Tell me your sad-assed story all night. When you understand, that what you're telling is just a story. It isn't happening anymore. When you realize the story you're telling is just words, when you can just crumble it up and throw your past in the trashcan, then we'll figure out who you're going to be."
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on February 22, 2004
Give me a cheap literary trick.
Give me redundancy.
Oh, Chuck, why do you do this to yourself? You find a neat little saying, a nice trick, a clever play of words and then you ram it into the ground until what's left is beyond dead, beyond interesting, beyond taste. Pile on sex, drugs and twists-a-plenty and you have Invisible Monsters.
The story is reasonable, I suppose. Definitely enough there to keep the page turning. A mildly successful model has had half of her face shot off, by her best friend, her ex-fiance, who knows? She has to learn to cope with being horribly ugly, a monster. She meets up with a pre-op trans-sexual and they have adventures together, stealing drugs from people's homes with another friend.
But the twists are ridiculous. We are shown various tid-bits of the mostly nameless narrator's life and every single character brought into the story ends up twisting and turning about until they are all in this tight little web of lies. The problem is that life isn't like that. People can disappear from your life and never, ever show up. They can appear, change your life in a certain way, then disappear, and then resurface years too late. But they don't become ever single focal point of your entire adult life. Everyone you meet is not directly affected by and affecting every other person you meet. Life just doesn't work like that, but in Chuck's world, it does. Which makes for some not very believable writing.
The characters are all one dimensional caricatures. Perhaps that is the point, and I think it is, but it leaves me unsatisfied. I honestly couldn't imagine a single one of these characters living outside the fairly tedious storyline. They couldn't breathe and live on their own, they don't have enough substance.
Unfortunately, in the end, the twists make or break this book. And they aren't even that interesting. Once you see the first one coming - and it isn't too hard to figure out - all you need to do is extrapolate and you have the entire book. Hell, the first chapter is the end sequence, it's like there is a huge, neon sign pointing you where to go and what direction to take, so your mind does, and when you find out that you were right, the disappointment is immense.
Overall, I guess I wasn't happy with this book. It read too much like Choke, another Palahniuk story, and his writing techniques are repetitive and redundant. It was a quick read though, all it took was a Sunday afternoon, and I guess my time was better spent than if I had sat around doing nothing. I guess.
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