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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Palanhiuk's Best
I just finished "Diary" today, and I must say that I really enjoyed it. This is perhaps his best work since Invisible Monsters. I was a bit skeptical at first, after being dissapointed with Lullaby. This book is a bit different, but in many ways it is still trademark Chuck.
The story starts off being a dark comedy, with tragic reflections on...
Published on May 6 2004 by Brandon L. Rush

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where do you get inspiration?
"I loved you a lot more when you were dead." This is what a mother tells her daughter in Diary. It is completely in keeping with Mr. Palahniuk's tone which is dark, with occasional flurries of pessimism.
Diary continues in the tradition of Lullaby - novels that are surreal and could be shelved in the "horror" section. An important bit of information to know is...
Published on Sept. 17 2003 by JR Pinto


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Palanhiuk's Best, May 6 2004
By 
Brandon L. Rush "Brandon R." (Cuba, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Hardcover)
I just finished "Diary" today, and I must say that I really enjoyed it. This is perhaps his best work since Invisible Monsters. I was a bit skeptical at first, after being dissapointed with Lullaby. This book is a bit different, but in many ways it is still trademark Chuck.
The story starts off being a dark comedy, with tragic reflections on inspiration, art and hope dried up. Art is the focus of the main character, and clearly, Chuck has done his homework. As an artist, I found Chuck's statements about art to be laugh out loud funny, insightful, cynical, and well...downright realistic. There are few likeable characters in this book, aside from the main character (who is only likeable in that readers will feel sorry for her and be rooting for her to overcome circumstances), who is the "author" of the diary. As you dig deeper into Diary, you will find that these unlikeable characters are downright evil, as the story cascades into a bizarre, twisted, and frightening close.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where do you get inspiration?, Sept. 17 2003
By 
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Hardcover)
"I loved you a lot more when you were dead." This is what a mother tells her daughter in Diary. It is completely in keeping with Mr. Palahniuk's tone which is dark, with occasional flurries of pessimism.
Diary continues in the tradition of Lullaby - novels that are surreal and could be shelved in the "horror" section. An important bit of information to know is that the format of this book is a "coma diary" written by a woman to her husband. It is NOT a book written in the second-person, despite the liberal use of the word "you."
The book starts like all of Mr. Palahniuk's books do, with plenty of interesting trivia. In this case it's about art history, human anatomy, and graphology. I won't go into to the plot of the novel - which is impossible to describe - but it fits into the category of "one sane person in a town full of crazies."
The best part about reading a Palahniuk novel isn't the story, but all the interesting asides and digressions along the way. There are plenty of them here to keep the reader interested. (BTW, look underneath the dust cover).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can You Feel This?, Aug. 31 2003
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Hardcover)
Grace says, "We all die." She says, "The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."
From my personal favorate writer and my own personal savior, Chuck Palahniuk, comes his sixth novel. Although I wouldn't consider this his finest by a mile, it's still a very well-crafted and intriguing book. The plot follows a middle-aged woman who after the failed suicide attempt and coma of her husband, must work tables to support her daughter and mother-in-law. Strangely enough she keeps getting calls from people whose vacation homes have been altered by her husband. These home are missing rooms, blocked off, hidden. When she goes to investigate, these rooms are filled with startling messages from her husband. The island she so peacefully lives on also starts to change and her mother-in-law and daughter both seem to be acting very suspicious.
The novel is written in a very unique way also. It's written in the form of a coma diary. A diary from the main character to her husband for him to read if he ever comes out of his coma. Like all Palahniuk novels, Diary is written in a very dark mood. I did feel that the novel was a little "lighter" than most his work. Though still very dark. The one thing that attracts me to Palahniuk's work is that he is very insightful on our society. Many times while reading one of his novels including Diary, I find myself reading a phrase again, awed at the substance that I'm taking in.
If your a Palahniuk fan, it's safe to say you won't be disappointed with Diary. It's definately a different approach by him, but still very much his style. I felt it seemed somewhat slow in the beginning of the book through the first several chapters, this is just to build-up the plot though. Once the build-up is past, the rest of the novel speeds by. Once I pick up a Palahniuk novel I find myself unable to let it down. Which is why I read them so fast. To anyone new to Palahniuk I would probably recommend reading one of his earlier novels first like "Choke" or "Invisible Monsters," and of course Palahniuk's immortal "Fight Club." And if you enjoy any of those, it's just a matter of time before you read all of his work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell-all, March 19 2006
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Paperback)
This is my second Chuck Palahniuk book - and it certainly won't be my last. I first read "Survivor" and couldn't stop at just one! Chuck Palahniuk is by far one of the most original and engaging writers I have come across. He'll leave you guessing and wondering until the end; he ensures a good page turner. In addition, he seems extremely intelligent. You can tell he knows what he's talking about in his books. His details are clear and his writing style is unique, but very good. Days after I'm still reciting lines from "Diary" in my head... it gets stuck!
Do yourself a favor and read some Chuck.
Also very highly recommended: KATZENJAMMER by Jackson McCrae and RUNNING WITH SCISSORS by Burroughs.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A New Direction for Palahniuk -- But Still Good:, May 3 2005
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Paperback)
Do you ever get the feeling that you have been in a certain situation before? Have you ever learned something so quickly and easily that it seemed like you were remembering it, not struggling with a new concept?
Welcome to one of the central themes within Chuck Palahniuk's newest novel, Diary. Almost all of us have had these feelings before. There is even a word for the concept, Déjà vu. So the theme, in and of itself, is not original.
What is original is Mr. Palahniuk's take on the idea.
Diary is the story of Misty Willmot. As you might expect, the story is written in the format of Misty's diary. Misty is struggling to support her daughter and mother-in-law as a waitress. Her husband lies in a coma after a nearly successful suicide attempt. And all the formerly rich residents of the island she inhabits won't stop pestering her to resume painting, which she abandoned when she was a young woman.
You might be thinking that this is not a terribly exciting story. And you would be right. However, this is Chuck Palahniuk's writing, so you can rest assured that things won't stay predictable or routine for long.
Along the way, you will learn a lot about famous artists throughout history. You will learn about some of the unfortunate afflictions that can strike coma victims. And you will learn about odd habits of building contractors such as writing on a wall before it is painted. You will see this taken to an extreme, as Misty's husband vandalized rooms in the houses that he was remodeling and sealed the rooms off. And you will learn just what his haunting, insidious graffiti means. Finally you will understand the tremendous feelings of deja vu Misty experiences on Waytansea Island, from the island houses that she painted perfectly years before setting foot on the island, to the all-too-accurate comments written on the page of every book she opens at the library.
The style of this book is clean, concise, and potent. Palahniuk makes the most of every word, reminiscent of a boxer that does not throw a lot of punches, but whose punches are precise. As such, the novel weighs in at just 261 pages, but every last one of those pages is a punch that lands with crushing force.
I find it hard to relate my overall feeling about this novel. I found it to be a very easy read, and finished the book in about six hours. I was riveted the whole time. At the end, after the final piece of the puzzle was revealed, I found my eyes getting watery from the sheer perfection of the completed tale.
I also get the feeling that there are more themes, and levels of understanding, which will reveal themselves after a second or third reading. Thank goodness this book is actually compelling enough to read several times.
Be prepared for plenty of biting social commentary. No Palahniuk book would be complete without this element. However, this book continues the trend which began in Lullaby, with far more subtle ideas interlaced within a fantasy/horror storyline. This appears to be a distinctive second stage in the works of Palahniuk, apparently having moved beyond the transgressive fiction that originally gained fame in such books as Fight Club and Invisible Monsters.
I highly recommend this book. That being said, this is a Chuck Palahniuk book, and is probably not suitable for kids or anyone who wishes to avoid writing that touches upon "unpleasant" subjects. Pick up a copy! And while you're at it, I need to recommend another recent novel I truly loved: The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez -- gritty, lively, funny - a great "used" book purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fulfilling Departure, Feb. 22 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Paperback)
Diary is a departure for Chuck Palahniuk. Best known for his bleak urban dramas, Palahniuk has set out to capture the mindset of a Coma Diary of a woman who's husband lies unresponsive in the hospital after attempting suicide. Similar to how Rikki Lee Travolta set out to capture the mindset of the downfallen Hollywood actor addict in My Fractured Life, Palahniuk really delves into giving the reader the full experience of seeing the world through the eyes of Misty Tracy Wilmont. The picture is sometimes bizarre, as anyone who read Palahniuk's Fight Club would not be surprised by. It is definitely a good book, but you need to go into it with an open mind. Those looking for a recreation of Palahniuk's previous work (Fight Club, Choke, Lullaby) will be taken off guard by the new surroundings he has chosen for this story and may be better served with trying on The 25th Hour by David Benioff, American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis, or My Fractured Life by Rikki Lee Travolta. But for those who can trust Palahniuk to introduce new territory, Diary will surely fulfill.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work, July 14 2004
By 
Jason Nelson "musshin" (Kansas City, MO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Hardcover)
First off, I consider myself a Chuck Palahniuk fan and have read all of his previous novels. Therefore, I was rather excited to start reading this one. However, once I got into the book a bit that quickly changed. The plot basically centers around an island conspiracy to save a rich-but-soon-to-be-poor island by finding and procuring a tortured artist. The artist will evidently be the savior but these twilight-zone like episodes will be repeated over and over with new reincarnations of this tortured artist character. Sound confusing? Anyway, in his other books I always found Palahniuk's best trait to be his lively and entertaining (if not eccentric) characters. In this book we basically have a vegetable-of-a-man who tried to kill himself, the tortured artist Misty, Misty's daughter Tabbi, and a few other minor island characters. In other words, who cares? These characters are extremely dry and boring. The book itself doesn't contain the bits of Palahniuk wisdom that you'll find sprinkled throughout works like Fight Club and it is a chore to complete. I had a very difficult time motivating myself to plow through it. The book does contain some similarities to other Palahniuk books as far as writing style but it appears his ghost showed up to complete it. I still consider Palahniuk a good and talented writer and hopefully he will rebound to his true form in the future. Let's keep our fingers crossed!
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4.0 out of 5 stars 1st Chuck Book - Very Good, July 13 2004
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Hardcover)
No doubt, much like many people here, I loved Fight Club (the movie) and at some point noticed it was also book (a short one at that). I checked Fight Club out of the library and, for no particular reason, Diary as well. I swear I did not read a darn thing about the book before I started reading, I didn't check out Amazon and I didn't read the inside covers, I just read. I was enthralled and drawn in to a very interesting style of writing and it wasn't till about page 40 or so that I actually figured out what the heck the book was about. This is a good thing. Too often with books and movies there are too many expectations and prior knowledge that doesn't allow the writer (or director) to take you on the journey the way he intended.
Anyway, it was a very good book but not great. If you're already reading a review i'll tell you, the ending was a little disappointing, so allow for it, it is the reason i'm giving 4 instead of 5 stars. I don't know this man's writing so I don't have overly-heightened expecations, but it's a quick, interesting read.
As a side note that has nothing to do with this book: I read and obviously write some of these reviews on Amazon, but I encourage everyone to just pick up a book they know nothing about and just dive in, more often than not you'll be excited and interested by what you did not expect. Amazon is not an alternative to your local library, it is extension to furthering your joy of reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dear Diary, May 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Hardcover)
Like all of Chuck Palahniuk's works, Diary is funny, sad, disturbing, irreverant, dry, and above all, well written.
Misty Tracy Wilmont is the keeper of the diary, all the time her husband lying in a hospital room after an attempted suicide. As with other Palahniuk plots, this one is far too complicated to go into, but suffice it to say that myriad things come to light during Peter's (the husband) hospital stay. Seems he has (had) a penchant for scribbling things on the wall of houses that were being built, and the town is none too happy. Just one example for those who need to know.
The biggest difference in this and every other novel the author has written, is the setting--a resort town. His usual haunts are downtrodden suburbia or a ruined inner city, not some tourist-haunted island. But then, leave it to Palahniuk to find the darkness and the light in just about every situation. Once again, a stellar performance from the master.
Also recommended: McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD
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4.0 out of 5 stars He improves, April 11 2004
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This review is from: Diary: A Novel (Hardcover)
I grudgingly admit that Palahniuk is one of our best living authors. Grudgingly, because I think his cult status allows him to get away with too much sometimes, resorting to cheap cleverness in his style, blasting his message without caring who's listening...when I heard him read from Diary (which was a definite experience), he mentioned a desire to be more subtle and to stop 'preaching to the choir' so much, which I applaud, and which I think has been succesful. With 'Choke,' he told a surprisingly down-to-earth and excellent story, but followed with the unfortunate, completley over-the-top Lullaby, and now comes Diary, which is back in the same groove as Choke. The protagonist and other characters seem much more human, and the setting much more real (probably because, for the first time, he pays considerable attention to setting). His trademark style - repetition, fragmentation, the occasional fine-tuned sentence - works to better effect than ever, and when the plot finally begins to swell to more grandiose proportions near the end, it actually seems interesting instead of just, 'oh, there he goes again.'
There are moments, though, which still seem indulgent. For instance a certain character's sideline in the porcelain business: this grandmother labors to find rare, outdated patterns for her customers, and at one point ponders: "Why is it that people only want a pattern after it's been discontinued?" This kind of blunt social commentary can't really be seen as anything else.
In the end, I think he still has some ways to go, but Diary is promising, not to mention a good book on its own terms. It's not as funny as Fight Club or Survivor, but I like to think that with books like this, Palahniuk's cult status will endure past this century.
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Diary: A Novel
Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Paperback - Sept. 14 2004)
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