“Beautiful You” Review

I hate that I am giving 2 stars to a Chuck Palahniuk book. I have read ten of his novels and several of his short stories. I’m even one of the backers on the upcoming movie adaption of “Lullaby” – that’s how much of a fan I am. I love his humor and his imagination. I love his fearlessness in writing what he wants to write and saying it the way he wants to say it, regardless of who he might offend. He is not for the faint of heart, and I generally feel you either love him or hate him. And I do love him. But I did not love this book. I might have loved it, had it been a short story or even a novella. It’s not that the idea of the book was bad. It was imaginative and funny and unique. It was bold and daring and shocking. All the qualities you look for in a Palahniuk book. But this 220-page book dragged on and on. I couldn’t wait to be done with it. It truly saddens me to say that, but the fact is, I wouldn’t have given this book the time needed to finish it at all if it were written by someone else. That’s how much I love Chuck.

I often judge a book by how many lines I’ve highlighted or copied into a notebook. These are the lines that are so well written I want to be able to quickly revisit them. Lines that make me think. Lines that are beautifully crafted and force you to go deeper into the larger meaning of the story. I got none of these lines in this book.

Like I said, I may have loved it if it hadn’t been dragged out so much, if it had been edited to a much shorter length. It might have carried some power then, if the shock value hadn’t gotten old less than half way through. As it is, this is not a book I would recommend, even to a Palahniuk fan like myself. Sorry, Chuck, but you really can do better.

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