Hi friends! I hope you all are having a great week. Wedding planning is in full swing here and because of that I haven’t been able to get out as many reviews as I’ve wanted, which is disappointing because I’ve been reading as much as ever so I’m falling slightly behind again. In the meantime, enjoy this review!
Synopsis & Quick Thoughts
Invisible Monsters is a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, the author known for Fight Club and Haunted. Our protagonist is a fashion model with a perfect life. But when a freeway accident leaves her disfigured and unable to speak, she finds herself pushed to the periphery of the spotlight. She meets Brandy Alexander, a trans woman who begins to teach her about reinventing herself and leaving her past behind. She joins her ex-boyfriend and Brandy on a road trip, taking new names and personas in every city they pass, on a quest for revenge against her best friend Evie in a story of loving yourself, loving others, and learning that things are never as they seem.
I feel the review for this book is going to be pretty short because it practically defies reviewing or description. I liked it, yes, but I feel strange assigning a star rating because it feels wrong to do so. This book is the closest I have come to reading a work of art in the form of prose. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I just stared at the end of the book when I finished and tried to comprehend what exactly I had just read.
This book is poignant. It will stick with you for a long time, I think, regardless of if you enjoyed it or not. I enjoyed the oddity, the hyperbole, and the mystery around the protagonist’s circumstance. It reminded me a lot of the French art film Holy Motors, if you’ve seen it. The plot and characters screamed of depth and were full of the essence of life and extravagance. Most of the time I wasn’t really sure what I was reading. The ending twist of the book was surprising, well-done, and additionally thought-provoking. I really can’t list more positives, but I enjoyed this book for a number of intangible reasons.
This book is strange and probably not for everyone. In fact, I’m not sure who I would recommend it to, although I would say I’d recommend it in general. There wasn’t much of a plot, and it was hard to get a concrete sense of time during the course of the novel (although that was most likely done with intent). This book might have been a little too much and a little too weird for me. Again, I can’t put my finger on the exact reason why. If I had read this book at a different time I could see it putting me into a reading slump afterward because of the melancholy and weight I felt while reading.
Rating & Final Thoughts
In the most impartial and noncommittal way, I give Invisible Monsters 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s as even a rating as I can give to a book that is so strange, yet profound, yet subjective as this one. I’d recommend it if you think the synopsis is interesting but want a more hyperbolic and abstract read than what it seems to suggest What a strange time – that’s all I can really say.
Purchase Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk here.