Think adolescence is hell? You have no idea... Welcome to Dante's Inferno, by way of The Breakfast Club, from the mind of American fiction's most brilliant troublemaker.
"Death, like life, is what you make out of it." So says Madison, the whip-tongued 11-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk's subversive homage to the young adult genre. Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas while her parents are off touting their new film projects and adopting more orphans. Over the holidays she dies of a marijuana overdose--and the next thing she knows, she's in Hell.
This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno inspired by both the most extreme and mundane of human evils, where The English Patient plays on repeat and roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb. However, underneath Madison's sad teenager affect there is still a child struggling to accept not only the events of her dysfunctional life, but also the truth about her death.
For Madison, though, a more immediate source of comfort lies in the motley crew of young sinners she meets during her first days in Hell. With the help of Archer, Babette, Leonard, and Patterson, she learns to navigate Hell--and discovers that she'd rather be mortal and deluded and stupid with those she loves than perfect and alone.
Move over, Dante, there's a new tour guide to hell: Madison Spencer, the 13-year-old narrator of Palahniuk's clich -ridden latest bulletin of phoned-in outrage. After self-asphyxiating, Madison wakes up in hell and quickly finds, as she's put to work prank-calling people at dinnertime, that her new home is not much different from Saturday detention in The Breakfast Club. Embarking on a field trip with some new friends, Madison fights demons, raises an army of the dead, and storms the gates of Satan's citadel. At the same time, she flashes back to her unhappy life as the daughter of a self-absorbed movie star mother and a financial tycoon father who collect Third World orphans. Unfortunately, Palahniuk's hell turns out to be a familiar place, filled with long lines, celebrities, dictators, mass murderers, lawyers, and pop culture references and jokes repeated until they are no longer funny. In the end, the author seems to be saying that the real hell is the banality of our earthly lives, an observation that itself seems a little too banal to power this work of fiction.
Good kick off
I really enjoyed reading this book especially the first three quarters.
Although i do love the especially great revenge i feel a bit robbed in the end.
It was slightly anti climatic.