Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

Tessa Bright Wildsmith

Shannon McFarland was beautiful. She had a promising career modeling. She had a boyfriend and was surrounded by loyal, loving friends. Then it was all suddenly ripped away when she was randomly shot driving down the freeway. Shannon is left with no lower jaw and she’s now disfigured and invisible. The life and world she knew is over.

While she’s in the hospital recovering, her best friend steals all her clothing and her boyfriend leaves her. While going through speech therapy to try and learn to speak again, Shannon meets sassy, pill-popping Brandy Alexander. Brandy is a transgendered woman who’s had multiple surgeries to model her body after what Shannon used to look like. Brandy tells Shannon to get a veil to hide her disfigurement and drop the self-pity. Brandy takes Shannon under her wing and along with another pal, Seth, the unlikely trio set off on a cross-country road trip.

Told from narrator Shannon’s point of view “Invisible Monsters” starts out confusing and takes you on a wild ride with over-the-top characters. Shannon is depressed and desperate, Brandy Alexander is eccentric and too much of a diva to actually be around. In the end though, these aren’t the kind of characters you get invested in. They serve one purpose - to take you along on an offbeat, twisted plotline full of love, hate, beauty and self-loathing. It all adds up to a shocking ending that you’ll never see coming.

“Invisible Monsters” is more about the characters than the plot. Told through a series of flashbacks, flash forwards and present day travels, it can get twisted and confusing pretty quickly. The jumping around and twisting of the story is acceptable only because of the laugh-out-loud, gory comedy that Palahniuk is known for. The writing is jumpy and erratic but somehow that’s still OK with this book.

In true Palahniuk style, “Invisible Monsters” is full of moments that are horrific and disturbing but you find yourself laughing out loud anyway. No one does strange, twisted fiction better than Palahniuk and “Invisible Monsters” definitely doesn’t disappoint.

I found it slightly disturbing and oddly enjoyable. Even though it’s all over the place and over the top, I still flipped the pages as quickly as I could to see where I was going to land. If you enjoy dark comedy and strange stories, you’ll love “Invisible Monsters.”

Have you read “Invisible Monsters?” Discuss your thoughts on the book below.

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