Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk & The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn
So, Beautiful You, well, hmmm, how do I even start to explain this book. Whenever I tried explaining what I was reading to people, I got a lot of mixed facial expressions, but most hovered around what-did-you-just-say-I-am-going-to-pretend-you-didn’t-speak-and-instead-compliment-your-glasses or they just stared with a semi-wrinkled nose like they just whiffed some bad foot odor and kind of want to leave, but feel compelled to stay because what even did she say? That’s the sort of book it is. It’s worse to explain than if Grandma asked you what 50 Shades of Grey is about.
I can’t say I hated the book, but I can’t say I enjoyed it either. Especially the ending, like what was even up with that? Are we all just creatures that can’t deny our carnal desires? (Which might be true actually) The book is most certainly satire poking fun at the “boom” that books such as 50 Shades of Grey created. I mean let’s look at the similarities: Penny, our hapless heroine is your average woman. She’s no super model or movie star, just a normal girl living in her apartment with nary a love life in sight. Then suddenly one day she is invited to dinner by the super-mega-rich billionaire Maxwell, who is known as the lover of gorgeous women that he only stays with for a short while. Maxwell is creating a line of “personal care products” to bring women the ultimate orgasm. He shows Penny these products and tests them on her, bringing her to supreme levels of bliss, but….is he going to use these products to take over all women, in some kind of world domination?
Penny has to find who taught Maxwell his techniques so that she can combat the self-consuming pleasure that the “Beautiful You” line of self care products causes. And like all Palahniuk books, this book is insanely graphic and goes into some details that might put you off food for a while. So if you are squeamish I’ll advise you not to read this. It wasn’t my favorite Palahniuk, but it still has his strange sick charm. He does really well at writing about the dark side of humanity and showcasing how twisted human nature can be.
I’ve read Flynn’s other books and enjoyed them all! So obviously when I saw this tiny little hardback short story, I had to grab it. It has that creepy supernatural vibe, and being that it’s a short story, I can’t go into much detail, but it’s a fun little read. The lead girl is struggling to make ends meet and gets her money through various levels of fraud, and while pretending to read auras when she meets a rich woman who is deeply worried and troubled by her Victorian home. This rich old woman wants our heroine to visit the house with her and “rid it of evil”. When visiting the house, and meeting Miles, the rich woman’s troubled stepson, it becomes clear that something is wrong in the house, but what exactly is wrong….maybe no one wants to find out the truth.
It’s a engaging little short story that would be perfect for Halloween time! It’ll also hold me over until I can get my hands on a new novel by Flynn!