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Beautiful You: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Chuck Palahniuk
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.95
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $14.96 (58%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

"A billion husbands are about to be replaced."

From the author of Fight Club, the classic portrait of the damaged contemporary male psyche, now comes this novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of a new product that gives new meaning to the term "self-help." 

Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan's most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of gratification for days on end. What's not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of feminine products to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell's plan for battery-powered world domination must be stopped. But how?


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Beautiful You:

"Sex is on the mind of author Chuck Palahniuk, and it is taken to extremes and tweaked to outrageous lengths in his latest novel, Beautiful You50 Shades of Grey this isn't. In fact, the book is almost a middle finger to "mommy porn" and the popularity of modern erotica — while also being a smart, satirical take on misogyny, fame, the fashion industry, self-help and science... Palahniuk's graphic storytelling is bound to ruffle puritanical feathers—which is probably part of his point—but it's essential to the societal takedown. Nothing is sacred and everything gets torched, from pop culture (at one point vampire novels are used as thrown weapons, an obvious Twilight reference) to celebrity."
USA Today

"The author of Fight Club offers barbed social satire that turns Aristophanes’ Lysistrata sideways; giving readers something to talk about."
Library Journal

"Palahniuk continues to push limits in this satire of sex and consumerism... His cheeky wit is at its best in this grotesque novel; his semi-erotic writing is efficacious and there are some downright beautiful scenes."
Publishers Weekly

"...[A] subtle and empathic piece of work."
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

CHUCK PALAHNIUK is the author of thirteen novels—Doomed, Damned, Tell-All, Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Diary, Lullaby, Choke, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, and Fight Club—which all have sold more than five million copies in the United States. He is also the author Fugitives and Refugees, published as part of the Crown Journey Series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest. Visit him on the web at

Product Details

  • File Size: 1332 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385538030
  • Publisher: Doubleday (October 21, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,731 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Beautiful You" has the distinction of being the worst book I've ever read. I love Chuck Palahniuk, I love sex, and I love wacky meta-books, but "Beautiful You" managed to ruin all of them simultaneously. The sex drips off of every single page, and it only takes a chapter before it becomes emotionless background noise. The book touches on the concept of the "zipless f**k", or sex without intimacy, and that's exactly what the entire novel feels like. None of the characters thrown together in the book's increasingly absurd sexual encounters have any attraction to each other or any reason to continue their various relationships, but continue they do. In spite of all logic, the book reaches its dystopian climax with our "protagonist" Penny having had absolutely no agency at all. Her few attempts to derail what's increasingly obviously a sinister plot are pathetic and half-hearted at best. In the villain's moment of triumph at the altar with Penny, he's killed by what is effectively a bolt of lightning. No one has learned anything, none of the characters have grown, and Penny herself ends up bent by her absolute sexual power into absolute corruption.

So, what is the point of this book? It fails as a traditional novel, having no narrative arc or character development. It fails as a titillating smut romp by replacing all sexual intimacy with emotionless, clinical depictions of the sexiest of sex acts. It may succeed as an elaborate practical joke on the reader, but even if the point of the book is to be hated by holding up a mirror to our cultural obsession with sex, it fails to offer up any commentary more incisive than "sex is power".
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of sex August 28, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Chuck Palahniuk's BEAUTIFUL YOU is a darkly satiric examination of our human obsession with pleasure. The novel begins with 25-year-old Penny Harrigan being raped on the witness stand in open court, with judge, jury, and a room full of eager witnesses doing nothing to save her. The story, then, flashes back several months to explain how this awkward plain-Jane girl from Nebraska ended up in such a predicament. Penny is a would-be lawyer desperately trying to pass the bar exam when she runs into multi-billionaire C. Linus Maxwell, who for some inexplicable reason invites her to dinner at the most exclusive restaurant in town. Maxwell, or Max as everyone calls him, has already romanced the first female president of the United States, the new Queen of England, and a French superstar, so Penny is baffled - what could he possibly see in her? Ultimately, she becomes a pawn in his plans to introduce a line of female sex products (called "Beautiful You"), products that he tests on her for weeks on end. But Max's plans go beyond selling sex products, and as the world's women become increasingly addicted to the overwhelming pleasure produced by the "Beautiful You" toys, life as Penny knows it ceases to exist.

This is a wildly satiric novel, which turns the screws on many aspects of modern culture, from Obama's presidency (the first female president started out as a "community organizer," and then had a brief run as a US Senator) to the "Twilight" phenomenon (all those sex-crazed women who use Max's products are also addicted to "a banal romance novel about vampires"). Palahniuk has fun tweaking women's obsession with designer clothes (lots of references to Prada, Yves St.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New weapons in the battle of the sexes October 25, 2014
"I love you because you're so average" is not the nicest compliment Penny Harrigan has ever heard, but since Linus Maxwell, the world's richest man, is only describing her "textbook" genitalia, she can live with it. Having satisfied supermodels and the first female American president, Maxwell knows something about female parts. He is developing a new product line called Beautiful You that might render men obsolete. The products are designed to enhance female erotic pleasure and Penny is the latest in a long line of test subjects, each of whom has been dismissed from the project after 136 blissful days.

Penny rejects both the "women must go to law school" and the "women must stay at home and raise the kids" model but is struggling to find a third way. She would also like to be less lonely. The pleasure provided by the Beautiful You gadgetry is welcome but it is not a substitute for love ... or is it?

Whether Penny will ever get love from Maxwell is a mystery to which Palahniuk provides conflicting clues through much of the novel. Maxwell wears a lab coat during his sexual encounters. When he participates more actively, he scribbles in his notebook (without breaking stride) and studies readouts of pulse rate and blood pressure. Still, he seems to have genuine feelings for Penny. All of this is funny but it also makes a telling point about the clinical and emotional elements of sex. Either element alone (thrilling sex without love or loving sex without thrills) can be rewarding but the combination is a powerful form of witchcraft.

Beautiful You suggests that women pay the price for male inventiveness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent and engrossing read. Very bizarre, loved it!
Published 14 hours ago by Carolyn R. Bach
4.0 out of 5 stars The Anti-Fifty Shades
This is a book about a delusional sex addict.
Very simple. I have read Fifty Shades of Grey and while perusing the pages and reading about Penny and Maxwell's first sexual... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Bravo
Chuck Palahniuk new book defines where and what has become of sexuality. Brilliant! Bravo!
Published 2 days ago by James J. Kruger
2.0 out of 5 stars ?!?!?
"WTF" - me after every Palahniuk book I read.
Yet I come back for more. Book after book after book.
Published 2 days ago by CindyM
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully screwed
Palahnuik utilizes an ongoing narrative style with no clear chapters. It flows naturally and sucks the reader into the tale. Great book that was hard to put down. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Badger!
1.0 out of 5 stars Spend your time reading this review, NOT this book!
If all the stupid sex talk was supposed to be "titillating", it fell way short. It was stupidly repulsive. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Baby Sister
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great read-I love Chuck Palahniuk
Published 3 days ago by Shenna Maison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 days ago by Ian
5.0 out of 5 stars Another book for my daughter Chuck Palahniuk collection. She ...
Another book for my daughter Chuck Palahniuk collection. She is going to be so excited when she opens this on Christmas.
Published 6 days ago by Sharon Wooldridge
1.0 out of 5 stars ... parody but its not cleaver enough to be a good parody. I found...
Some reviewers think this book is a parody but its not cleaver enough to be a good parody. I found little to nothing about this book to recommend it to others. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Rick Wallace
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More About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk's novels are the bestselling Fight Club, which was made into a film by director David Fincher, Diary, Lullaby, Survivor, Haunted, and Invisible Monsters. Portions of Choke have appeared in Playboy, and Palahniuk's nonfiction work has been published by Gear, Black Book, The Stranger, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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