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Beautiful You Hardcover – October 21, 2014
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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 You. 50 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."
"[Palahniuk's] legion of fans will adore all its excesses.... [G]reat fun..."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"The author of Fight Club offers barbed social satire that turns Aristophanes’ Lysistrata sideways; giving readers something to talk about."
"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."
"...[A] subtle and empathic piece of work."
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 chuckpalahniuk.net.
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Top Customer Reviews
His more recent books have been really hit or miss. A Beautiful You was a really bizarre experience and not in a good way like his other books, it may be worth reading for the gimmick of it alone but I thought the humor fell flat.
I'm not going to review this based on the gross-out factor, if you are reading Chuck you know his books are going to be full of a lot of grotesque stuff. If you cannot handle that, there is no reason you should read this book - it is incredibly graphic. But I personally love his kind of appalling graphic creativity in his books - as long as it is accompanied with intriguing characters and a good plot. A Beautiful You had an obnoxious twisty completely hollow plot. The satirical value is interesting and his writing can still be biting and engaging but this book was very difficult to like in any way.
I was fond of ranting about this book to my boyfriend (who is also a fan of his but could do without books like Damned and Tell-All which are just subpar compared to the rest of his work) and describing the insanely absurd, often hilarious sex scenes in this book. It is worth it just to kind of hate it, in my opinion - if you have nothing better to do.
A Beautiful You is an over-sexed romp, you could have fun with it if you don't expect too much from it. But I've begun to really miss his old style. Survivor managed to be satirical and absolutely outlandish while still having an engaging character, the plot kept you captivated throughout - I remember starting A Beautiful You and immediately wanting it to end, I trudged through it and started skimming through the bone-fucking Himalayan scenes as fast as possible. I was so irritated by the book and by the protagonist, that it kind of upset me. I am yearning for the brilliant, often philosophical, never tedious, Chuck stories of old.
Read this if you're really into reading about creative sex-toys, otherwise the story is completely forgettable - in that you will want to forget about the experience as fast as humanly possible.
Beautiful You is a book about power, how it is wielded in society, how sex plays a role. It is also about gender roles, and how these influence our lives. It's an idea that in our extremely PC society is tough for anyone to discuss without being branded with ridiculous words like "haters" or "sexist" or something else, so the good news is that authors can use "satire" to get their message across.
I finished this book yesterday and I am still thinking about the ideas. This is a hallmark of a good story, in my opinion. I give it 3 stars but it may increase over time.
One of the reasons I admire Chuck so much is because he isn't afraid to tackle these topics. I think Beautiful You is better than Damned, but isn't as good as Fight Club, Choke, Survivor, or Lullaby, but let's face, those books are going to be extremely difficult to top.
If you are ready for an interesting satire about gender roles, sex, and power in modern America, then Beautiful You is a book you may enjoy.
So this one has been a page turner and as a sex coach, I can tell you he did his research! Very surprised my the scientific names and correctly placed body 'parts'.
In Beautiful You, Chuch Palahniuk takes the War on Women to the next level with this dystopic satire centered around female orgasms.
C. Linus Maxwell has earned his tabloid nickname “Climax-Well” with the unveiling of his line of Beautiful You personal care products for women. Thoroughly researched and based on the tantric sex secrets of the ancients, the Beautiful You products quickly ensnare the vast majority of the global female population, from the first female president of the United States to a multiple-Academy Award winning French actress. New York turns chaotic as women begin disappearing, lost to the abyss of self-pleasure and turned into emaciated, toy-addicted zombies. Only Penny Harrigan, one of Maxwell’s most recent conquests and research assistant, can help stem the tide and undo his evil plans for world domination.
Beautiful You is a fun read, but ultimately lacks sufficient depth. Palahniuk seems too content to rely on stereotypes surrounding women – their love of shoes and tawdry romance vampire novels and their inferior rankings in a man’s world – rather than subverting them or plumbing them to their fullest depths. However, it makes for fun fodder, if only on a superficial mockery of the Fox News/Men’s Rights Movement perception on what women are like.
Penny herself is, at times, the lone standout and the primary focus of the novel. While there are other women present and accounted for, few of them make any lasting impression and appear to be notable only for their achievements in-world and not for any particularly skilled characterization. Most of the women that appear in this book have achieved notable success, but serve only as pawns to Maxwell’s scheming and have been coerced into their fame only through his machinations.
While worth a read, the book feels imbalanced between trying to make a point for female autonomy and mocking the far-right’s fear of all-things vaginal. Even Todd Akin’s idiocy gets some wish-fulfillment in a rape scene echoing the congressman’s ignorance when he espoused his nonsensical views on “legitimate rape” and how women’s bodies have a way of shutting that down. And while it scores points with its deft maneuvering on topics of commercialism and advertising, and how many men and society itself would utterly collapse without the presence of women, too much of the story itself is reliant on stereotyping and a pack-view mentality of women without any real glimpses of individuality or sparks of life outside of the book’s central character. Beautiful You rarely goes deeper than the superficial, and although its topic of women’s perceived roles in contemporary American society and politics is certainly ripe for satirizing, it does little else beyond pointing fingers at current problems in exchange for some knowing laughs. The book is a light breezy read, but on a topic that deserves more subtly and nuance than it receives here.