Saturday, 23 July 2016

Beautiful You - Chuck Palahniuk

I recently finished Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk, it's a novel about a young woman who falls in love with a billionaire sex toy maker who later uses her to develop sex toys to enslave the female population. Like Palahniuk's best work it starts with a simple premise - feminism - and takes it to its most ridiculous extreme. As evidenced by my above summary. 

I'd been worried about Palahniuk's work in recent years, he had done a few books that I found to be Palahniuk by the numbers (Snuff, Haunted) but now, with Doomed and Damned and this, he seems to have regained his footing. 

Beautiful, You deals with the idea of feminism and the modern woman - a woman in a stereo-typically male role, for example lawyer or CEO, in control of her own sex life and her own destiny. Palahniuk ruthlessly tears into this idea, old women used to be housewives, new women are businesswomen. The point is, both are trapped by criteria placed on them, with no choice, by others. Sexism is still prevalent, women are still not seen as free or equal.

The book is witty and funny and the satire is suitably cutting. The villain, Maxwell, seems largely underdeveloped until the final dozen or so pages and the ending twist doesn't make sense within the context of the story but the overall message isn't hampered by this in any way and so it is still an enjoyable read. If you're a Palahniuk fan then this is an enjoyable book, not one of his best but far from his worst. 

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