Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Appealingly appalling, appallingly appealing

When I react physically to a book— laugh, cry, sigh, gasp, shiver with pleasure, shudder with horror— it’s a sign that I really like what I’m reading. Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted was the first book I’ve read that almost made me puke— and that’s a compliment to the author. I have loved him since I read his mind-blowing Fight Club (the David Fincher film adaptation was equally mind-blowing, and that's not factoring in Brad Pitt), and I have bought and devoured all of Palahniuk's succeeding novels, Haunted being the latest. It made my skin crawl, it made my stomach turn, and it stopped short of making my eyeballs pop out of their sockets with all its grisly, morbid, violent, lurid, even filthy content. Palahniuk has a knack for taking the basest aspects of humanity and shoving it down the reader’s throat, but lacing it with a dry, wicked humor which bitch-slaps institutions and symbols of American culture.

In Haunted, the object of Palahniuk’s unforgiving derision is the Frankenstein monster that is reality TV. 19 people. 90 days. 23 stories. 1 abandoned theater. Now this is Survivor… and after this, you will never look at a Mark Burnett show the same way again. All that’s ridiculous, malicious, pretentious, hideous, humiliating, degrading, self-serving, and disgusting about “reality” television is laid bare by Palahniuk, and it all seems like gratuitous sex and violence until you realize Palahniuk’s only doing what all good writers do: hold up a mirror to reality, or in this case, the reality of reality TV, and not the “reality” it purports to present. Palahniuk shows us life is sick, but reality TV is even sicker in its manipulation and exploitation of real life, real people, real pain.

The quote Palahniuk placed at the beginning of the book encapsulates the spirit of Haunted perfectly (and quite appropriately, it’s by the Master of Macabre himself, Edgar Allan Poe): “There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust.” It is on this note that I recommend this book only to mature readers with open minds, emotional and mental (and psychological) stability, and really strong stomachs. Get ready to relish the revulsion.


At Tuesday, August 16, 2005, Anonymous alexis said...

haha. ms.lim, while i was rdg your apallingly appealing entry, i kept opening encarta dictionary in my computer, because you were using deep words.. haha. well, i learn lots of words in your blog. haha! anyway, thank you for writing in my chatterbox haha! and oh yah, i think i might wanna read that book. :) ahaha! :) -xis

p.s. i want to see you with your new look. why don't you try coloring it brown, dark brown,.. i think it would be really sexy for you. and ms. lim, do you wear pearls? i think it would really make you more beautiful! haha big round pearls pleaseee. hahaha! :)

At Wednesday, August 17, 2005, Anonymous pamy said...

ms lim i have something for u since i know your a big rob thomas fan haha. this article just reminded me of u :D


At Wednesday, August 17, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Thanks for the link Pamy! I loved the pic of Rob. :)

Alexis, I've never colored my hair, ever (and I don't think I will until my hair turns prematurely gray, haha), and I've never worn pearls either. :p But thanks for the fashion tips, I will take them into serious consideration. P.S. I'm glad my blog is educational for you, haha.

At Wednesday, August 17, 2005, Anonymous Jac said...

Ohh..makes me want to read it too. I've read another appalling book too. I can't exactly remember the title but it was about kids and sex. It's really really disturbing but it was nice too. I'll look it up in the library again and let you read it.

If you want an appalling movie, try watching, "City of God". It's really nice too. Me and my younger brother love it. It's an artfilm from Brazil, i think. It shows you what goes on in the streets there. Violence, drugs and sex. Crazy..but it's much of an eye-opener. Just sharing :)

At Wednesday, August 17, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Yeah, my best friend was raving about that movie in her blog too. I'll try to get my hands on a DVD copy. :)


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