Meet Madison, whip-tongued daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, abandoned at a Swiss boarding school over Christmas while her parents are off adopting more orphans. Madison dies of a marijuana overdose and awakes to find herself in Hell, sharing her cell with a motley crew of young sinners that’s almost too good to be true.
Author: Chuck Palahuik
Publisher: Random House
I don’t think I have ever been so bitterly disappointed at a book before. I’m ashamed to say that I picked this book for a book club read – what was I thinking?! I’ll tell you what – I was recommended this book by a helpful (and charming) sales assistant at a book shop. I was assured that if I loved Arthur Koestler, I would love this. The cover was beautiful and the back described it as ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ meets ‘The Lovely Bones’. I was sold. You would have been too.
Once I actually started reading it I realised it was nothing like The Shawshank Redemption or The Lovely Bones. It was terrible! After 25 pages I fell asleep, woke up, read another 25 and fell asleep again. Doesn’t say much for the plot.
I’ve not read any of Palahuik’s novels before but absolutely loved the film adaption of Fight Club. I figured someone who could come up with an idea like that would have to be an incredible writer. Apparently not.
In his defence, the concept of the book wasn’t awful, but in the moments where I felt he was finally getting somewhere – he would become contrived, clichéd and, quite frankly, quite dull.
All in all, Damned definitely isn’t my cup of tea; it’s more like a special brew of marmite, gin and mud.