I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of Chuck Palahniuk necessarily, but I do like to know what he is up to now and then.

The premise of this book is that an aged-out porn star is going to break records with a 600 man gang bang, her intentions being to have a fortune to leave behind for the child she gave up for adoption as a young woman. Nearly the entire story takes place in the single day that this feat is filmed, with brief flashbacks to serve as backstory. The events unfold through the perspectives of Mr. 600, Mr. 72, Mr. 132, and the porn star’s assistant, Sheila. There’s a mini-mystery waiting to be solved amongst the debauchery, as well, which I found ultimately anti-climatic. (<— lol. Though was this on purpose, Palahniuk?)

Given this plot, and the obscenity Palahniuk is known for, it could have been far more graphic. I mean, it was still pretty gruesome, but not as much as I was anticipating. Further, the character depth that I expect from Palahniuk was also missing. What we learn of the characters is only superficially meaningful (the porn star had to give up a baby as a young woman, but this is public knowledge… you learn that another character was “diddled” as a child, but this is revealed in a casual conversation with a stranger). Nothing is given any particular weight/meaning over anything else. I suspect/hope that this was intentional, that the lack of depth in these characters/story arch/book overall is just a brilliant META commentary on the porn industry and not an uninspired writer.

In that hope,

Three stars.



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