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Diary by Chuck Palahniuk (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Ah, finally got around to it - the obligatory Chuck P. read. Before anyone asks, the local library in this miniscule drop of semi-rural excrement only had two of his books, this and Haunted, and both were checked out. Haunted had a couple holds on it already, so I put a hold on Diary. Long story short, buddy returned it and I read it over the weekend. The end. Oh, right, the review.

No matter what I say, one of Chucky's fans are going to track me down and beat me with a stick, so I might as well let it all spill out. Gutslike, even, and don't tell me aren't hip on the reference.

To be fair, I should probably say what I was expecting coming in. I was well aware that Diary isn't his best work, so I didn't set my sights too high. What I really wanted was some really fucked up grit, something with edge that goes beyond simple paper cuts. He's touted as a minimalist genius, which right off the bat made me assume he's a bad writer using a stylistic label to justify his, er, lack of aesthetic talent, so I didn't expect miracles in that deptartment either. Sooooo...

Basically Diary is a journal written by Misty, a woman on a weird coked out tourist-ridden island as her husband, one of the island's native freakos, sits in a coma. Little by little, we begin to discover some pretty fucked up things, like psychotic writing in walls, rooms going missing, and some giant paranormal conspiracy. Wacky.

So what's the catch?

The catch was that the whole thing came off as an amateur take on a Stephen King novel, not a piece of gritty social commentary, or even a nihilistic romp, which was what I expected. While I wasn't blown away by Palahniuk's writing style, he definately surprised me, pleasanty. He makes really interesting connections with his descriptions, tying two seemingly unrelated things with snazzy metaphors and smilies, though on the whole his technical skills sometimes felt really undisciplined.

Another thing I was particulary ambivalent about were his semi-useless fact interjections. I've read that he does a lot of research, which is cool but at times it seemed as though he opened Encyclopedia Brittanica to a random page and tried to figure out a way to use the info as filler. At times, this tactic was brilliant, like his commentary on facial anatomy, but in other places, like his focus on graphology, the study of handwriting, he came off sounding really tedious.

As far as characterization, I'm not going to lie - I barely cared two fucks about Misty or her plight. At times she seemed multifaceted, and I'd get excited, but then...blah. I don't know why, but I had trouble really getting into her story. Maybe it was the narrative style? Kind of her using a third person description of herself during the story, the repeating things like, 'and Misty's husband did this. You did this.' - addressing her husband in a coma.

Anyway, maybe I'm being overly harsh because I expected so much and he didn't deliver. Content-wise, the book came across as an amateur horror novel. The letter at the end was cute to the point of corn, too. Sigh. Without grit, this piece is fluff.

This shouldn't come as a surprise:

:2stars: Two and a half, maybe two and three quarters. Even his unique descriptions couldn't push this higher than that.

And with that, feel free to eat me alive.


Senior Member
I listened to this on Audiobook, which was a dumb idea, I'm never going to get those again. I got about 4 hours in, and didn't like it, and have still yet to finish it. So I agree with you on your review.

I went to one of his book readings a month or two ago, and this he told the audience how he gets his facts. He mostly gets his facts from talking to people. Like in Survivor, all the house cleaning facts, he got from these two stoned house cleaner guys, who he hired to clean his house.


Dude! I am so sick of Chuck Palahniuk!

The guy is a loser who originally had one message: materialism is bad.
this message gets dilluted the more and more books i read of his.

Diary sucked. It was enjoyable, yeah, but completely expected. He's not writing books to say things anymore, but to sell more useless books.

Research? ha!

Look, Chuck!, if you are reading this, do me a favor and stop writing books before i begin to disown you even more then i have!