The following is in response to Chuck Palahniuk’s novel “Damned.”

“Are you there Satan? It’s me Madison. Please don’t get the impression that I have always boasted a brilliant intellect. On the contrary, I’ve made my own share of mistakes, not the least of which was my misconceived idea of what constituted French-kissing” (p. 140).

“Damned” follows the life of a thirteen-year-old girl named Madison who has died and gone to Hell. To me the book is a commentary on life in the American culture and what it means to be good or evil.

Madison’s mother is a narcissistic actress who is often seen remotely locking one of their many maids in the bathroom because they have not cleaned it properly. Madison’s father is a billionaire and former rasta who is often seen giving his young daughter marijuana and Xanax. Madison is watching her parents on the Oscars when she is accidentally killed by her adopted brother Goran—they were “French-fissing,” a game that Madison was taught by some girls at her Swiss boarding school in which the participant is chocked, but before said participant asphyxiates they are given “the kiss of life.”. Goran didn’t know the game,  how to give the “kiss of life,” and inadvertently killed her.

In an interview on his website, Palahniuk describes Damned by saying “Imagine if The Shawshank Redemption had a baby by The Lovely Bones and it was raised by Judy Blume.” The Shawshank-Redemption part comes from the very beginning of the book in which Madison wakes up in Hell in a cage, the Lovely-Bones part comes from Madison’s point of view being told from the afterlife, and the raised-by-Judy-Blume part comes from the start of each chapter which begins “Are you there Satan? It’s me Madison,” reminiscent of Blumes famous novel “Are you there God? It’s me Margaret.” Here are a few lists that I made while reading the book:

Tips for being in Hell:

  • Do not eat the candy on the floor.
  • Wear a good pair of shoes.
  • Bring a watch.
  • If you plan on leaving your cell, bring something to pick the lock.
  • When chased by a demon, bury yourself in the nearest terrain and hide—be it a mountain of fingernails or a sea of diapers.
  • Demons can be tricked by feeding them candy.

How to prepare for Hell:

  • Watch a lot of TV.
  • Sit next to a crying baby on a plane.
  • Take up smoking cigarettes or cigars.
  • Live in Boston. (I don’t know about this one.)

Jobs available in Hell:

  • Internet porn model
  • Telemarketer

About evinhughes

I am a graduate of Georgia Southern University. I have a bachelors degree in Information Technology and a bachelors in Writing and Linguistics.
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