The following is in response to Chuck Palahniuk’s Doomed.
Doomed is the twenty-fifth book that I read this year as part of my goodreads.com challenge. This book is the sequel to Damned, a story in which a little girl, Madison Spencer, dies and goes to hell. In this story, little Maddy is back on Earth as a ghost in purgatory. I wonder if Palahnhiuk will do a third book where Madison is in heavan, thus completing the modern Dante-like series. I really enjoyed this book. It had me hooked from the start (pages nine and eight) with a metaphor comparing the stomach and the brain—the brain indeed does look like “brown intestines” as if it were “thinking bowels”. And then there’s the metaphor of Tourette’s Syndrom being prayer on page sixty that I thought was interesting.
Madison relives her past, when she was forced to live with her Nana. She is miserable at first, but she then starts reading Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle. This coincidentally brings up memories of the old debates of creationism and evolution. In a scene (on page one hundred and five), Maddy is fording a river of traffic with her hands sticking together because of a glass of tea in her hands. The entire thing is reminiscent of evolution—I imagined her as a creature wading through Euphrates with webbed fingers, a water-breather becoming an amphibian. Darwin’s natural selections, evolution, it’s all here in the protagonists past like it’s in the past of all mankind, forming a sturdy foundation not just for Palahniuk’s character but for all of his readers as well.