Chuck Palahniuk’s “Damned” trilogy returns to “Doomed” fans

By: Sara Paczkowski

“Doomed,” the second book of Chuck Palahniuk’s “Damned” trilogy is full of pugnacious sarcasm and sassy remarks, making it a classic Palahniuk adventure.

Palahniuk, an American novelist and freelance journalist, began writing fiction in his mid-thirties. He describes his work as Transgressional fiction, a literary genre that focuses on controversial themes and the rebellious defiance of societal norms. He is a best-selling novelist, well known for the award-winning novel “Fight Club,” which was later adapted into a film by David Fincher.

The novel recounts another journey of Madison Spencer, the snide, overweight, and dead 13-year-old heroine of “Damned.” After her unconventional journey through Hell and her confrontation with the Devil, Madison finds herself in Purgatory.

“Doomed” gave Palahniuk’s minimalist writing a new flair. The sequential blog posts and tweets have Madison Spencer “thinking out loud” and characterizing intervals of time. Each description focuses solely on single moods, which only displayed the emotions needed. However, the format makes it less believable. The relatable voice of Madison, which we see in “Damned,” seems to take the backseat for the first couple of chapters because of the shaky transition from the previous book.

On the other hand, this new format kept the novel relaxed. The storytelling sets the mood for humor and punch lines. While the descriptions address the disgust, it does it in the most direct yet expressive way, making it refreshing and an interesting read.

Although we do not see the characters from “Damned,” that mirrored “The Breakfast Club” of Hell, these characters are equally engaging, and his plots are constantly twisting. The storylines and shock components make it another Palahniuk page-turner.

For a ghost, Madison is still thirteen and her opinions are never left unsaid. The snarky and obnoxious repetitive comments created another dimension and displayed a different side to her character.

This is a different approach to a sequel, but all of the elements are there. Although there were some differences from the last novel, Chuck Palahniuk did it again. He kept his classic simple style, but the extra punch added another element. If you love Palahniuk, you’ll love this one too. Now all there is to do is wait for the third book.


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