Indie Next ListNovember 2011
Palahniuk has penned another fun, oddly breezy read, considering it's set among the damned hordes of hell. Thirteen-year-old narrator Madison, the sassy, cynical offspring of a world-famous, self-absorbed actress and a billionaire, has been rather inexplicably sent to hell after dying of a marijuana overdose. Teaming up with a teen-movie superfecta of side characters -- the brain, the jock, the rebel, and the prom queen -- Madison must find her true place in the overall scheme of things, while praying all along that it's not an eternity of telemarketing. -- Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI
""Death, like life, is what you make out of it."" So says Madison, the whip-tongued 11-year-old narrator of "Damned." Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas while her parents are off touting their new film projects and adopting more orphans. Over the holidays she dies of a marijuana overdose--and the next thing she knows, she's in Hell.
This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno inspired by both the most extreme and mundane of human evils, where "The English Patient" plays on repeat and roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb. However, underneath Madison's sad teenager affect there is still a child struggling to accept not only the events of her dysfunctional life, but also the truth about her death.
For Madison, though, a more immediate source of comfort lies in the motley crew of young sinners she meets during her first days in Hell. With the help of Archer, Babette, Leonard, and Patterson, she learns to navigate Hell--and discovers that she'd rather be mortal and deluded and stupid with those she loves than perfect and alone.