Diary Author:Chuck Palahniuk DIARY takes the form of a "coma diary" kept by one Misty Tracy Wilmot as her husband, Peter, lies senseless in a hospital after a suicide attempt. Once Misty was an art student dreaming of creativity and freedom; now, after her marriage and return to once quaint, now tourist-overrun Waytansea Island, she is just a resort hotel maid. Pe... more »ter, it turns out, has been scrawling vile messages all over the walls of hidden rooms in houses he has been remodeling -- an old habit of builders but dramatically overdone in Peter's case. Angry homeowners are suing left and right, and Misty's dreams of artistic greatness are reduced to ashes. But then, as if possessed by the spirit of Maura Kinkaid, a fabled Waytansea artist of the nineteenth century, Misty begins painting again, compulsively. The canvases are taken away by her mother-in-law and her doctor, who seem to have a plan for Misty -- and for all those annoying tourists ...« less
I don't want to say that "Diary" is the worst book I've read in recent memory, but it is. I wanted to like it *really bad*, as I have quite a few friends (mostly males) that rave about Palahniuk, including this book. I've never read his work before (though I mildly enjoyed the Fight Club movie), and thought this one sounded very interesting.
I put up with a very slow start to the book, became really engaged (and a little scared, in a good way) during the middle, and then I came to the horrible realization of where this book was going. And boy, was it horrible. Obviously I won't spoil the plot for you, but I felt so outrageously cheated when I knew what was going on. Not only was the last quarter of the book totally predictable and soulless, but then all of the author's quirky little plot devices just seemed lame. It seemed to me like Chuck did quite a bit of research on both anatomy & carpenter's legends that he decided to repeatedly and tediously insert them into the book 'just because'. My final gripe is that the book started off as Misty's diary to Peter and somewhere along the way just turned into Chuck writing the book, occasionally throwing in "This is what Peter said. You said." to remind himself that he started off trying to write in the first person. And then out of nowhere for a second he throws in "John here" (example) and you never realize when "John" started or stopped talking.
And the characters. Palahniuk thinks that saying "poor white trash Misty Marie" 100x will make you feel sorry for her. But you don't. Instead you don't feel anything for anyone, and while the book unfolds you keep reading only for it to be over.
I don't even know if my review makes sense at this point, but I just had to let the average reader know not to start your foray into Palahniuk with this book. Or the only thing you might be afraid of is wasting your time again. If you are still interested, read the wikipedia entry for this book. The plot summary will reveal just what you think you are missing.
Tradition, art, carpentry, and coma---all combined in one wild ride--Palahniuk does it again with his "where did that come from" outrageous style. Clever, thought provoking, and unique, Diary is worth a look.