I have never read a Chuck Palahniuk book before. Many of my friends have a really love his stuff so I finally bit the bullet and got one. All of his books are rather intense and make you think. Lots of irony and there’s a lot of social messages in them. Beautiful You was no exception by far.
“A billion husbands are about to be replaced.”
From the author of Fight Club, the classic portrait of the damaged contemporary male psyche, now comes this novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of a new product that gives new meaning to the term “self-help.”
Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan’s most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of gratification for days on end. What’s not to like?
This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of feminine products to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell’s plan for battery-powered world domination must be stopped. But how?
The subject of self pleasure is rather taboo, which makes the story more interesting. It’s not being rebellious, it’s a story about something natural that happens in life no matter how many people deny that they ever participate in the act.
There is a lot of sex. It’s graphic, but also in a scientific way. The antagonist, C. Linus Maxwell is a cold, scientific researcher on what brings a woman to climax and give her the ultimate pleasure. Honestly the first half of the book was slow going. It was a lot of set up for how the main character, Penny, went through as Max’s test subject where you learn his methods and what exactly he’s planning to do. Without giving too much away, there is a significant meaning to how long he “stays” with her and how it’s a pattern with every one of his “test subjects.”
One of the main take aways I had from this book was the narration of how the media caters to its audience with sex. There was an example given in the book about a beer commercial. Put in a woman that is scantily clad, not for the reason of exploitation of her, but to cater to the target audience. It was neat to see how much advertising played a part simultaneously with the issue of women going over the top with the insane pleasuring giving toys. I’ve had a few advertising classes during college and it’s very true. You want to strike a chord with your demographic and to do so you research on how they think, what their habits are, etc.
The plot twist was interesting and again there are explicit scenes, but they aren’t random or gratuitous. It’s definitely a commentary on how technology can rule over society and how giving the people what they want can influence the masses for better or worse. At least, that’s what I got from it.
I gave 3 stars.