I literally just finished reading this book like 30 seconds ago. It was definitely not what I was expecting it to be. I knew that it was a combination of horror stories intertwined with one major story, but they were not the type of horror stories that I was expecting. There are not your typical scary, ghost/monster movie stories, but they are still horrifying nevertheless.
The main story is about this large group of people with nicknames like The Missing Link and Comrade Snarky, who are on this writing retreat organized by this man named Mr. Whittier. He locks them in this giant mansion, and they all start to go insane. They start starving themselves and hurting themselves so that they can frame Mr. Whittier and make it look like they have been tortured and held against their will so people can save them and they can be famous. They destroy all of their food towards the beginning of the book, so at the end they have to start eating eachother after they all start dying one by one. There was one crazy part where a guy, believing that they are about to be rescued, has someone cut off his penis, and ends up bleeding to death. The crazy part, though, is that the guy who cuts it off tries to eat it and ends up choking on it, and dying as well. There are 19/20 different characters in this book, so its kind of hard to keep track of them all, and I could never remember which one was which and who were the ones that died. I didn't really care, though, because the best part of the book wasn't the main story that featured all of the characters. The best parts were the individual stories that were told in between the chapters about the main story. All of the stories were interesting and horrifying, but there were two in particular that are the most memorable for me. I even remember where I was when I read each of these stories.
The first is this story called "Guts" which is a story about the character called Saint Gut-Free. I was reading this story at work, when it was really slow (which it always was). This story talks about different ways guys try to masterbate. It talks about guys using objects like carrots and wax and is not a story I would recommend for people who are easily offended. The main part of the story, though, is about how Saint Gut-Free would masterbate in his pool. He would go down to the bottom of the pool and put his butt against the swimming pool pump so he can feel the sucking motion while he, um, has his me time. The most disturbing part of the story though, is when the pump pulls out his intestines. Thats right there is discusting by itself, but his intestines get stuck the pump, and he has to bite part of his intestine off so he doesn't drown. Now...I pretty much just gave the whole story away, but I left out a lot of the details, so I suggest that you go read it yourself. That is, of course, if you are not easily offended.
The second story is called "Exodus" and is about Director Denial. I read this story down in my parents basement when we were in the middle of a tornado warning. It is about a woman who works for the police or something who buys these anatomically correct dolls to use to help abused children. She soon discovers that the policemen are checking out these dolls for, lets say, non-police business. She is really attached to these dolls, so she glues together their private areas and there mouths, only to find that they have been sliced open again. So, she inserts razor blades, and you can probably guess what happens to the policemen. Sick of all of this happening to these, she decides to kidnap them and save them. I left out a lot of stuff on this one too, but like a side for the other one, you should go read it yourself.
This was one of the most disturbing books that I have ever read, but I expected nothing less from Chuck Palaniuk. He also wrote my favorite book, Invisible Monsters, which is a book that I definitely recommend. As I have said before, this book is disturbing and sometimes shocking, and is not for people who are easily offended, but I enjoyed it. It is definitely an example of why books are awesome. You can say anything in a book, as opposed to a movie or a TV show (even HBO and Showtime shows). I don't see how they could ever make a filmed version of the story "Guts." There have been a few movies made from Palahniuk's books, but this is one that I don't think that they would ever make into a movie. And if they did, they would have to take out a lot of stuff, probably the best parts, so there would be no point to it anyway.
Another thing: the cover to my copy of this book glows in the dark, and as you can see, the cover is freaky-looking. It would often startle me in the middle of the night and I'd have to turn it over.