|Book Cover Photo courtesy of illiterarty.com|
Then a few years later I tried reading it again, but I still couldn't get into it. I tried reading it just a couple years ago, but I was either pregnant at the time, or had just had my son, and so the fact that there are a lot of babies dying in the book made me put it down again.
So the other day, when I realized I only had 4 1/2 months to read 7 more books for this challenge, I remembered this book was sitting on the shelf. I had just re-watched Fight Club for a post I wrote over at Reviewsin5.com (Top 5 David Fincher Movies), and I thought, "Yeah, I should finally read that."
So the beginning was hard, because, like I said before, several babies die in the first part of the book. Now, it's not graphic but it's still hard to read when you're a parent, especially a parent of a young child. Here's a little background about the book before I go any further: Carl Streator is a journalist who has been assigned a story about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), but while investigating, he notices that most of the crime scenes include a book open to the same page. On the page is an African culling song, a lullaby that was traditionally read to the terminally ill, in hopes that they would die a peaceful death. So Streator goes hunting for all the books, along with a few other odd-ball characters, trying to destroy them all before the lullaby kills too many people. The problem is, he's got the lullaby in his head, and is inadvertantly killing people, simply by thinking the words to himself.
So the plot line, I think, is pretty cool. A lullaby that, said aloud (or even thought), can kill? And luckily the dead babies only appear at the beginning and at the very end, so once I got in the meat of the book I really enjoyed it. However, a lot of creepy stuff happens here and there, and the end is pretty messed up. I wish that some of the gross stuff had been left out, because I really don't think the story needed most of it. Although, I guess it wouldn't be Chuck Palahniuk without it.
Another thing I noticed when reading the book, is that there is a very strong voice throughout. Palahniuk's phrasing of sentences, his informal style, is such that, if I were to open one of his books without knowing the author, I would realize it was his work right from the beginning. I mean, that could be a good or a bad thing. He's got his own style, which sets him apart from others. But unfortunately, it could limit his writing. If all of his books sound the same, if they have the same voice, then that voice becomes Palahniuk's voice, not the voice of his characters. Which means that either all his characters end up sounding the same, or the voice sounds weird on certain characters. Does this make any sense? It makes sense to me, but it's hard for me to articulate.
I'm really glad I finally got through this book. I mean, it's been sitting on my shelf for at least 6 years. But overall, I have to give this a 3/5, a medium ranking. While some of the story is great, I really didn't like certain parts. I would reccomend this book to others, but only to people who have read and loved other books by Chuck Palahniuk.