Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk

No one love's the work of Chuck Palahniuk like I do, so I am very excited to be reviewing his newest book, Tell-All. I promise I won't tell all--I don't want to spoil the fun!

*Boy Meets Girl.  Boy Gets Girl.  Boy Kills Girl.
The hyperactive love child of Page Six and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? caught in a tawdry love triangle with The Fan. Even Kitty Kelly will blush.*

Lillian Hellman, can you read this?  Chuck writes a winner with this all-star tribute to the glamour and glitz of the Golden Age of the entertainment industry.  The story is simple--or is it?  First let me start with the writing style.  Chuck's last few books have been experimental, frustrating this reader, until I finally declare the experiment "brilliant."  Chuck doesn't play with style in Tell-All, but he does do something pretty unique.  He "name drops" every single A to D list star from the beginning of celebrity-dom in Hollywood.  Hundreds of names.  Names I thought were fictitious until I Googled them.  And everything he writes about them--their dialogue, their actions--all lies.  All Chuck's imagination.  Lillian Hellman would be proud!
All of these names are intertwined into a brilliant tale of an aging movie star, struggling to hold on to her fame and name, whose vanity rivals that of Dorian Gray.  Always present is her dedicated companion, the teller of this tale. Palahniuk weaves a delicious story of husbands, has-bands, deceased pets and orphans hoping.  Brilliant!  I give this one 5 blooms! 

Disclosure:  This book was won in a contest held by Random House and  No compensation was received for this blog entry.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Dreamt of Sausage by Corinna Borden

As if being newly married to a resident husband who rarely leaves the hospital, separated from family by miles, and finding herself in a small town isn't enough stress for anyone, being diagnosed with lymphoma further complicates things for Corinna Borden.  Through journal entries and snippets of episodes of her life we are able to journey with her as she navigates her way,  and she does make it her way, her unique journey documented in I Dreamt of Sausage.

Through out the memoir she does battle--with her family, the medical community,  her body and the voices/tapes we all play in our minds.  She does her best to escape the toxicity of traditional medicine, often opting for treatments that do not benefit her, delaying treatments that are proven, although unpleasant.  She falls victim to unscrupulous New Age gimmicks, taking thousands of dollars of supplements, submitting to daily coffee enemas and subscribing to nonsense-speak at times.

Corinna's parents and sister and especially her husband are patient and accepting, even when they believe her life is in grave danger.  Even the slightest question about her alternative treatments elicit temper tantrums and yelling "You don't support me!"  Finally her family just accepts that she is doing what she is going to do.  I can't even imagine how hard this was for them, especially for her husband, whose life work is based in science, not New Age magic.

All in all, Borden writes a courageous recollection of her cancer road trip, and while it isn't the map I would have followed, it was an interesting read and I give this one a solid 3 blooms.

Disclosure:   This book was given to me by the author in exchange for a review.  No other compensation was offered and no promise of a positive review was promised to the author.