I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as other Palahniuk books. This is NOT a good introduction to the author! Start with 'Choke' or 'Invisible Monsters'. The style was hard to read and awkward. It was predictable if you have read other books by Palahnuik. I still loved it because I love this author, but definitly not his best!
This book is hard to read due to the writing style Chuck chose, but the story is worth it if you can handle the broken English.
I mostly love Palahniuk's books unconditionally because they are always so unique and well-written. This one however was waaaay too out there for me to appreciate. It definitely was unique, especially regarding the narration. But that made if very difficult for me to read and as someone else commented, this is not the book you'll want to read if you've never read his books before. The plot itself is interesting but the manner in which the story is told can be trying at time. There were parts that I had to reread several times just to make sure I understood it.
This is Palahniuk's best storytelling since Lullaby, without a doubt. The narrator/title character is a 13 year old terrorist masquerading as an exchange student in order to gain access to the USA in order to carry out Operation Havoc. The details of the operation evolve throughout the story, but the intent is always to do serious harm to a large group of American citizens.
The patois in which the narrator speaks is sheer genius - I don't know enough about linguistics to know whether Palahniuk used the grammar of another language to create the unique sentence structure, or whether he created a whole new language, but either way the narrative voice is a very engaging variation on the English language. It's also laugh-out-loud funny as Pygmy describes his warped (yet often justified) perspective on everything that is wrong with American culture, from junior high social rituals to Walmart to American imperialism to the hypocrisy of holier-than-thou preachers.
I think this Palahniuk's most scathing critique of our culture (which is really saying something.) The trademark peculiar fetishes, perversity, and pure shocking, disgusting, gross-out moments are here, but they actually fit into the narrative much more cohesively than they did in Rant or Snuff, where the stories seemed to exist to advance the catalogs of perversity, rather than the freakishness contributing to the point of the story. I'm still up in the air as to whether the story's ending was happy or not... did Pygmy win? Did America win? Both? Neither? Regardless, Pygmy is a triumph for Palahniuk - read it!
I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Palahniuk's books since they offer very interesting ideas, you usually find yourself identifying with characters you never expected to like, and then in retrospect the stories seem kind of gimmicky.
This one was no different. It was interesting in that it was appalling and cute at the same time. It was kind of a let down for the same reason.
I think Palahniuk has created a genre for himself. If you've never read any of his books, the first read is exciting, but once you've read a couple you pretty much know what to expect and you're far less forgiving if it doesn't stand up to your favourite permutation of his formula.
This was not my favourite.
Was looking forward to this one after how bad Snuff was but this one was a let down as well.
If you haven't read any Chuck Palahniuk before this is *not* the book you want to start with.
I was intrigued by the premise, but after reading the first 10 pages over and over and over, I had to give up. It was too much work for too little reward. I'm going to have to wait for the audiobook and/or movie.
If you *read* A Clockwork Orange and liked/understood it (I watched the movie thank-you very much!) this is definitely a good choice for you.
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