Monday, October 3, 2011

Operation Chuck: Survivor

As I mentioned in the first "Operation Chuck" post, I took it upon myself to read all the Chuck Palahniuk novels I hadn't previously read before Chuck's major event at Lemuria Bookstore on October 20th....which meant that I would be reading ALL of Chuck's books.  I read most of Survivor while flying to Denver for the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association trade show in Denver on Saturday morning.

Here are some observations about Survivor:

  • It's probably not the wisest choice to read a book that basically uses a hijacked and crashing plane as its setting.  The protagonist, Tender Branson, is telling his life story to the little black box.  I'm going to choose to believe that the reason I was patted down even after going through the porno scanning machines at airport security was because Survivor was in my book bag.  This assumption, though, would suggest that the TSA agents were surprisingly literate, and I admittedly am snobby about the intellectual capacities of airport security personnel.
  • It's also probably not the wisest choice to read a book about religious cults and fanaticism when sitting next to the woman who was reading over my shoulder on the plane.  She kept tsking every time she saw words like "penis" or "cult" or "porno landfill."  And this is why I own an iPod.
  • I learned how to clean stains out of my microwave!  Thanks, Chuck!
  • Survivor is hilarious in places, and generally a fairly shrewd critique of religious fanaticism in the US in all its forms, from fundamentalist sects with suicide pacts to football culture and Super Bowl worship.  It also questions the media-driven mechanics of modern religion.  Think about modern "church" leaders like Joel Osteen who have covers on magazines and billboards promoting their latest books, yet don't actually talk about spiritual doctrines.
  • I LOVED the book allegedly written for ex-cult member and spiritual guide Tender Branson, Inc, called The Book of Very Common Prayer.  Prayers not to go bald, prayers to delay sexual release, prayers for good parking spots.  This is first rate satire.  I actually know people who pray for parking spots.  
I liked Survivor.  

Blind faith...hello Chuck!
Next up: Invisible Monsters

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