Diary - by Chuck Palahniuk

"you become the main character in this great modern novel"

Diary is a novel written by Chuck Palahniuk, a great modern day writer. If you are reading this review you have probably read or heard about some of his work such as Fight Club. I highly recommend that you read Diary.  The novel focuses on Misty Kleinman, a once aspiring artist, who is now a waitress and the head of the cleaning service in the hotel on Waytansea Island. She marries Peter Wilmot, but not because she loves him, only because she loves that he loves her art. Peter promises that her artwork will go on display at museums, and they end up getting married. On their tenth date, Peter tells her, “With your gift, you’re doomed to be a great artist”.

At the beginning of the novel, Palahniuk starts to make it clear that the reader assumes the roll of Peter Wilmot, who is in a coma for the entirety of the novel after trying to commit suicide. Palahniuk establishes the fact you are Peter and sets the tone for what you are like by telling you, “If you’re reading this, welcome back to reality. This is where all that glorious, unlimited potential of your youth has led. All that unfulfilled promise. Here’s what you’ve done with your life. Your name is Peter Wilmot. All you need to understand is you turned out to be one sorry sack of shit”.

s the novel progresses, you learn that Peter did some remodeling to a few of the houses on the island while people were away. During this remodeling time, he would plaster over doors and remove rooms from some of these houses. Behind his newly created walls he would leave messages like, “…to slaughter all of you as an offering, every fourth generation” and, “…your blood is our gold”. It seems as though Peter has gone crazy, but in actuality he has been leaving messages for Misty and the island tourists to discover.  Palahniuk does a great job of using these messages to reveal a big piece of the story without the reader actually knowing it. These messages foreshadow the events that occur later in the novel.

At the climax of the story, Misty’s close friend Angel, who lives in her old house, tells Misty that she is part of a scheme that the local islanders partake in, in order to keep the wealth of the island people. Every fourth generation, the sons of the island leave the island and go to art schools around the nation to find the greatest artist, in this case Misty Kleinman. The one who finds her, in this case Peter, must bring her back to the island so she will paint a masterpiece that will play a major part in the scheme of the islanders. Although Peter does not love Misty, he has to marry her to keep the tradition of the island, and commonly refers to himself as “the f***ing lucky one”.

I don’t want to reveal anymore of the story plot in case this review has inspired you to read this novel, but I will say that it is very well written and one of my personal favorite reads of all time. Palahniuk uses tons of sensory imagery and creative syntax to keep the reader involved and interested. Diary, in my opinion, truly is one of the great novels of our time. I will warn you though, that if you don’t like reading strange novels that involve thought and creativity, this novel is probably not for you. Also if you take offense to curse words, I strongly recommend against this novel, for Palahniuk has no problem with them, and drops the F-bomb a few times in every chapter. I hope this won’t keep you away from this novel, for it really is a great novel, and a book I’m truly glad that I read.

   - Spencer B.