“Telling the truth wasn’t sufficient power. As consolation the remaining journalists convinced themselves that no absolute truths existed. This new untruth they propagated as the new truth. The entertainment value, the ability to titillate or provoke, came to be the litmus test of any new truth.”
Guys. Is it bad that I love this cover? It’s a freaking pop art cover with severed ears. I loveeee itttt.
I really liked being back in Chuck’s mind and getting to explore another satirical future of his. There was everything you would expect here, including biting humor, absurd vulgarity, grand ideas, and controversy. I enjoyed the book for sure, but compared to his other novels, it wasn’t my favorite.
So, while this was my first dabble back into Chuck’s work after a few years, I cannot say that it was the best. It was good, it was okay, and parts of it were very intriguing, but overall, it was a bit of a letdown.
For the most part, this was a solid satire about the modern atmosphere of our America (politics, race, and class) at the moment and has been described as Fight Club, but on a grander scale. I thought the book started really well and I was instantly on board with the “youth bulge” concept and the idea that the authorities were going to send all of the young men in America to be sacrificed in a faux war. On board in the sense that I love dark humor, social commentary, and Chuck’s particular brand of existential satire. I don’t actually want to annihilate all of the men in the world, don’t you worry. I respected that he attacked everyone equally (progressive!) and made fun of the flavor of our society today.
I also really liked that there was a book within a book here and the whole story was set around this doctrine of some mythic revolutionary named Talbott Reynolds. And, with the hardcover at least, when you took the dust jacket off the book, underneath it was the “dark blue book with gold lettering” written by Talbott Reynolds. I love details like that!
So, the text was sprinkled with little mantras and philosophies from Reynold’s book throughout, breaking up some of the interweaving plot points (I liked that there were no chapter breaks, just these nuggets of wisdom here and there). But they were hit or miss, honestly. Some of the them were pretty simple, recycled ideas that Chuck has used before and done better. Overall, I liked that part of the novel, though. Even if he is repeating himself somewhat, I am always a fan of what he has to say.
What I didn’t really care for, though was how much the middle of the book dragged on. It started out fast and strong and really hooked me into the story, but then it settled into a pretty dull, tedious middle. By the time we got to the “big event, ” to Adjustment Day, I was dying for some action. But then, the event (Basically a huge coup where all the downtrodden, overlooked, or expendable people in America turn on the pretentious, wealthy, over-educated authorities. And shoot the shit out of them.) was over in a jiffy and the book slogged on for another hundred or so pages trying to tie together what the aftermath and recovery looked like. The rest of the book was kind of all over the place and a little sloppy. It jumped between a ton of different perspectives and time periods, making it a little confusing and disorienting, as well. There were way too many POVs in the book and many were completely unnecessary. Only a handful added any genuine weight to the story and I couldn’t connect with them. The events as well, were portrayed at a distance, keeping the reader from really experiencing them or being involved.
For a while, we just go back and forth between these character views and witness how their overthrow wasn’t actually fixing anything, etc. etc. and then the book is basically just over. The ending was ok, but there was no real resolution. Which, yes, is Chuck fashion through and through to have an unsatisfying ending, but I didn’t really feel the impact this time, because I didn’t give a rat’s ass about any of the characters. There were too many of them! There was some classic Chuck nonsensical shock factor, which is fine by me, I like that. But it felt almost forced this time. Just a bit like there was no passion behind it, because none of the numerous characters inspired it. Which was slightly disappointing as a reader.
I know you don’t go into a Chuck Palahniuk novel expecting to feel great and happy at the end – far from it! But, I did expect a little bit more from Adjustment Day. What did you guys think?