Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk (2018)

L: 1.5/10

M: 2/10

Analysis from a commemorative soda can:

Ughhh. So…

As a Chuck Palahniuk loyalist through and through, it pained me to finish this book. There is very little to like in this one. Summarizing the story in a review form is a hard task.

Adjustment Day didn’t have much that stood out beyond it’s over the top violence somewhere in the middle of the story but at the beginning of the tale. As much of the story jumps around time, further confusing the already thin story, unlikable character after unlikeable character is thrown at you. None are worth centering enough of this jumbled up story around for long enough to keep a flickering flame of interest.

The “Chuckisms” are still present within Adjustment Day, almost distractingly so, in the quotes that are read with no real reason or meaning from the book, from which this book is based, which is actually the same book, but not the same book because we are reading a story about book…. that makes a little more sense than Adjustment Day itself. Mr. Palahniuk likes to drop you off in a fog in the beginning pages of many of his stories, and half of the fun is fighting your way out to the top of the story, just to watch the world fall down around its characters in smoldering ash. Adjustment Day is a pile of soot from the very beginning, and it only smears itself around for a couple hundred pages into a black mess.

Yeah, I don’t really even want to talk about what this story is about.

This could be the single Chuck book that I wouldn’t recommend reading. Yet, in no way will I hesitate to pick up his next one, and his next after that.

Analysis from the one stamp left that isn’t forever:

You know that age in adulthood where you look back on your parent’s lives and think, “Man, sometimes they really did some stupid shit,” and it sort of breaks your heart a bit? Yup, daddy Chuck did me wrong with this book. I hated this mess from page one. It was hard to follow, but most of his works are a bit tricky and make you work for it. However, the payoff is typically worth it. Not here.

It felt like his answer to 1989 or The Handmaid’s Tail. A grittier version of what the world is to become. I wish he had actually developed the concept. Instead, it felt like he had his eye on a new beach house and wanted a quick closing, so he threw this book together quickly and sent it out for mass production/profits. There were no redeeming qualities of this book. When I finished it, which took forever because even picking it up was a chore, I was pissed. The only realization the final sentence brings is that you have, in fact, invested time and money into something you would find in the bargain section of the airport newsstand in paperback.

I did want to note that he took the time to give himself several shoutouts in this book. He referenced himself and Fight Club on more than one occasion. I did not like this. It felt almost offensive?? It was like a wink at the readers, but instead of being cute, it felt patronizing and as if Chuck thinks his readers are all blithering fans who would get a big chuckle out of it instead of thinking it’s bizarre to write about yourself writing while writing. I just wanted to put that out there.

Also, I am picking a Chuck book next because my love for him is fierce, and I need him to redeem himself asap.

Chuck Palahniuk

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