Beautiful You Audiobook by Chuck Palahniuk (REVIEW)

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Reviews | 38 comments

Review of: Beautiful You Audiobook
Chuck Palahniuk

Reviewed by:
On April 19, 2016
Last modified:May 21, 2016


Beautiful You Audiobook

By: Chuck Palahniuk

Narrated by: Carol Monda

Published by Recorded Books 10/21/14

Beautiful You Audiobook by Chuck Palahniuk

2.5 Stars rating

7 hrs and 42 mins

Genre: Fiction

Beautiful You Audiobook Sample

Beautiful You Audiobook

2.5 Hearts

Ah, where to start with this book?? Let’s start with what put this book on my radar. I saw two authors tweeting about it, Andrew Shaffer and Kitty Thomas. If you’re not familiar with these two authors, Kitty Thomas writes some pretty psychological erotica which is pretty amazing, but not for everyone. Check out Comfort Food or Guilty Pleasures to see some books by her. Andrew Shaffer is Tiffany Reisz’s husband. He has written some books like Fifty Shames of Earl Gray and How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters. Anyway, their conversation really peaked my interest in this book. It was too long ago to look up, or i would share it with you.

Anyway, this book is written by the author of Fight Club. That is a book that I haven’t read, but I love the movie. I’ve also seen this movie listed on several lists of movies that were better than the book, so that hasn’t made reading Fight Club high on my list. Not to mention that it isn’t a genre a normally frequent. Anyway, Beautiful You, sounded interesting, so I decided to take a chance and read it. I will say that I read it without having read any of the reviews on Goodreads, since no one I follow had read it.

I guess I should talk about this actual book now.This story starts off with Penny Harrigan in a court room where she is raped in court in front of everyone and no one lifts a finger to help her. As I listened to this, I wondered what was going on. Was she having a nightmare? This couldn’t actually be happening. It took me a while to actually figure out how this fit into the story. It was a very brief scene and it left me starting off the book very confused. It only got weirder from there.

Penny Harrigan is an average woman. She is from a small town in Nebraska. She makes her way to the big city of Manhattan working at a law firm trying to make her way into passing the bar exam and becoming a lawyer herself. She meets one of Manhattan’s most eligible bachelors, C. Linus Maxwell, aka “Climax-Well”. He takes her to Paris where he proceeds to work with her to test his new line of sex toys. They have tons of sex while he is as cold and scientific as you can get. She has some of the best sex in her life. She has several brief conversations with one of his past lovers who is a very successful actress, but doesn’t seem to be doing well health wise or emotionally. Then there are several of his other past lovers who seem off, is the best way to put it.

Then he decides he is done with his testing and throws her out and the new line of products come out. Women flock to the stores. They basically become addicts to the feelings that his products are providing. Women are calling in sick from work. Many are going missing. They are basically acting like meth addicts, but with masturbation. Even stopping to eat is something that they aren’t thinking about it. You would think that is where the weirdness comes to a head, but it only gets worse from there. Penny seeks out the old shaman-like woman who Maxwell learned all of his tricks from. There is a court trial where Penny tries to take down Maxwell. Penny learns a very hidden secret. The ending is very weird.

I don’t even know what to make of this book or what genre to put it in (hence just listing it as “fiction”). There are parts I thought were interesting. There were parts where I felt that the author just took things too far as to not be even remotely believable. I liked Penny as a character for the most part. Maxwell was the jerk he was meant to be. You really had to feel for his past lovers, who while looking very successful, you figure out they aren’t very happy. It is not a book that a lot of people will enjoy. I think the idea had merit. I’m just not sure that fleshed out in the best way possible. This book is interesting. I don’t know that I enjoyed it. I believe that the word that caught my eye in the original Twitter convo was “disturbing”, which that it is. I do like some pretty out there books sometimes, but this wasn’t one of them. I’m giving it 2.5 stars because it is written well and it did keep me very interested with what would happen next. I don’t know that I would recommend it unless it something that really sounds interesting to you.

Beautiful You Audiobook Narration

4 Hearts

This is the first book that I’ve listened to with Carol Monda. I thought she did a great job with narration. I did listen at an increased speed, but that is not abnormal for me. I thought she did a great job with the men and women. I thought she was great with the cold and calculating Maxwell. I thought she covered some of the downward spiral of several of the women really well. The old crone woman was voiced really well as well. I would look forward to listening to her again.

Author: Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk

Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation ofFight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor andInvisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’s first New York Times bestseller. Chuck’s work has always been infused with personal experience, and his next novel, Lullaby, was no exception. Chuck credits writing Lullaby with helping him cope with the tragic death of his father. Diary and the non-fiction guide to Portland, Fugitives and Refugees, were released in 2003. While on the road in support of Diary, Chuck began reading a short story entitled ‘Guts,’ which would eventually become part of the novelHaunted.

In the years that followed, he continued to write, publishing the bestselling Rant, Snuff, Pygmy, Tell-All, a ‘remix’ of Invisible Monsters, Damned, and most recently, Doomed.

Chuck also enjoys giving back to his fans, and teaching the art of storytelling has been an important part of that. In 2004, Chuck began submitting essays to on the craft of writing. These were ‘How To’ pieces, straight out of Chuck’s personal bag of tricks, based on the tenants of minimalism he learned from Tom Spanbauer. Every month, a “Homework Assignment” would accompany the lesson, so Workshop members could apply what they had learned. (all 36 of these essays can currently be found on The Cult’s sister-site,

Then, in 2009, Chuck increased his involvement by committing to read and review a selection of fan-written stories each month. The best stories are currently set to be published in Burnt Tongues, a forthcoming anthology, with an introduction written by Chuck himself.

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Narrator: Carol Monda

Carol Monda

Two-time Audie Award-winner, recipient of the Audio Publishers Association Earphones Award, and member of the Sag-Aftra National Audiobook Committee, Carol has narrated over 300 audiobooks in a wide range of genres including Biography, History, Dramatic Fiction, Inspirational, Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Current Affairs & Politics, Sci-Fi, Western, Pulp Fiction, and Romance.

She has narrated for Recorded Books, Audible Inc., Blackstone Audio, Harper Audio, Hachette Book Group, Books On Tape, Brilliance Audio,, Clipper Audio, Academic Merit, Edge Studio, HighBridge Audio, and METABOOK. Carol has been featured in interviews for VoiceOverxtra, TeenReads, Emily’s Reading Room, Abbreviated Audio and AudioFile Magazine. Her narration of Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway was named among the top10 audiobooks of 2013 by


Reviewed by:

ML Simmons Reviewer

  • 2.5
    editor rating
Melanie Simmons
I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.


  1. sorry to see it wasn’t a bit more. I confess that it’s the first time i hear about the book or the author but not sure it’s for me…

    • I don’t know that I had heard of this book before either. I’m not familiar with this author’s work outside of Fight Club, and there I only saw the movie. His work seems to have a bit of a M. Night Shyamalan feel, where what you know is really not what you know after all.

  2. I’ve enjoyed a few of his books in the past, but they’re all pretty odd lol! I could be wrong, but I’m going to bet you wouldn’t enjoy his other work either – just FYI.

    • I went back and read a few of the reviews after I finished this book and writing the review. I saw that this was listed as “Humor”. While I wasn’t offended by the book, like many women were, I didn’t find it funny. I guess it was supposed to be a parody, which really isn’t my thing. I changed my rating on this book three times. It is very well written and I liked some of the characters. I guess I just didn’t get the story. I think you’re right though, I don’t think I would like this author’s other work either. This was probably the hardest review I’ve ever written. I just don’t think I got the story enough to write a good review of it. I almost dropped it and didn’t write the review at all.

      • The last few books I read of his (back about 8-10 years ago) I had issues with and haven’t read one since. So it’s not just you. Reviews like this are the hardest to write, but you did a wonderful job 🙂

        • Thanks so much. I don’t know how many times I rewrote this. It was so hard.

  3. After reading your review, I think I will pass. I am not a huge fan of disturbing and this one sounds like it is all over the place, plus meth addict like masturbartion? Yikes.

    • This is the hardest review I’ve ever written. I don’t know that I got the story. From watching Fight Club, I knew this story would probably be a bit “out there”, but this was nothing like I was expecting. I don’t know what I was expecting.

  4. Okay seriously, no one helps her? How messed up is that? I can see why this one wasn’t for you, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it either. Thank you for the honest review!

    • By the end of the book, you realize why no one helps her. It was just weird. I kept hoping that something would come of the story, because I liked the characters, but I just didn’t get it.

  5. Huh, yeah, I can see why this would leave you struggling to figure it out. It’s like a horror-sci-fi general fiction thing. Neat how you discovered it.

    • It is actually listed under “humor”. I think it supposed to be a parody, but I don’t know of what. It was interesting, that is for sure.

  6. Well, that’s just odd. Meth addict like masturbation? Hmmm. I guess if done right but this one doesn’t seem like it was done right.

    • Yeah, women that didn’t even want to leave their rooms to eat and what they ate was just enough to get back at it. Pop Tarts and the like. This was weird. I did like the characters.

  7. Weird. Yet, I’m still curious. lol. Aaaand now I’m even more looking forward to Comfort Food.

    • Comfort Food is soooooo good. It was a five star read for me. It has some weird psychological stuff and isn’t for everyone, but I loved it. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  8. This does not sound like something I would read. Quite a story concept. Something I haven’t heard of before.

    • It was interesting. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried it. I had a really hard time with trying to decide how to rate it and even write the review. It was weird. I like weird in a lot of cases, but here, I just didn’t get it.

  9. This one wasn’t high on my TBL pile because I didn’t request it, the publisher just sent it. And after seeing your review I’m not sure if I want to even try it. It may just go straight to the library donation pile. LOL

    • It was interesting. I don’t see you enjoying it. It was weird. I’m glad I tried it. It will not be on my revisit list any time soon. 🙂

  10. Thanks for the review Melanie I haven’t heard of either of these authors

    • This is the first time I’ve read this author. I’m glad I tried it, but not my cup of tea.

    • I am trying to expand my genres. This was one of the hardest reviews to write. I didn’t know how write it. It was very well written. I just don’t think I got it.

  11. Yea, I have read books like this… confusing but interesting. Not usually my cuppa but I can see others enjoying it. Brilly review!

    • Thanks so much. I think I rewrote it several times. I changed my rating several times too. It was extremely well written. I liked the characters (or at least the ones I was supposed to like). I went back to Goodreads after I wrote this review and read some other reviews and saw that it was listed in humor. I guess it was supposed to be a parody. I just didn’t get it.

  12. I do like Kitty and disturbing but that just sounds eh to me. Sorry to hear it wasn’t a better one.

    • That was my thought too and why I decided to give it a go. Oh well, it’s really only eh, one I’ve had this year, so not a big deal.

  13. That sounds like a weird and confusing start of the book indeed. It sounds a bit like a psychological phenomena where the more people who are around the less likely someone will help you when something happens.

    It sure sounds disturbing and I can see what you had trouble labeling this one. I don’t think this would be a book for me, too weird.

    • It was a weird book. Oh, well, I’ve moved on to books that fit me better.

  14. Oh man, it’s been a long time since I read a Chuck Palahniuk book. His stories are all pretty odd, so I’m not too surprised by the direction this seems to take. But based on you description I think I’ll stay away from it.

    I read Fight Club when I was in high school and really loved it. I tried doing a re-read a couple years ago though and found that it really didn’t age well for me at all. Still love the movie though.

    • This has a bit of a M. Night Shyamalan feel to it. There are things you didn’t know about the story until the end. I loved the Fight Club movie, even after I learned all the pieces. I think I loved more after I knew everything (which I didn’t with the Shyamalan movies).

  15. This was my first ever Chuck Palahniuk read, and I felt the same way you did. It definitely had some interesting parts, and the story did keep me reading for sure. Great review, I think you summed up my feelings much better than my review did.

    • Thanks so much Lisa. It was probably the hardest review I’ve written. I kept changing things. I also wasn’t real sure exactly how I felt about the book, which made it really hard to write too. I think I changed my rating three times too. I just couldn’t decide how I felt about it, so I would change it, then I would change my review and change the rating again. In the end, I was happy with my review and glad I read the book, even if I didn’t love it. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have to go check out your review. 🙂

    • I loved Fight Club, which was kinda an odd movie, so I kinda knew it was going to be odd. This was odder than I expected. I like going into books mostly blind and I think this is what I get for it. It was interesting and I was glued to it wanting to know what happened next. Not one I would highly recommend, unless you’re looking for odd.

  16. Oh wow… this actually sounds kind of confusing… and odd. I don’t think I’d rush out to get it…

    • It was a little confusing. It was interesting and kept me listening wanting to know what would happen next. But yeah, it was weird.

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