We started this blog in 2010 after a New Years' Resolution to read 60 books between the two of us. (40 for C, 20 for D.) After reaching our goal, we decided to keep going in 2011. This year, C has pledged to read 30 books, and D will read 12. By no means are we professional reviewers; we're not even professional bloggers. We're just two people who love to read and decided to share our thoughts and offer our limited insights. We hope you enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk (4)

Guess who's back with a review? That's right. I was tired of Chassi calling me out . The problem is, right after I finished Chuck Palahniuk's Pygmy, I was engulfed in the tehno-thriller whirlwind that is Daemon (review coming soon!). Enough with the excuses, though.

Pygmy is classic Palahniuk. From the unnamed narrator to the repetition of key phrases, you'll find his numerous conventions in this book. So if you're a Chuck Palahniuk fan, you'll love this book. The end. If not...

Pygmy follows the exploits of a young "Agent Number 67," a teenage foreign exchange student from a nameless, communist, totalitarian regime (think North Korea meets Vietnam meets China meets Cuba). As a foreign agent, the narrator speaks in a very broken form of English, and it takes a few chapters to become acclimated to it. Honestly, it reminded me of the first time I read Huckleberry Finn. This was the cause of some early frustration, but by three or four chapters into it, I didn't even notice. After that, it was the source of some of the funniest moments in the book, as his descriptions of what he sees and interacts with in America are sometimes humorous and often hilarious.

Once you get past the language barrier, the story follows young Pygmy and his fellow operatives as they infiltrate a cookie-cutter copy of a Mid-Western American town and the families that occupy it. Perhaps the greatest thing about Pygmy is that the character development is flawless (again, classic Palahniuk), and the sprinkles of short chapters that explore the narrator's past training and brainwashing quickly became my favorite, as they brought to life a soulless communist state and revealed the drive behind Pygmy's actions.

Pygmy is a good book in the classic Palahniuk style, but the language barrier and the rushed ending kept it from being my favorite book by a great author.

3.5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: There is a gruesome rape scene at the beginning of the book that may bother some, and since it is pivotal to many of the plot elements, it is mentioned throughout the book.


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