20 Bad Books By Good Authors

Tell-All

Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Released: 2010

One of the many joys derived from reading a good Chuck Palahniuk novel (Fight Club, Haunted, Diary) is the awareness that you're in the hands of a fearless experimenter. His stories can induce feelings akin to whiplash or vertigo in readers, with their randomly interspersed factoids, constantly repeated phrases, and moments of nauseating grotesqueness that are played equally for laughs and horror.

Sometimes, unfortunately, free-wheeling artists fly way off the rails, and Tell-All is Palahniuk's least successful attempt to shake up the literary form. In what's essentially a Sunset Boulevard-esque tale of souls thriving and being corrupted in Hollywood, the author goes overboard with his movie trivia inclinations.

The best way to read Tell-All, if you're inclined to do so, is to keep IMDb open on a nearby computer at all times. On every page, there are multiple names of real-life, old Hollywood actors, actresses, and directors all bolded and maddeningly distracting. Rather than power the actual narrative, the novel's endless stream of name-drops is a huge deterrent. It's almost as if Palahniuk is actively trying to get you to put the book down and never look back. —Matt Barone

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