Beautiful You: A Novel

Beautiful You: A Novel

3.1 11
by Chuck Palahniuk

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"A billion husbands are about to be replaced."

From the author of Fight Club, the classic portrait of the damaged contemporary male psyche, now comes this novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of a new product that gives new meaning to the term "self-help." 

Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan


"A billion husbands are about to be replaced."

From the author of Fight Club, the classic portrait of the damaged contemporary male psyche, now comes this novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of a new product that gives new meaning to the term "self-help." 

Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan's most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of gratification for days on end. What's not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of feminine products to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell's plan for battery-powered world domination must be stopped. But how?


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
There's a familiar plot for bad romance novels or romantic comedies. An awkward girl in the big city runs into a gentleman who's way out of her league. The two meet and the man begins to remake the girl from an ugly duckling into the confident, vivacious woman she never knew she wanted to be. And then the guy uses the girl to test his new line of designer sex toys. Sex toys so perfectly calibrated that women will stop pursuing careers, raising families, or even eating, choosing instead to spend all their time chasing pleasure in darkened rooms. Using the language and tropes of poorly written romances, Palahniuk springboards into a female version of his seminal work Fight Club, exploring what modern consumerist society does to women by trying to manipulate and control their sexuality. VERDICT While writing female protagonists has never been Palahniuk's strongest suit, his latest novel has a more powerful message and compelling hook than many of his recent efforts. Full of original imagery and sensibilities, this is sure to amuse and horrify even his most ardent fans. Casual readers will be hard pressed to find anything else like it on the shelf. Highly recommended for everyone except the prudish or readers of actual romance novels. [See Prepub Alert, 4/21/14.]—Peter Petruski, Cumberland Cty. Lib. Syst., Carlisle, PA

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
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Random House
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2 MB

Meet the Author

CHUCK PALAHNIUK is the author of thirteen novels—Doomed, Damned, Tell-All, Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Diary, Lullaby, Choke, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, and Fight Club—which all have sold more than five million copies in the United States. He is also the author Fugitives and Refugees, published as part of the Crown Journey Series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest. Visit him on the web at

Brief Biography

Portland, Oregon
Date of Birth:
February 21, 1962
Place of Birth:
Pasco, Washington
B.A. in journalism, University of Oregon, 1986

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Beautiful You 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over a little more than the last year, I've read all of Chuck Palahniuk's books. I thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority of them but some, for example, Pygmy, not so much.  So, of course, I dutifully pre-ordered Beautiful You.  Unfortunately, Beautiful You is more Pygmy than Choke or Lullaby or Rant.  It's kind of a one trick pony and very predictable.  A reviewer on another site found consolation in the fact that it is a short read at 222 pages.  Even at that, it took me an uncharacteristically  long time to get through it.  The writing just lacks the vibrancy of most of his other novels.  If you are already a Palahniuk fan, by all means, read it and decide for yourself.  If you are just trying him for the first time, this isn't the place to start.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is CLASSIC PALAHNIUK! I LOVED IT! I burned through it in a day! I agree that if you have never read any of his work, you might want out a little less traumatic as this piece will be a BRUTAL shock to some readers! At times he had me writhing in the characters pain and sharing their extasy! Only a couple times I felt as if he over wrote a scene. It was the cave dwelling parts seemed a bit of a stretch. Maybe possibly when the crone shows up at the church??? A bit over played? All in all its a CRAZY RIDE that every Chuck Palahniuk fan has to take! Best have some Pink Champagne close whilst you are reading! Just not the cheap stuff...
Anonymous 4 months ago
My first book i read by this author was damned..i have it on my ereader and on my bookshelf. I dont know from where this author pulls his stories from deep within himself but im glad he does it. I just finished beautiful you i could not put it down i guess i was like one of his characters in this book only minus the beautiful you dragonfly....every now and then i would look at chucks picture that is on the back of the book while reading his work ....i mean wow. Anyway for those who cant take the shock of his books there are those of us who thrive on it...cant wait to read another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never get comfortable or Chuck Palahniuk will come for you....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book during a signing. People were saying great things about Chuck Palahniuk's writings. The story line caught my attention, however, the only reason I finished the book is because I thought it would get better. The author describes details about his characters and the inventions which he seems to forget about by the end of the book. I often found myself saying, “What? That doesn’t make sense.” It was confusing and unbelievable. The main female characters were very unbelievable. This could have been a good book if it had been better developed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book to an extent, but a lot of it was too cliche. We expect from Palahniuk a kind of writing that pushes beyond the boundaries of what most people are comfortable with reading.  This book does just that, but its to a point that's almost more irritating than anything. Come on Chuck... The ability to shoot a literal hyper audio beam from a vagina? A 200 year old sex mystic? Flaming dildos that destroy the city? All in all, the book just seemed too much like Palahniuk was running out of decent ideas. 3 stars because Palahniuk still blew my mind away with how he describes detail in writing.
drmar More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time even giving this one star. It is such a debasement of woman and beyond ridiculous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting book not what I expected but it was enjoyable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh boy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ugh. None of the characters were very fully developed or were confusingly described. Was the antagonist a charming seducer or a cold scientist? The protagonist was even less developed. Premise is intriguing but some of the plot elements (the sex witch for instance living up on Mt Everest) were just too fantastical for my tastes. I have the bad habit of reading books even I dislike all the way through, always hoping for a payback. The ending was silly, so no payback.