Chemical Pink

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A stunning and compelling portrait of two obsessed personalities and the perversely symbiotic relationship that draws them together.

Aurora Jeanine Johnson is an unwed mother from Savannah, Georgia, desperate to sculpt a new life—and a new body—in California, where the quest for the perfect butt or bicep reaches religious intensity. Spending every spare moment training at the gym, Aurora is barely getting by—until she meets the man who will ...

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Chemical Pink

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Overview

A stunning and compelling portrait of two obsessed personalities and the perversely symbiotic relationship that draws them together.

Aurora Jeanine Johnson is an unwed mother from Savannah, Georgia, desperate to sculpt a new life—and a new body—in California, where the quest for the perfect butt or bicep reaches religious intensity. Spending every spare moment training at the gym, Aurora is barely getting by—until she meets the man who will offer her everything she most desires.

Charles Worthington is a wealthy eccentric, rich enough to indulge his every decadent whim and fantasy. Aurora is his sexual ideal, the raw material from which he will shape his masterpiece. He will transform Aurora into the woman of his dreams — and fantasies — no matter the cost.

To achieve their common goal, Aurora hands over complete control of her life to Charles. He dictates her diet, her lifestyle, her training — and when and how much she'll take of the body-altering drugs he "prescribes" for her. He decides whom she sees and where she goes. And what kinky games of his own devising they will play.

For Aurora, everything that Charles asks is a small price to pay to become the woman she's always dreamed of being. Or is it?

Chemical Pink is a gothic duet that explores the boundary between obsession and pathology.

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Editorial Reviews

Susanna Moore
It is difficult these days to shock and beguile with a kind of aggressive innocence, but Miss Arnoldi has in this book. It is disturbingly funny and utterly unflinching.
Joan Didion
Chemical Pink is a dazzling first novel-entirely original, dizzyingly controlled, all ice-cool momentum on the surface and all shock below.
Carrie Fisher
Chemical Pink is a compelling novel that explores a dark and troubling world. I was fascinated-and occasionally repelled-by this rarefied subculture that Arnoldi so skillfully leads us into. She is a talented writer with a sharp, distinctive voice.
Booklist
Arnoldi's searing tale, a true binge read, boldly dramatizes the consequences of narcissism and misplaced ambition.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pygmalion goes to the gym in this tawdry expos of the fetishistic, dangerous world of women's bodybuilding. Charles Worthington, a middle-aged, sexually eccentric millionaire, finds his Galatea in Aurora Jeanine Johnson, a single mom with big bodybuilding dreams. Young, blonde Aurora arrives from Savannah, Ga., in search of a new life and a new body on the West Coast. Charles spots her on a beach, then tracks her down at the gym where she is training, and the two strike up a bizarre, co-dependent relationship. In exchange for financial support and full-time training, Aurora becomes her mentor's sexual plaything--though her instant and ongoing subjugation to the repulsive Charles defies all logic. Together, their goal is for Aurora to win a title in a top national competition. In exchange for working toward her dream, Charles takes complete control of Aurora's life--dictating her diet, her lifestyle, her training and her huge intake of steroids. As her training progresses, Aurora loses control over her life and neglects her young daughter, Amy. Supporting characters crawl out from beneath various rocks: a deranged ex-boyfriend named Skip DeBilda, who befriends Amy; Hendrik, Aurora's crooked trainer; and a motley cast of pumped-up grotesques at the gym. The writing is peppered with descriptions of bad outfits and sex acts so arcane as to be downright laughable. Arnoldi does try to provide an insider's look at this outlandish corner of the subculture, based on her own experience as a professional bodybuilder--too bad it's overshadowed by the porn. (Mar.) Forecast: This galley came to PW with two author photos, one a glam head shot of Arnoldi, the other of her in a pink bikini, flexing in triumph as the 1992 Southern California Bodybuilding Champion. She looks good in both, but it's obvious which one, if put on the book jacket, is going to galvanize browser attention. In any case, the publisher has some interesting marketing plans, including advertising in Women's Sports and Fitness, that should boost sales. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Los Angeles–set first novel about the obsessive cult of women's bodybuilding. When bodybuilding champion May leaves him, Charles Worthington, a wealthy southern California eccentric, patrols the Venice gyms for a new woman to sponsor. Charles is something new in fiction: a serial sculptor, owner, and destroyer of women's bodies. Into his gym life, and into the laboratory of his sponsorship, comes Aurora Jeanine Johnson, a single mother from the Deep South, and between them there occurs something of the telegraphy of sculptor and stone. Soon Aurora isn't just lifting and training as per Charles's instructions, but she's also eating, drinking, and injecting whatever she's told to. Charles chisels Aurora from hard-body wannabe to comic book superhero to sex toy—the object of Charles's fantasies. At first, that's an easy enough price for Aurora to pay. She's always aspired to a bodybuilding physique, and Charles's subsidies enable her to bring her teenaged daughter Amy to L.A. as well. But, like her body, the price Aurora pays grows in increments. The demands of the gym floor, the regimen of the kitchen, and the humiliation of the bedroom take their toll. Under all the growth hormones, Aurora's clitoris enlarges as her voice drops. Meanwhile, Charles's attraction to manly women develops into a compulsion for Doughdee, a black dominatrix with shoulders linebacker wide, while a resentful and neglected Amy wobbles on trendy cowboy boots that her thickening frame can't master. Arnoldi shows herself to be an impeccable, and sometimes lyrical, authority on the world she describes, providing litanies of the obsessions that gymratsdevelop—the work-out regimens, the growthdrugs, the nauseating side-effects—all juxtaposed with fastidious descriptions of Charles's sexual performances, where thrusts are counted like weightlifters' reps. The occasionally flabby prose and muscle-bound characterization undercut the impact of an exposé that's equal parts a Pumping Iron-documentary and a Harold Robbins shock-me please.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312878917
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/6/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.24 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Katie Arnoldi lives in Venice, California, where she surfs competitively in long board competitions. She is married to the painter Charles Arnoldi; they have two children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A crazy and fascinating read!

    I loved this book!! It was a very easy read. It was shocking and insane and just a very out of the norm read. You have to be open minded to be able to read it but it's super crazy & very much worth the money to have it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bought this book in 2001 after reading a review in my local news paper (Los Angeles Times)but just now got around to reading it. Excellent! For bodybuilders, athletes in general and just the plain 'ol curious about the hidden behind the scene details of professional competition. GREAT READ. Next time I won't wait 7 years :)

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting novel about obsession. . .

    Chemical Pink by Katie Arnoldi is a novel that explores how obsession can take over peoples' lives. This book is extremely entertaining. I read the book in one day, it was hard to pull myself away from it. This book is similar to a Chuck Palahniuk story, both delve into subjects that many people are uncomfortable dealing with. They both write stories in a way that keep the reader interested. Overall, Katie Arnoldi is a great writer and Chemical Pink is a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    An interesting novel about obsession. . .

    Chemical Pink by Katie Arnoldi is a novel that explores how obsession can take over peoples' lives. This book is extremely entertaining. I read the book in one day, it was hard to pull myself away from it. This book is similar to a Chuck Palahniuk story, both delve into subjects that many people are uncomfortable dealing with. They both write stories in a way that keep the reader interested. Overall, Katie Arnoldi is a great writer and Chemical Pink is a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2004

    a very great book for mostly all to love

    i loved this book a lot. even if your not a body bulider or athlete you would still probally enjoy this book ultimately. i utterly enjoyed it and i am no athlete or body bulider. i couldn't put it down for hours. it is good for ones who like twisted and hilarious story lines.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2003

    Is This Bodybuilding?

    What would compel someone to give themselves over totally to another for bodybuilding? This story of obsession and compulsion explores the mindsets behind the posing and glory of being a bodybuilding star..or does it? A very fast paced story which is not for the squeamish.Recommend read for someone truly interested in the world of bodybuilding and steroid usage.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2002

    Insanely amazing

    I started reading this when I got into bed, thinking I would read a few chapters before I got to sleep. I'd finished it by sunrise. If you like bleak humor this is for you. I also heard that Chuck Palahniuk is writing the script for the film adaptation with David Fincher directing. Always a good combination.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2002

    Good Great Grand Wonderful

    Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke) is rumored to write a screenplay for this Book and have David Fincher direct it. DO YOU NEED ANY THING ELSE THEN THAT!!!!!!!! whatever read this...genious....genious

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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