Sex sells and Chuck Palahniuk’s world in “Beautiful You” you can sell it inside a pink bag and men would soon be obsolete.The novel even opens with the lines “A billion husbands are about to be replaced.” Which would make you wonder why and how would a billion men be replaced?
Our protagonist 25-year-old Penny Harrigan wants to live with some sort of purpose in life than being a law firm’s coffee and chair girl. She didn’t want to be third-wave or post anything like the feminists before her. All she wanted was a choice beyond domestic life and a corporate or medical big shot. It wasn’t until a chance encounter with mega-billionaire and international playboy C. Linus Maxwell helped her discover what she wanted in life. Power and satisfaction.
Though fair warning, you will not find an erotic love story. If you want a sexy romance novel then don’t pick up this book. Because you will find yourself reading a satire of modern culture and feminism. It’s a story where Cinderella meets a sadistic Prince Charming who has plans for world domination.
After Maxwell invites Penny to dinner, he soon takes her to Paris however it wasn’t for a lovely and luxurious vacation. This is where the plot gets interesting and runs away from a 50 Shades of Grey cliche. Penny was actually chosen by Maxwell to be a test subject for his line of female sex toys. Yes you’ve read that right, Maxwell was creating a line of sex toys that would bring billions of woman to undreamed-of heights of sexual gratification for days end. Despite the good intentions of his products, Penny soon realized that her world would no longer be the same. She finds out that chaos can come out of being blissfully satisfied.
Maxwell’s series of sex products designed for women are so effective that one satisfied character exclaims, “Men are obsolete!…Anything a man can do to me, I can do better!” Women soon disappear from the public sphere to pleasure themselves in private, leaving a world of furious, obsolete penises.
Palahnuik paints a picture of man’s obsession with anything that gives pleasure for a few seconds and take advantage of it until we are sick of it. His point is that we are all slaves to modern culture and the pursuit of happiness that any commercial tells us we could buy. In a way our desires can wreck our lives if there’s nothing else that can satisfy us. Like an alcoholic or a drug addict, there are other vices out there that can pull us away from our sanity for the sake of pleasure. In a way Maxwell’s plan of world domination through self-induced bliss isn’t as ridiculous as it is eye opening.
Palahniuk’s Beautiful You will give you a glimpse of what an erotically enabled world would look like. He will take you to a wild, angry and jaw dropping imagination your head cannot fathom on its own.