Doomed is the second novel in a trilogy that started with Damned. In Damned Madison Desert Flower Rosa Parks Coyote Trickster Spencer finds herself damned to Hell after being murdered at the ripe age of 13. Hell, it would seem, deals in the currency of Halloween trick or treat spoils, being forced to work in telemarketing, or watching The English Patient on constant repeat. She falls in with Hell’s version of The Breakfast Club (a rocker, a nerd, a beauty and a jock) and together they take Maddy on a tour of Hell. During her time as a telemarketer, Madison is so charming on the phone that she convinces people to commit mortal sins so they can join her in hell and soon she becomes the top recruiter of souls for Satan. With a gang of admirers and followers, Madison soon conquers all of the bullies in Hell. At the end of the book she rings her famous parents and tell them they were wrong about atheism and encourages them to fart, belch and swear themselves into redemption in the afterlife.
Doomed begins when Madison finds herself trapped on earth after missing her curfew on the one night the residents of hell walk on earth, Halloween, in order to top up on their trick or treat booty. As a ghostly spirit she is caught in a sort of purgatory where she can see everyone who is “pre-dead” and also those spirits that are “post-dead” who are wandering the earth. Her do-good celebrity parents have begun a bogus religion worshipping Madison and have built an entirely plastic continent in the middle of the pacific called Madlantis. In flashback we see her earlier life including the death of her kitten whose body clogs up the plumbing system and a death that takes place in a filthy highway rest stop in upstate New York, which may well be the reason Madison ended up in Hell in the first place.
Chuck Palahniuk’s books are not for the faint hearted and Doomed is no exception. This is a grotesque and biting satire on the celebrity hungry America of the 21st Century that is obsessed with cult religions and meaningless pursuits. Told through tweets of a fat, anxious, precocious teenage girl who has been given the unenviable task mediating between God and the devil, Doomed is a blackly comedic read that is part Judy Blume, part Easton Ellis in terms of its grotesqueness. I have read all of Mr Palahniuk’s books and by far these two books are my favorites. Doomed is a dark and twisted apocryphal vision that reads like a YA novel from Hell. Brilliant.
Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk is publshed by Random House.