Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk

Photo taken from Goodreads

Book Info
Title:  Tell-All
Author:  Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher:  Anchor
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  192 pages
ISBN - 10:  0307389820
ISBN - 13:  978-0307389824
Source:  Purchased, National Book Store


From Goodreads
"The hyperactive love child of Page Six and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? caught in a tawdry love triangle with The Fan. Even Kitty Kelly will blush. Soaked, nay, marinated in the world of vintage Hollywood, Tell-All is a Sunset Boulevard–inflected homage to Old Hollywood when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ruled the roost; a veritable Tourette’s syndrome of rat-tat-tat  name-dropping, from the A-list to the Z-list; and a merciless  send-up of Lillian Hellman’s habit of butchering the truth that will have Mary McCarthy cheering from the beyond. Our Thelma Ritter–ish narrator is Hazie Coogan, who for decades has tended to the outsized needs of Katherine “Miss Kathie”  Kenton—veteran of multiple marriages, career comebacks, and cosmetic surgeries. But danger arrives with gentleman caller Webster Carlton Westward III, who worms his way into Miss Kathie’s heart (and boudoir). Hazie discovers that this bounder has already written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie’s death in a forthcoming Lillian Hellman–penned musical extravaganza; as the body count mounts, Hazie must execute a plan to save Katherine Kenton for her fans—and for posterity. "

If you are a big fan of Old Hollywood movies, Old Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and others, you best read this book as it incorporates into its fictional world the likes of Lillian Hellman, Hedda Hopper, and Walter Winchell.

Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk relates the story of fading Hollywood star Katherine Kenton and how Hazie Coogan, her personal assistant discovers a murder plot by the latter's newest beau Webster Carlton Westward III through his celebrity tell-all book about Katherine, which documents how Katherine Kenton dies.  This morbid story of celebrity narcissism is told through Hazie's eyes in a very unique way:  Its narration is aided by this 'camera' that 'shows' the reader what he/she needs - or does not need - to witness.  It's like watching a movie on paper.

At first, this peculiar way of narration sort of muddles the reader's thoughts and distracts them from fully getting absorbed in the story, but as the plot progresses and the excitement builds, this unusual method even helps in fully understanding not only what is shown and explained, but what is implied and hidden.

The ways that Hazie and Katherine did to deflect the threatening ways in which the latter would be killed were so hilarious and downright ridiculous, and the excerpts from the fictional memoir so outrageously sexual and disgusting it's funny.  This book is filled with astounding amounts of humor without even intending to.

Like Old Hollywood stars' hidden scandals and tightly-kept secrets, this story is not all that it seems.  The discerning reader would be quick to point out inconsistencies in this book - which are not of an editorial nature, but which would help in understanding the direction that the plot would be taking towards the end.  A predictably-unpredictably ending would surely leave the reader "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" as sung by Helen O'Connell backed by the Jimmy Dorsey band.  If you've read this book, you perfectly know what I am talking about.

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  


  1. Ah, the joys of Palahniuk's writing. I hope you've read Fight Club. Brilliant stuff.


I just have to tell you, ARGH feeds on awesomeness, so if you can, drop him some awesome here, and I promise to give some awesome back :D

Right now, because of my really busy schedule, I'm cutting back on receiving awards. So until further notice, me and ARGH would not be accepting awards. But thank you for thinking of us, we really appreciate it!