Diary is another very strange book by Chuck Palahniuk. When he’s planning a book he probably just comes up with a bunch of very random ideas and says “ok, these all have to be in the same book.” Diary is no exception to this rule as it has some very strange stuff going on in it.
The book is the coma diary of Misty Wilmot. A coma diary is a diary kept when a person you love is in a coma (in this case her husband Peter) and you want them to be able to read about everything that went on in your life while they were in a coma should they ever come out of their coma. Misty was a fairly promising art student who now works as a waitress at the only hotel on Waytansea island. By the end of the novel, Misty’s character annoyed me. I didn’t think some of her actions were in any way normal human reactions and going through her backstory which is told in the novel, the only way that the story happens is if she is a complete moron.
The book is mostly set on Waytansea Island (which I’m really hoping he just made up for the book, because that is just too unlikely of a name otherwise). The island is basically a paradise which at the moment is overrun with tourists.
Misty is working as a waitress because her husband tried to kill himself but only ended up putting himself into a coma. Having given up on her artwork, Misty hasn’t drawn anything for years and doesn’t plan on drawing anything until after she finds that her husband remodeled houses to cover up existing rooms with walls and left vile messages all over the walls of the rooms that he covered up. She then begins drawing again and gets caught up in an elaborate scheme to help rescue the island from being overrun by tourists and poverty.
This book was very weird (which is redundant, I already said Palahniuk wrote it) and big parts of it really didn’t work for me. The book jacket says that her husbands messages inspired her to draw again, but to me that connection didn’t work very well in the book. I was also really irritated by how she ended up leaving art school and coming to the island. (Small Spoiler ahead.) She left because she got pregnant, however, the reason she got pregnant is in large part because Peter was messing with her birth control. He first switched it with cinnamon candy, then he “accidentally” flushed an entire bottle of it down the toilet, and she still kept sleeping with the guy. She obviously doesn’t want to be pregnant, he is obviously trying to get her pregnant, but she keeps going out with him? That in many ways was the basis for the entire story and it just didn’t work for me at all.
Palahniuk’s books are all weird, but he is usually able to bring everything together somehow to create an interesting story. This one didn’t work out for me.