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Review: Tell-All

June 22, 2010

Katherine Kenton is an aging movie star who has been tended to by Hazie Coogan for years.  Hazie is, in fact, very protective of “my Miss Kathie”, as she calls her and realizes that she had a big part in creating the persona of Katherine Kenton.  Miss Kathie – and Hazie – have survived several was-bands (former husbands) but Hazie starts to feel threatened when a new man makes an appearance in Miss Kathie’s life.  She decides that she needs to do something to protect Miss Kathie and comes up with quite a scheme!

I’ve heard so many people praise Chuck Palahniuk’s work, that I decided to grab his newest book, Tell-All, in audio form to listen to on a trip.  I’m not sure if I had my expectations set too high or what, but I didn’t love this book like I thought I would.  I didn’t hate it either, but it just didn’t wow me.

Tell-All refers to Old Hollywood a lot, and to be honest, a lot of those references were lost on me.  Of course, I recognized many of the names mentioned, but I didn’t really know anything about them.  I wonder if people who know more about that time would enjoy the book more than I did.

I didn’t feel any connection to the characters in Tell-All, but I don’t really think I was supposed to.  Since the book is told from Hazie’s point of view, Miss Kathie is kept at arm’s length.  Hazie doesn’t really reveal much about herself, so she’s not a character I warmed up to.

I listened to the audio version of this book, and overall, it felt a little too campy for me.  The unabridged version is on 5 CDs and lasts about 5½ hours.  It is wonderfully read by Hillary Huber – she is great with voices.  Check out the book’s trailer to see what you think:

I’m posting this to celebrate Audiobook Week which is being organized by Jen of Devourer of Books – go to her blog to check out more fun audiobook events this week!

I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

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42 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2010 6:27 am

    I know I definitely have to stay away from this one. I think I have been very vocal about not liking camp. I wonder if all of his books have those leanings.

  2. June 22, 2010 7:32 am

    I’ve read a couple of his books, and from your description, this sounds pretty tame compared to the ones I’ve read. Haunted physically made me sick, and Diary was just plain twisted. Not sure if I want to read this one or not.

  3. June 22, 2010 7:46 am

    Good review. The plot of the book sounds interesting but from your description of how it’s treated I’m not sure. Sounds like it missed it mark.

    Thoughts in Progress

  4. kaye permalink
    June 22, 2010 7:53 am

    Sorry this one didn’t do it for you. Hope the next one does wow you! Have a wonderful week and happy reading.

  5. June 22, 2010 8:20 am

    I just finished this one, too, and I have to say I did not think this was his best work. It felt phoned in. I wouldn’t base your opinion on this one. I love Palaniuk, and I was pretty much bored with it. I haven’t read Fight Club yet, but I keep hearing that is awesome. I liked Haunted a lot, but I’m sort of sick like that. 🙂


  6. June 22, 2010 9:01 am

    I have read a few by this author, and for the most part they were pretty bizarre. It sounds like this one was a little more tame. I am not a huge fan of this author, but this book does sound a bit more interesting to me than some of his others. Great review! I am glad that you liked the narrator of the audiobook.

  7. June 22, 2010 9:15 am

    I’m always glad to read a review that relieves me of the need to read something, considering all the books I do want to read! :–)

  8. June 22, 2010 9:25 am

    I do like Palahniuk’s work (at least the measly 2 books I’ve read), but his novels are usually very weird and I have to be in the mood for them. This one actually sounds kind of normal in comparison, I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

  9. June 22, 2010 9:34 am

    This one doesn’t interest me, and like Anna, Haunted made me ill!

  10. June 22, 2010 9:42 am

    I think he is an acquired oldest son really enjoys his stuff, but I just know he’s not for me.

  11. June 22, 2010 9:56 am

    Although I liked the movie Fight Club, I’ve never felt any need to read any of his books, although my sister really likes them. Sorry this didn’t wow you, though.

  12. June 22, 2010 10:53 am

    Chuck Palahniuk is not high on my list of wanna reads, but the CS has read–and enjoyed–most of his work. Perhaps there’s a generational, “hip” thing at work here. Sorry you didn’t like Tell-All (and because I am truly “un-hip” what was the point of the trailer? Didn’t seem to be about the book at all). Hope you have better luck with your next read/listen.

  13. June 22, 2010 10:54 am

    This is one author I’m unfamiliar with. Looks like I can happily stay that way. But I am sorry you wasted 5 1/2 hours of your time.

  14. June 22, 2010 11:13 am

    I went to a reading of his in Chicago a couple of years ago, and it put me off his books forever. It was so graphic and so disgusting that I couldn’t handle it. This one doesn’t sound as disturbing as the one he read aloud, but I am confident I will avoid it too.

  15. June 22, 2010 11:54 am

    I’m not sure Chuck Palahunik is my type of author (haven’t read him yet). He seems to be one that people either love or hate. His works, that is — not the person himself :-).

    But I’d guess that listening to it on audio frees you up to do other things at the same time (even if it’s just traveling), so it’s not a great loss if you didn’t love it.

  16. Let's Read permalink
    June 22, 2010 12:13 pm

    I haven’t read any of Palahunik’s books yet and am not sure ever going to try. I am sorry that your precious 5 1/2 hr was for almost nothing.

  17. June 22, 2010 12:49 pm

    I read one of his books in the past for a book club and lots of the people liked it but I didn’t really. I think maybe he just isn’t the right author for me!

  18. June 22, 2010 1:30 pm

    I’m not sure this one would be for me either. Good review!

  19. June 22, 2010 2:34 pm

    Blah. It could have been hilarious, but something trying to be funny but isn’t funny is a big letdown.

  20. June 22, 2010 2:41 pm

    I’ve never read one of Chuck Palahniuk’s books either, Kathy, but I have wondered about then for a while. Thank you for this honest review. It’s too bad you didn’t enjoy the book all that much. It doesn’t sound that great to me but I don’t know much about Old Hollywood and I’m not much interested in it! I thought Hazie sounded like she might be an interesting character so I was disappointed to read that not much is said about who she is.
    If I decide to give one of this author’s books a try one day, I think it’ll be a different one than this.

    Thank you for your review!

  21. June 22, 2010 3:04 pm

    I read one of his books ‘Rant’ last year. It was very different from anything I’d read before and like some other people had commented it was graphic. It was an interesting premise though and I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the film version of Fight Club so I might consider this book. Thanks for the review, I didn’t realize he had a new book out.

  22. June 22, 2010 3:31 pm

    That’s a shame becuase I would think a book like this would be a good read and pretty funny and interesting too. Maybe reading it would be better? Never read anything by Chuck but heard his work is good.

  23. Beth Hoffman permalink
    June 22, 2010 3:36 pm

    As a lover of great characterization, this one is definitely not for me. Good review, Kathy!

  24. stacybuckeye permalink
    June 22, 2010 3:49 pm

    An author I haven’t tried and I certainly won’t be starting with this one!

  25. June 22, 2010 4:34 pm

    I really like this review.

  26. June 22, 2010 5:25 pm

    Palahniuk’s books are so disturbing; although this one doesn’t sound too bad. Fight Club, Diary, and Choke are such intense stories. I haven’t read this one yet – obviously.

  27. June 22, 2010 7:29 pm

    I think my mom would enjoy this one. She’d enjoy and understand all the old Hollywood references!

  28. June 22, 2010 7:34 pm

    is this the author of ‘fight club’? i haven’t read anything he’s written but do like the cover! sorry it was a bit of a let down.

  29. June 22, 2010 10:10 pm

    I haven’t read any of his books – sorry this one didn’t work for you.

  30. June 22, 2010 10:49 pm

    I haven’t read anything by this author although I do have Fight Club with me.

    Sorry, you didn’t love this as much.

  31. June 22, 2010 10:51 pm

    I have never read this author. None of his books that crossed my path have even said “read me”…LOL

  32. June 23, 2010 11:39 am

    I might enjoy this one since I love Old Hollywood. Sorry you had a hard time with it! The at-arms-length from the character might bother me though. I wasn’t too crazy about that book trailer!

  33. June 23, 2010 12:38 pm

    I read one of his books — definitely weird! But I kind of liked it. On the other hand, I haven’t read anything else by him, so what does that say?

  34. June 23, 2010 2:52 pm

    I’ve never read any by him, but this one doesn’t sound like one for me. I’m sure I wouldn’t get 90% of the Hollywood references, and that always annoys me.

  35. June 23, 2010 7:17 pm

    This one doesn’t really interest me, but you should try out something else by Chuck. I’m personally a big fan of Survivor. I’d go with that one as a favorite. Invisible Monsters is a bit crazy and intense but really good as well.

  36. June 23, 2010 7:36 pm

    This one sounds SOOOO different from Palahniuk’s other work. He’s usually…how do I put this…really GROSS. Most of his premises and actual execution make me cringe, and he’s good a cringe-worthy. This one just sounds Hollywood-weird.

  37. June 23, 2010 8:23 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try this author too … but maybe I’ll pick a different book.

  38. June 23, 2010 8:42 pm

    Pretty short for an audio! I’ve only read one Palahniuk book and I’m not sure I’ll go back for more–very vulgar (Choke). I just finished listening to Thirteen Reasons Why and it was the best audio production I’ve listened to. Highly recommend it (not sure I would have liked reading it as much as listening to).

  39. June 23, 2010 8:44 pm

    At least it wasn’t too long!

  40. June 25, 2010 11:20 am

    I’m not big into Hollywood either, and when I read books that feature a bunch of famous names, I go like ‘Who are they? What’s the deal?’ I haven’t read Chuck Palahniuk yet, but I sure hope to.

  41. June 26, 2010 1:59 pm

    I really enjoy Palahniuk’s work, but it’s not for the reasons I usually enjoy books. None of Palahniuk’s work, at least none of the pieces that I have read, feature warm characters that I can relate to. His books are strange and sometimes difficult to understand. But usually what he does is so unusual and unexpected that in the end, I find all the work to keep up worthwhile. I love the way he challenges modern conventions with his work to produce stories that aren’t something you’d want to necessarily cuddle up to. But because of that, I totally understand why some people don’t warm up to his work like I have.

    I haven’t read this piece of his yet. But when I saw it at the bookstore, I was definitely excited at the prospect of digging into another one of his very strange pieces of fiction.

  42. September 18, 2010 10:20 pm

    I listened to INVISIBLE MONSTERS (by Chuck Palahniuk; narrated by the late Anna Fields.) When I was listening to it, I was a bit chagrined by the vulgarity and crudity and, when I had finished, I didn’t know what to think! Then two days later, when I wasn’t thinking about it at all, consciously, I had an epiphany about the book and now I think he was absolutely brilliant! I have SURVIVOR (narrated by Paul Michael Garcia) in my queue; but not TELL-ALL. I got the impression you really do have to know who the old-Hollywood types are in order to appreciate it and to be honest, that’s just not my thing :-/

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