Tell All sucks. Plain and simple. The barely there plot is boring and trite, and the books feels like nothing more than a beach read. This novel is highly lacking in Palahniuk’s usual insightful critique of American culture. This is a story about Kathie Kenton’s career (kind of), with asides explaining imaginary movie roles for some of the characters within the novel. And the twist ending left me completely unsatisfied.

There is one little twinkle of something that interest me in the latter half of the book. The main characters are reading a “lie-ography” about Kathie, and the narrator states:

I say that no memory is anything more than a personal choice. A very deliberate choice. When we recall someone–a parent, a spouse, a friend– as better than they perhaps were, we do so to create an ideal, something to which we ourselves can aspire. But when we remember someone as a drunk, a liar, a bully, we’re only creating an excuse for our own poor behavior” (Palahniuk 128).

This insight, I think, is interesting. This is a good explanation for most all the arts we ingest. It also says something about how we interpret certain characters in movies, books, music, etc..

It has been well proven that memory is fickle, and that memory always does a poor job of recalling anything. Even when it comes to something like a book. The character is there, “fixed,” and the story is there– always the same story, written in the same way, and when you go back to read it, all the words will be in the same place, saying the same thing. Yet, after time, the story is changed, or rather, the story is not changed, but the reader is changed. The reader takes on a new history (a new present), so now when a reader revisits a story, the story will change because the memory we have is nothing but a personal choice. The facts we “know” are nothing but facts we chose to know.

That quote takes me back to Anthony DeMillo who says that all we ever know of an other person is our impression of that person, which is to say like Levinas that once we try to thematize, put someone into words, that we limit that person and totalize that person as if the other were just the words we use to describe him/her.

I think this all goes back to language. Language is missing any kind of solid, really, fully present meaning, so memory, the other, all of experience, which is in language, can never be fully put into words (memory, etc).

My computer is dying so I end this here…

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