From the author of Fight Club, the classic portrait of the damaged contemporary male psyche, now comes this novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of a new product that gives new meaning to the term "self-help."
Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan's most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of gratification for days on end. What's not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of feminine products to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell's plan for battery-powered world domination must be stopped. But how?
As with most of his works, the beginning of the book is a shocker, which leads the reader to wonder how in the hell we wound up here. And, like the wings of a dragonfly, the story begins to wind itself into the twists and turns that brought the two main protagonists together, really, by chance.
Oh, Penny. Poor Penny. She is a simple gal from Omaha with big dreams that took her to New York City to work as a gofer at a law firm until she (finally) passes the bar exam - which, in two tries, has not worked out. In a chance meeting with C. Linus Maxwell (or, Climax-Well, as he is known in the tabloids), she is flung headfirst into what she first thinks is a romance for the ages, but oh was she wrong. (In this portion of the book, I felt like I was reading a step-cousin of Fifty Shades of Grey, for the record.)
C. Linus Maxwell and his company own tabloids, software companies, and pretty well everything under the sun. What Penny doesn't know is that she is about to be used as a guinea pig for a new line of "personal care products" called Beautiful You. And by "personal care products", I mean sex toys. In case there was any confusion. From their first dinner, Maxwell and Penny are thrust into the spotlight, their story unfolding as front page news - mostly in the tabloids that Maxwell owns.
What she doesn't know is that it is part of Maxwell's master plan to not only keep ninety-eight percent of the women of the world under his thumb via repeated orgasms after his Dragonfly product "breaks" inside them, but, with his little black box, feeding sales of ugly shoes and other items into companies that he owns. Add in additional characters such as Maxwell's former lovers; an award-winning actress, and the female President of the United States, for two. And, it would definitely not be complete without the equivalent of a sexual witch doctor, who lives in a caveside in Nepal.
Without giving too much away, I wouldn't call this Chuck's best or worst work. What I would call it is an entertaining read that sits somewhere in the middle. If you like a quick, good book, and also enjoy Chuck's work as much as I do, Beautiful You is a great choice for your next read.