Havoc. Chuck Palahniuk may be the only author who could lead readers to laugh about terrorism. His new novel, Pygmy, describes the exploits of a group of teenage exchange students sent to the United States from an unnamed country. Their mission: Operation Havoc. The thirteen-year-old first person narrator is called “Pygmy” by his hosts, and while the language used is English, the grammar and sentence structure can be a challenge to read. I remembered my own struggles as a young teen trying to read the dialect in Huck Finn. Typical of Palahniuk, the level of description for both sexual content and violence are likely to stress the most tolerant readers. Pygmy bears no resemblance to High School Musical, yet teens typically act in ways that stretch the limits of any rules constraining behavior. The model U.N. and the science fair described on these pages will make most readers laugh out loud. Religion plays a role in Pygmy that will offend some readers and bring guffaws from others. Pygmy didn’t go to your high school, but he could have.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)