"So, my friend, he buys milk and eggs and sugar and a carrot, all the ingredients for a carrot cake. And Vaseline.
Like he's going home to stick a carrot cake up his butt."
Chuck Palahniuk is, for me, an author who becomes less impressive the more you read of him. When I first discovered him as a teenager, I was enthralled. I copied quotes from his novels onto the back of notebooks, and I read his stories over and over. But the more of his work I consumed, the more obvious his formulas became, and the less I enjoyed his stories. There are Palahniuk novels I still thoroughly enjoy to this day- Invisible Monsters is a favorite- but I can't shake the feeling that he's been writing the same book over and over again for years.
This is why I was so interested and excited by Haunted. A short story collection would force him to break away from his usual form and would let me appreciate the black humor and colorful characters that lead me to enjoy his work in the first place. However, none of the stories were particularly impressive, and the story that connected each tale together was fairly poor. There are poems to compliment each chapter of the book, but they come across as tacked on and, much like Palahniuk's novels, feel like he's writing the same thing over and over again.
The most famous story in this collection is "Guts", which gained attention after repeated incidents of vomiting at public readings. Read "Guts" here, go throw up on something, and give this book a pass.
1.5 skinny Saint Gut-Frees out of 5.