4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Grow up. Cheer up.,
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
I first read this book as a teenager. I cannot really remember what I thought of it, except that it was awesome. At this time, I also thought Beavis and Butthead were awesome. Re-reading it a couple of decades later, I can only conclude that Naked Lunch is so self-consciously repulsive and provocative that only a teenager would find it amusing. Not a chapter goes by without countless “look-at-me” dirty words and singularly vile ideas, including but not limited to any and every conceivable kind of sexual malpractice, such as child sodomy and various creative forms of rape.
Is there a point to it all? Well, not really. Naked Lunch was intended to be the deranged scrawlings of a mind shredded by years of truly heroic drug intake. It was also intended to be as foulsome, offensive and controversial as conceivably possible. For a book written in the 1950s, it is astonishingly daring. This, however, adds limited value.
More than anything, the whole thing just feels so… immature. Like I said, think Beavis and Butthead. I am neither impressed nor shocked by the C-word, no matter how many times you use it per page. Nor are stories of sexual deviancy particularly amusing. Nor do I find it appealing in any way to be dragged through such a pointlessly bleak and unpleasant world, especially when there is no pay-off. To be absolutely clear, I am not someone who is easily offended or put off by gloomy cheerlessness – I love Cormac McCarthy for Pete’s sake – but Naked Lunch amounts to such a dreary experience.
By the end of the first few chapters I found myself a little tired of being repulsed, and just plain bored by the cultivated misery of it all. By the end of the book, I couldn't wait to move on to something a bit cheerier. Like Jude the Obscure.