oh. dear... I'm really sucky at describing these books, mostly because they defy description but also because I don't have the talent required. But I will try.
"invisible monsters" is a book that is characterized by caricature. It's a first-person story told by a girl who does tell you her name for the longest time, who's like is odd to say the least. Palaniuk has a way of turning everything around and inside out to expose something so horrid about human nature, so unflinchingly perverse or dark that it's hard not to look. Sex is a big theme in most of his novels, but this one less than most of them.
Really it is a story about two things; the first is the narrator and the plot line of the story. The second thing it's about it image. Not just images or our image that we project to other people but also images of self and how an image can in some ways be self destructive as the self is always changing, to cling to one image is to cut the whole down to a single facet, throwing the rest away.
So, "Invisible Monsters" is in someways about her breaking free from image, becoming invisible and monstrous, inhabiting the whole of herself and what she does to get that. It's an extreame book. I recommend having a long stretch of time in which to read it. You won't want to put it away.
"White Oleander" is in someways very similar but in more so different it's ridiculous. Oddly, the writing syles and narrative voice are similar. They both are reminiscent or Keroac's lyrical descriptions, as much poem or song as prose. But "White Oleander" acknowledges beauty where "invisible monsters" scorns and eschews it. Janet Fitch's character of Astrid is one of those characters that I wanted to pull out of the book and smack some sense into. There were so many times when I had to but the book down for a moment to get some distance from it.
"White Oleander" follows Astrid through her early teens and witnessing the murder of her mother's boyfriend and the resulting fall through the looking glass of the foster care system. Her mother is a poet and as heartless as she could be.
I like the story line, but it wasn't the plot that got me. It was the style. It was how beautifully strung together her words were, like pearls on a string. It was, many times, so much more intense to read something awful described with such beauty that it was hard for me to not get caught up in it. But then again I let myself get too caught up.
so... yeah. lots of comment for tiny little question. lol.