Tender Branson is a member of a Creedish religion that, when the "Deliverance" happens and all the members still living in the commune kill themselves, is considered a cult. Creeds have been taught that once the deliverance happens, they are to kill themselves. However Tender doesn't feel like killing himself. He's not happy, but he's not sad either. He just exists, cleaning and giving etiquette lessons to a rich family.
The story is essentially Tender dictating his life story into the black box of an airplane he has hijacked. There is no one left on board, as Tender has seen to it that everyone is safe. We learn about Fertility, Tender's friend who can see into the future, and Adam, Tender's brother who was expected to be dead. After some suspicious suicides, Tender becomes a celebrity for being the last remaining member of the Creedish cult.
There's a bit of a social commentary on celebrities in this book, but it's not at all preach-ish. Palahniuk mocks celebrities through Tender's stories and it is pretty entertaining.
Adding to the intrigue of this book is the fact that the chapters and pages count down rather than up. But the best part of the book is when you're done and you take it all in. The end of the book is complete, yet left completely up to the reader and his/her imagination on what happened. Does Tender live or die? There are some clues dropped throughout the whole book that could lead you either way. If you visit Palahniuk's site, he gives his interpretation.
While I didn't find the overall plot gripping, I was googling this book when I was done because the ending didn't sit well with me. And when I realized that it wasn't meant to sit well with the reader, I was really intrigued. How often is it that a twist in the book comes after the book is finished?? It takes talent for a writer to pull that off.
First Line: "Testing, testing. One, two, three."