Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)

L: 10/10

M: 10/10

There is something comforting in reading a book for the second time. Even if some time has passed, was you resubmit yourself into the waters and get used to the temperature, the memories come flooding back, and you live them all over again. It may seem a little cliche, but this was the book that I stumbled upon in high school that made me realize that reading could also be enjoyable. Upon completing Fight Club, in those pre-Amazon days, I ran out to Barnes And Noble and swooped up his other book at that point, Survivor. Since then, I’ve been a Chuck Loyalist through and through, ups and down down downs.

I only read Fight Club one previous time, and around twenty years have passed since then. I’ve probably seen the movie five or six times in those years, so all my fresh memories of the story are more diluted towards that end of the spectrum. That being said, I feel like this is one of the best Book-to-Film translations that I of. The source material that Chuck lays out is made for live-action. The melting between the two still provides plenty to be experienced in these pages, though.

In recent efforts from Mr. Palahniuk, his “Chuckisms” are distractibly loud and obnoxious. He over researches a topic you wouldn’t even think of, and vomits his knowledge at you, drowning you in facts. Here though, they seem to span entire chapters yet don’t sit heavy on the reader and are actually fun to read. That is something that I kept thinking to myself while passing effortlessly through these pages again, just at how much fun I was reading. I knew exactly where the pacing was leading, just how unraveled this ball of yarn would get and the mess it would spill into. Insomnia leads to an overly ambitious spout of split personality disorder, which leads to a mild case of world domination. There is also a love story somewhere in there, but the mind flips towards the end of the book kind of hides everything in a hazy hue of sleep depravity. This twist changes everything you thought you were reading into a completely different story. The hints you didn’t know you were looking for shine a little brighter, and it’s another book altogether.

I’ll say it again, Fight Club is best described as fun. I must admit it has a gathered a twinge of cringe through the cult following this book amassed. For me, the most cringeful thing that could happen is picking up this book and not exploring anything else from the Palahniuk collection. He has grown for better and for worse since these early years. I will be forever thankful for this novel, as well as the “similar author” tree I’ve climbed since first mispronouncing the last name Palahniuk.

Analysis from a wallflower without a wall:

Here’s the Chuck I know and love!! After our previous read, it was wonderful to immediately jump back into a story I trusted. This book is brilliant! I don’t understand how someone could read it and not become an instant fan. What I love about the way Palahniuk writes is how truly guttural it all feels. His stories come from the back dusty corners of a troublingly brilliant mind, and they are brought into the light slowly and piece by piece. You never know what part will be revealed next and when and if you’ve even seen it all.

I loathe and love each character he has created in this book. I want to hug and mother them all while at the same time wouldn’t mind watching their demise. What I find interesting is that more than anything, I want them to shower. The way he writes his characters brings in all five senses from the page. I feel like I can smell the stale cigarettes and dried sweat. I love that he has that ability.

The movie is in my top five, and so I watch it once or twice a year. I feel the adaptation was about as close to spot on as possible. The vibe and grime translated from the page perfectly and the characters you had so intimately connected with felt tangible without losing their appeal.

I’ll never stop reading whatever he is putting out though his more recent works have been less enchanting. Chuck Palahniuk has a gift. I appreciate him sharing it with me.

chuck fight
Chuck Palahniuk

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