NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Thursday, April 16, 2009

CHOKE

by Chuck Palahniuk



"Victor Mancini, a medical school dropout, finds a way to pay for his mother's medical care. He pretends to choke on food at high class restaurants, allowing other customers to save him. He then convinces his rescuers to send support money to him. When he's not unleashing his scam, he goes to sexual addiction recovery meetings in search of his next conquest. It's all a far cry from his day job at a theme park." (From the CD container)

Excellent isn't the right word, but it's the first word that comes to mind. The problem is that I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this book to anyone. Choke is ridiculous, crude, highly offensive, and hilarious. This book will flat-out disgust a lot of readers, and I'm not sure what it says about me that I enjoyed it so much. The only other book I've read by Palahniuk is Snuff so I'm not sure if all his books are loaded with repulsive sex references and foul language, but the two I read were. And I liked them both quite a bit! Weird. Maybe when you're bombarded with it from the opening scenes, it becomes transparent and you focus on the emotional desperation and absurdity of the situations rather than what is actually being done and said.

What gave the book extra depth was an explanation from the author regarding how he came up with the idea for the book. This section is not in the print version I have but is on the audiobook. Listening to the story of his sex addicted sister-in-law, the murder of his father and his search for reason in the aftermath, I saw Choke in a completely different light. I'm surprised Palahniuk writes at all, scandalously or otherwise, and is not an inmate with a padded room somewhere.

I will without doubt be reading more Chuck Palahniuk in the future. I would tell you to read him, too, but I don't want to be responsible for the outcome. Go ahead and give Choke a shot it you're feeling crazy and don't offend easily, but don't say I didn't warn you! ;-)



17 comments:

Eva said...

You should read Lullaby! My freshman year of college, I read three or four of his, and that one was by far my favourite. :)

Lezlie said...

Eva ~ Someone else recommended that one, too. I'm game! He's a very interesting writer. Maybe I'll pick it up tonight!

Lezlie

JoAnn said...

Isn't it funny how we worry what our recommendations say about us?! I've noticed this cover, but had no idea what is was about...definitely sounds interesting.

Lezlie said...

JoAnn ~ Interesting is a good word. :-) It sort of defies description. How a movie was made based on it is a mystery to me. I may have to see it just to see how much of the original story is left.

Lezlie

Joy said...

On a whim (crazy whim), I bought this at a book sale. I knew his stuff was odd, but after reading your review - I don't know if odd is a strong enough word. I probably won't like it, but I'm too curious to not give it a try. Don't worry - I won't be pointing fingers at you. :)

bermudaonion said...

Thanks for the warning.

Lightheaded said...

Loved Invisible Monsters more than this but I pretty much had fun with this also. Plus, I have all his books (I think). Oh dear, I don't know what that says about me :P

I'm planning on listening to Fight Club this weekend (finally).

Trish said...

I share many of the same feelings as you do--I found this book interesting and repulsive at the same time. And while I mostly liked it, I would never recommend it. Eeks! :) I haven't picked anything else up by him, but I've been wanting to. Just need to work myself up to it, I guess.

Anna said...

I've read Haunted and that one is very good, but also very very disturbing. I'm thinking maybe all of his books are like that.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Joy ~ Promise? ;-) You never know. You might kinda like it. There is something very appealing if you work past the dirty surface.

Bermudaonion ~ Just trying to do my duty as a responsible citizen. :-)

Lightheaded ~ I think it says we can be friends! :-) I'll be waiting to see what you think of Fight Club. (And maybe I'll pick up Invisible Monsters tonight, too!)

Trish ~ His writing is something you have to be in the right mood for. Though I feel a binge potentially coming on. . .

Anna ~ Hmmm. I'm starting to think I need to begin with his first book and work my way through his whole bibliography. I like disturbing when it's done well. And most of them would help with the Countdown Challenge!

Lezlie

Lisa said...

I haven't read any of his books but my husband has read several. He recently just finished a collection of short stories/essays, which he enjoyed,as well. I do think all of his books contain the crude sex, etc., but if you know that going in and can get past it, I think he can be pretty humorous or so my husband tells me. I'll probably give him a try some time.

Nymeth said...

After reading Tom Spanbauer, who was an influence on Palahniuk, I want to give him a try more than ever. Spanbauer's book was graphic in all sorts of ways, and yet it still managed to have some..delicacy going on in the way things were handled. It sounds like Palahniuk goes for crude all the way, but I don't mind :P

Lezlie said...

Lisa ~ If you do read him, be sure to stop back and let me know what you thought. Palahniuk is very, very funny in an odd way. I should pick up his book of short stories/essays.

Nymeth ~ Whether or not crude bothers me depends on how it is done. Palahniuk is so over the top that you become just numb enough to it to glimpse a much deeper message. It goes way beyond shock value to something very meaningful. I think that's why I like it. I've never heard of Spanbauer. I'll have to look him up now! Thanks for the tip!

Lezlie

Jeane said...

I did enjoy the film of his I saw- Fight Club- and always wondered if I'd like the book. But crude often disturbs me in reading, so I don't know if I'd be able to stomach it...

Lezlie said...

Jeane ~ I've never seen Fight Club, but I hear good things about it. The book is on my shelf and I'm hoping to read it fairly soon, so I'll let you know if it's like these others. :-)

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

"The problem is that I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this book to anyone." Lol, well, that alone will make some people pick it up!!! I think I remember seeing something about a movie version?

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ There was a movie, and I can't decide if it would be good or not. I wonder if it would even be recognizable as this story, or if it is "loosely based on . . ." And I don't know if I'm curious enough to search it out or not. But then again, I'm not much of a movie person. I'm depending on you for that. :-)

Lezlie