Burn, “Choke”, Burn

“Victor Mancini is a ruthless con artist. Victor Mancini is a med-school dropout who’s taken a job playing an Irish indentured servant in a colonial-era theme park in order to help care for his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. Victor Mancini is a sex addict. Victor Mancini is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ. All of these statements about the protagonist of Chokeare more or less true. Welcome, once again, to the world of Chuck Palahniuk.

“Art never comes from happiness.” So says Mancini’s mother only a few pages into the novel. Given her own dicey and melodramatic style of parenting, you would think that her son’s life would be chock-full of nothing but art. Alas, that’s not the case. In the fine tradition of Oedipus, Stephen Dedalus, and Anthony Soprano, Victor hasn’t quite reconciled his issues with his mother. Instead, he’s trawling sexual-addiction recovery meetings for dates and purposely choking in restaurants for a few moments of attention. Longing for a hug, in other words, he’s settling for the Heimlich.”

The GOOD:

“Because nothing is as perfect as you imagine it,”,May 25, 2001

This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)

“We spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or Insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heros or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe its our job to invent something better.” Palahniuk never ceases to inspire. Behind all the satire. Behind his often hillirous look at life and the little things that make us human, or at least the views that he portrays in his unforgetable characters, Palahniuk, never stops to apologize, and there no reason to because he writes the truth in it most crulest of ways. “People sit home and watch Friends, because they have no Friends.” I dare you to read any Palahniuk book, be it, Fight Club, Survivior, IM, or Choke, and not be inspired to do something better with yourself. Improve yourself. Create something. Destroy something. Do Something with yourself other than sit in front of a mind-numbing television set, and dream about the life you could have, get off your “” and do something! At least that’s what I get out of Palahniuk work. Since the first time I picked up Fight Club, I was hooked, his words are like heroin to me. I’ve lost track how many times I’ve read that book, and Survivor. IM about four times. There are many messages in Chuck’s work, some hidden, some in your face, some crammed down your throat, and forced into the pit of your stomach. The most important message, in seemingly all his works, is do something with yourself other than waste away precious brain cells in this repetitive world as we know it, we all have a talent for something, find yours, and make it happen, for yourself, and nobody else. I predict that Chuck will be a household name after his next book Lullabye comes out, and after the movie adaptation of Survivor comes out, and possibly an Invisible Monsters movie. Everybody will know who Chuck is, good or bad, that I don’t know. Loved or hated, probably both, but do yourself a favor and read his works now while he’s got his little cult following, this way a few years down the road, when everybodies on the literary band wagon, you can laugh and tell everyone, “I TOLD YOU SO.” Buy this book, read it more than once. Save yourself, and find your place. “Because nothing is as perfect as you imagine it,” I’ll shut up now.

The BAD:

 Okay, but not great,October 7, 2002

This review is from: Choke (Paperback)

I was handed this book by a friend who just read it, said it was “okay, but not great.” That pretty much sums up my opinion as well.

I can see how someone could really like this book. It’s quirky, has some dark humor, and I suppose it’s even shocking if you’ve not been exposed much to similar literature. It’s just that I’ve read books that do the same sort of thing a lot better, and it’s also not the style of book I tend to enjoy. I found the story to be a bit lackluster and repetitive. A lot of chewed up food, a lot of sex in uncomfortable places, and a lot of depressing nursing home description. The narrator eventually reaches a sort of epiphany, but by the time he does, I really didn’t care any more. The book held my attention long enough for me to get through it, but had no real effect on me.

I’m surprised in reading the reviews how many people describe the book as “shocking” or “not for the squeamish or faint of heart.” It made me wonder if I’ve read a few too many explicit books. Yeah, there’s a lot of sex in the book, but it’s no more graphic or shocking than in other books I’ve read. In fact, it’s often described euphemistically enough that it’s like reading about a sexual act as described by a sixteen year old boy, someone who’s enthusiastic about sex, but still a little embarrassed when it comes to actually giving sexual organs and experiences their real names.

And The UGLY:

SO Overrated,September 18, 2007

By 
 
This review is from: Choke (Paperback)

I heard so many good things about this book, so many people raved about it, how it “changed their outlook on life”, I felt compelled to read it. I want my time back. This book is garbage. I’m not saying this because it offended me, because it did not in the least (one of my favorite books is “Filth” by Irvine Welsh for comparison). What did offend me was that this book was utter nonsense. If reading about the exploits of a sex-addict makes you want to change the world, go read Gene Simmons biography for christ sake.

The message of this book (which I will not give away here even though I should to save you the time and effort) has been done so many times before, it seems as though Palahniuk just used it as a means to convey his idea of obscenity on the reader. Glorified depravity is fine if it has a legitimate point. Here it does not. It’s obscene for the sake of being obscene. It has nothing to do with the story, other than to make the main character seem worse than he is…can he be redeemed in the end???

Don’t bother finding out.

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~ by MorbidbookS, Extreme Fiction Publisher. on April 23, 2011.

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