Fight Club - by Chuck Palahniuk
Fight Club

"a round house punch of a book"

The first rule of this review is that you don’t talk about this review.  The second rule of this review is if you are looking for a book to knock you off your feet and keep you reading, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is definitely a winner.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology or the inner workings of the human mind.  However, due to its strong adult content and violence, I would recommend this book to mature high schoolers, and I think it would appeal mainly to guys.  Palahniuk wrote it as a “novel that presented a new social model for men to share their lives.

The main theme of Fight Club is the internal struggle with one’s self.   From the narrator’s struggle with insomnia, to his finding relief in the support groups, to his apartment blowing up (he later says “It was me who blew up”), he is searching for an identity, for who he really is. Although you never find out who the narrator is, you learn he is an everyday, middle class man.  He is an insomniac, who is only able to sleep after going to support groups for the terminally ill, where being the “warm center of life” allows him to sleep “like a baby”.  At a support group he meets Marla Singer, who goes to every group, even the one for Testicular Cancer.  He knows she is a faker, and because of this he can no longer sleep after the support groups. He hates her for it but soon she becomes the apple of his affection.

During a business trip, the narrator meets Tyler Durden.  Tyler is an anarchist, a nihilist who is charismatic and handsome, everything he wants to be. After this trip, the narrator returns home to find that his apartment with everything he owned has blown up.  With no where else to go, he calls Tyler Durden who lives at 420 Paper Street.  Tyler tells him he can stay with him but he has to do him a favor first: “I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” Thus begins fight club.

Fanboy is incredibly relatable to me. Like him, I was bullied constantly in middle school; like him, I write and hope to be published one day; and, like him, I hope not only to be published, but also to make my lasting mark. He represents a side that almost all teenagers can relate to - a nerdy, repressed side that, if exposed, could spell ruin for all.

There are many rules to fight club.  Some are: never talk about fight club, only two to a fight, no shoes and no shirts, if the person goes limp the fight is over, and most importantly, fights continue for as long as they have to.  Palahniuk never capitalizes “fight club” in the novel, which gives makes it seem more secret.  Fight Club becomes a place where men become men again.

As fight club grows and grows, Tyler begins voicing his hatred for the materialistic world. To bring about his perfect world, he creates Project Mayhem, an anarchist group of obedient disciples who terrorize the city.  As their acts escalate in violence, the narrator begins to doubt Tyler and his goal. He realizes that difficulty of catching a man who is always a step ahead, who has an army of disciples sworn to secrecy, a man everyone calls.

Overall, I give this book 5 stars and two thumbs up.  I can guarantee you that it will keep you guessing to the end.  This book is definitely not for the light hearted, or those who get sick at the sight of blood.

    - Alex P.

"thrilling and dark; refreshingly new"

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter; after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying the first step to eternal life is that you have to die.” These are the words which open the thrilling satirical first novel by the modern American novelist Chuck Palahniuk. The style of the novel is refreshingly new and keeps the story moving at a fast pace that keeps the reader turning page after page.  In Fight Club the narrator and his new acquaintance, Tyler Durden, seek refuge from the boring and tiring consumer world by establishing an underground fighting league known as “fight club”. Tyler, however, a champion of anarchy and nihilism, knows no boundaries and takes the narrator along with him on his crash course for inevitable death.

Prior to forming fight club, the narrator, who never gives his name, is a distressed, white-collar employee of a major car company who suffers from insomnia, which he cures by going to counseling groups for people with deadly diseases. His cure is ruined when another “Faker,” Marla Singer, begins to show up at the groups. The narrator then meets Tyler Durden on a trip and ends up living with Tyler after his apartment is destroyed by an explosion. The only catch is he has to do a favor for Tyler. “I want you to hit me as hard as you can,” he says. From here fight club is born and ordinary men flock to the late night fighting fests to experience freedom from the boring and loathsome events of their unsatisfying lives in society.

The narrator begins going to work looking more and more beaten up and untidy. When questioned, he responds, “I just don’t want to die without a few scars.” Fight club eventually is transformed into an anarchist society led by Tyler known as Project Mayhem, which is set on destroying the consumer lifestyle of the world known. Things begin to get out of hand as the narrator looks for a way out, but finds it harder than it would seem. All this boils down to a thrilling ending with a shocking twist.

Personally, I enjoyed this novel very much, and would recommend it to anyone who is reluctant to read, although It’s not for the easily offended as he does use profane and graphic material in the story. Palahniuk’s suspenseful and fast paced writing style makes it a joy to read rather than a chore. His creative analogies such as, “The nouvelle cuisine of anarchy”, and “barium nitrate in a sauce of sulfur and garnished with charcoal. That’s your basic gunpowder. Bon appetite,” make the writing even more satisfying. I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a book they want to enjoy and laugh at while they read.

    - Jordan H.