“You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.” – Space Monkey in Fight Club
Does society make me an individual with no other goal in life than to routinely sleep, eat work and repeat? If I were to take a moment to ponder what I have achieved to this date, would I be satisfied by my accomplishments? Is material conquest, from money to objects, my main and only purpose in life? Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk’s novel written in 1996, is a beautiful story that gets the readers to question so many facets of their own lives. Not only does it critic modern society, it unveils the adventures of a unnamed narrator with a case of insomnia. In order to solve his insomnia issues, he finds his remedy by following his doctor’s advice: attend support groups, comfort in other people’s misery and let his feelings take the best of him. He then encounters a mysterious man who goes by the name of Tyler Durden and slowly gets to the creation of fight clubs across the world. The tale definitely doesn’t end there. The ending grows into one of the most memorable part of this novel and will forever forge the readers love for Chuck Palahniuk.
The writing in this book is magnificent, especially if you haven’t seen the movie or know about the ending of this story. I sadly saw the movie before reading the book, but I have to say that that didn’t take anything away from the book. In fact, I think it helped me appreciate the novel even more. Every scene between Tyler Durden and the Narrator or Marla Singer and the Narrator, I was able to see hints of what was to come at end. It just shows how meticulously written this story is. Chuck Palahniuk did an amazing job at keeping you unaware of what’s to come although everything was hinting towards the ending. A little foreshadowing didn’t hurt too, did it? Although, this shows appreciation on a basic level, this novel gets you turning pages like a crack addict. Even if every flip of a page was to unravel something new and messed up.
The writing was also very simple and straightforward. Like a lot of people might have realized, it really did feel like the words were punching you in the face to make you acknowledge sad facts about life. The philosophies kept on coming at you and you just had to stand there, enjoy the beating and really get into your mind how factual a lot of Chuck’s points were. From anti-consumerism to concepts touching masculinity, this book conveys these ideas beautifully throughout the story. In fact, this is pretty common throughout Chuck’s work (check out our book review for Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters by my girlfriend). I have to add how Chuck Palahniuk was able to add so much detail to simple things without making it boring. Especially, soap. I think we can all say we’ve became expert on that subject now.
“If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?” – Narrator in Fight Club
Without having to discuss every single theme in this novel, I’d have to say there are several very interesting subjects that Chuck and molds throughout the story. One of the most memorable ideas that doesn’t need a doctorate to try and understand is the idea of stripping an individual’s belief that he’s an unique snowflake. Every Space Monkey that gets recruited into Tyler Durden’s evil plan recites ideas, just like the introduction quote of this review, in order to put every individual on the same level, without distinctions. Getting them to believe that they’re not special helps in getting these very people to pull off crazy guerilla terrorist acts. It also destroys any hierarchy that might be dominant throughout their life (especially in one’s job life). Fight Club tries to explain the idea that we, as individuals, are continuously identifying ourselves by things we buy. We live to get rich and give ourselves the purpose of consuming objects in order to achieve a status similar to billionaires. This novel wants us to understand that we are not what we buy. That we should embrace our primal instincts and be delivered of this way of life that our society has brought upon us today. In fact, Tyler Durden slowly wants everyone to be stripped away of all the restrictions and rules that govern our lives in society. Only then can we reach a certain actualization and be free. Although, Tyler’s goal is to release everyone from these rules and the various hierarchies that exists in our lives, he himself creates one through fight clubs and, later, through SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read. Ironic, isn’t it. Patriarchy is behind this part, but that’s another theme to be discussed in some other analysis. Cause, you know. We don’t want turn this review into a 20 page school report, right?
Fight Club is a novel that is bound to be analyzed and re-analyzed by readers. It’s not easy to pinpoint everything Chuck Palahniuk wants to convey. But one thing’s for sure, Chuck definitely shows a vast number of reality facts. Facts that could seem pessimistic to some reader’s eyes, but are closer to being realistic than anything. This novel belongs on every bibliophile’s shelves. If you haven’t got the chance to read this, then you’re missing out on a story to remember. And if you’ve seen the movie, I have to tell you that the book is a completely different experience. Don’t oversee this masterpiece. Remember the 8th rule of Fight Club: If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to read it.
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My overall rating: ★★★★★/