Years ago, I watched Fight Club for the first time on DVD during a big storm, and I had no idea what happened. The DVD was sitting in my cabinet forgotten. I actually thought that I may have given it to my brother for a time. Something about this movie seemed to keep inching its way into the recesses of my mind!
I decided to pick up the audiobook during a sale last year, and I finally gave it a listen! Let me set the stage for you. I have just read two romances that left me feeling like I was bathing in a sticky sweet bath of cough syrup, and I wanted something that sounded so antithetical of a boy meets girl scenario, that when I came across Fight Club in my library, I said: “Okay, that’s the book!”
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is about two friends who find a way to channel their rage through underground boxing clubs, or fight clubs. The anonymous narrator is an insomniac who frequents support groups so he can cry and get some sleep, despite not dying of any actual illness. Then in walks Marla Singer. Marla is also a faker, who frequents these support groups while not dying of any illnesses, and her presence is what makes our narrator’s world starts to unravel.
The anonymous narrator and his best friend Tyler Durden start a fight club and the narrator is drawn to Tyler’s anarchic genius. It’s an interesting relationship that the two characters have and that’s what kept me listening.
The funny thing about Tyler and The Narrator is that I should hate them. I shouldn’t like that they’re perpetuating this underground guerrilla war movement, but somehow it’s compelling. The reason these fight clubs are successful is because these men are are looking to escape their nine to five white collar jobs and reverting to an animal brutality.
The evolution of their cultish movement is really just the beginning.
Remember how I said I started listening to Fight Club because I wanted something that was the complete opposite of a romance novel? Remember how my summary talks about Marla Singer interfering with the narrator’s routine? Do these two statements seem contradictory to you? That’s probably because they are. (And at the same time they’re not!)
While Fight Club is a story about male aggression, that has a lot of violence in it–the name is Fight Club, come on!–but, the trigger for the events is really Marla’s entrance into The Narrator’s life and the way she drives a wedge between the two friends.
The irony is, she seems to be the only one who is making any sense, and while she’s still nihilistic, her confusion over the course of the novel feels really relatable.
I can get into an academic discussion about Fight Club, but if you’re considering reading it, think about this: the book is a story about people who are probably best described as train wrecks. They are not perfect. None of them claim to be. None of them have any interest in pretending otherwise.
It is these elements that I think make Fight Club a worthwhile read. It’s a refreshing read, that’s disturbing but still human. Honestly, I think that the most disturbing part of this book is simply the fact that it dared to go there!
When I finished the audiobook, I found the DVD had been turned backward so when my eyes scanned the titles, Fight Club never came up! In case anyone out there has seen the movie, but hasn’t read the book–Yes, I’m looking at you, Reader that just said, “What me?”–the movie is different from the book.
Overall, the feel is the same, but there are parts missing, and the ending is vastly different. (I much prefer the book’s ending to the movie’s!) Still, it doesn’t hurt to see Brad Pitt in robe covered in coffee mugs, and they actually use the voice over really well so it keeps a lot of the very iconic lines from the book.
No, I am not just talking about the first rule of fight club!
FINAL RATING: 5 Stars