The first installment of the 20-Something Book Club is Fight Club!
This book changed my life, and now it will change yours. Forget what you know about the movie, Chuck Palahniuk's first novel will change your perspective.
Plot: Man lives life, man gets bored, man starts to question life. Man changes life.
Characters: The Narrator is our main character, he is listless, bored, and unsatisfied with his life. He remains unnamed in the novel, but assumes the name of Jack in the film. Tyler Durden is his exact opposite. Marla Singer is a problem they both must deal with .
Why it Matters: Fight Club is a cultural phenomenon. It defined a generation and can now be applied to the millennials. We live in a society controlled by the internet. Fight Club can shed light on what happens when we abandon that notion and think for ourselves.
Chuck Palanhniuk is known for twisted metaphors, graphic imagery and gory plot-lines. His writing style is intense, vivid and visual. You'll see the events happening, you'll get insight into the minds of the characters too.
His style is balanced on the edge of absolute mayhem, and Hemingway-ian precision. His other popular books include, Invisible Monsters, Rant and Survivor.
But I've seen the movie.
It doesn't matter if you've seen the movie, know the story or can clock the ending, Fight Club is the perfect read for someone about to start their first job. It's a cautionary, hollow tale but it can really make you re-evaluate your life's trajectory. There are also many nuances the movie misses, and entire sections that were omitted.
But it's about men.
It's easily misidentified as misogynistic. This is my favorite book. And as a female I can identify with the anger and the indecision and the terrifying nature of adult life when it's careening toward a wall. This book is not just about men, it's about society. To boil this book down to gender norms and specific is a huge oversight. This book is about people.
But it's too violent.
Violence is relative. This book is not so much about fighting as it is about thinking freely and choosing differently.
“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.”
"Ever since college, I make friends. They get married. I lose friends.”
“This is why I loved the support groups so much, if people thought you were dying, they gave you their full attention. If this might be the last time they saw you, they really saw you. Everything else about their checkbook balance and radio songs and messy hair went out the window. You had their full attention. People listened instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. And when they spoke, they weren't just telling you a story. When the two of you talked, you were building something, and afterward you were both different than before.”
Fight Club is an intense, quick read. You can finish it in a weekend if you like. Take the time to read this transgressive classic and you won't be disappointed.
If you'd like to discuss this week's book, or books in the future you can comment, post a response or message me.
Oh, and the first rule of the 20 Something Book Club, is to talk as much or as little as you want.