Mark’s #1 – Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (224 pages)

The first rule about Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club (can I blog about it?).

I had never read this book or seen the movie, yet I knew this rule – it has nettled its way into our collective conscienceless.  So I was curious when I saw Fight Club listed on several ‘must read’ book lists.

This book was as intriguing as it was bizarre. During the day, the unnamed narrator lives out a meaningless existences in a mundane office job.  At night he battles insomnia. His psychologist sends him to several support groups for various life threatening diseases.  Here he feels alive by staring mortality in the faces of the attendees around the group sessions.  Eventually, the narrator becomes fascinated with Tyler Durden, a young enigmatic man who develops the idea behind Fight Club.  These fights between men in the basements of various bars draw men from all walks of life.  Here, as they get battered and bruised, they feel alive for the first time, and the clubs begin to spread throughout the city and the country.  Tyler goes further by developing Project Mayhem – his attempt to implement anarchy and rescue society from the filth it has become.

The satirical style and dialogue between characters reminded me of the writings of Flannery O’Connor.  I was often confused by the plot and dialogue. Occasionally I would have to read the wikipedia article to find my place in the bigger picture of the story.

The takeaway from this book for me is that we, especially men, long for our lives to matter.  We long to break out of the ordinary. We long to be in the fight. There is a kind of life and purpose to it. Of course, the direction taken and the conclusions drawn by the novel’s characters is often vile and off base… yet this book has clearly struck a chord with people (4.5 star rating with nearly 1400 reviews on Amazon).  I believe we were made to be in the fight, to make our lives count. However, we must pick the right fight.

Fight Club: A Novel

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