Review: Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

This book was recommended by Carole Rae on her blog – thank you, I owe you again!

Synopsis (in a form of a pastiche):

Victor Mancini is a recovering sexaholic. Perhaps “recovering” isn’t the right word but it’s the first word that comes to mind.

See also: an unhappy being.

See also: a loser.

He tries to pay bills generated by his more and more demented mum while working in an 18th century live historical museum called Colonial Dunsboro, wearing a foofy linen shirt, a cravat, and some breeches. His main duty is to look after his friend, Denny, who is always being punished for different infractions. Evenings aren’t free either. In the evening Victor visits different posh restaurants in the area where he orders a meal and deliberately chokes to almost death during the main course. Rich people who rescue him often feel better about themselves and the world around. They also send Victor birthday cards, gifts and money afterwards. There’s never too much money for Victor – his mother’s  place at St. Anthony Care Center costs 3,000 a month and he has to eat too.

“Desperation” isn’t the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind. Or maybe not.

Will Victor manage to get a grip? Will he go to bed with Dr. Paige Marshall, an attractive woman he seems to genuinely like? Will his mum start eating and get better? Who is Victor’s father? Who knows?

See also: a mystery.

See also: a cliffhanger.

See also: GO and buy the book if you want to find out.

My impressions:

Why people get addicted to practically anything? Why they are still unhappy even if they are living in one of the richest countries of the world? Yes, for me these were the main issues the novel was oscillating around, its leitmotiv woven tightly into a sad and funny tale about one Victor Mancini who tried hard to be a normal guy and failed. He wanted to be your ordinary as****e. Instead he had to admit his defeat and be good. He almost pulled that trick – almost- but then his own crimes caught up with him, dragging him back into the big, unsavoury heap of s**t he called his life. And then he found love.

Fortunately the novel was very funny; otherwise I wouldn’t finish it at all. Yes, it was often that kind of lavatory humour I usually avoid or tolerate only as condiment in very small doses but sometimes those huge, black, heavy burdens hanging over your head can’t be made more bearable if you don’t employ an hefty dose of nasty jokes. For instance all the scenes in the Care Center, with Victor’s mum waiting for a miracle or for death – they would have been a real deal-breaker for me if only they weren’t so funny. Oh and there were the flashbacks to Victor’s childhood which, under a pen of a different writer, would have sounded really Dickensian and sad. Once again the comic relief saved them in my eyes. Not to mention, of course, sex. Remember, Victor is a sexaholic; his adventures with different ladies would be unbearably cheesy if they weren’t also so indecently funny.

Final verdict:

An original story told in a style that would have been annoying if only it wasn’t so comical. On surface it is almost a burlesque but it hides deep problems right underneath. For its sense of humour, alleviating the distress of very common and very serious problems and its originality I give it my best book badge. ;P Yes, I know, I’ve been rather stingy with it recently so here you go.


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9 Responses to Review: Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

  1. blodeuedd says:

    Brilliant? I see 🙂

  2. Melfka says:

    I can’t believe! Bridget actually enjoyed SOMETHING! 😉

    • I know, I know. Even the best of us have flaws; accordingly I do enjoy a book from time to time, as ashamed as I am to admit it in public…*hangs her head*. What can be done? 😉

  3. heidenkind says:

    I’ve been meaning to read Chuck Palaniuk forever.

  4. Carole Rae says:

    eekkk! I am glad you liked it.
    I want to see the movie, but my friend (who is addicted to this book) said it wasn’t the best. Still, worth the watch I think.

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