Customer Reviews


636 Reviews
5 star:
 (288)
4 star:
 (153)
3 star:
 (88)
2 star:
 (70)
1 star:
 (37)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


146 of 159 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Bizarre" isn't the Right Word....
...but it's the first word that comes to mind.
Before we get this review started, a word of warning: THIS IS NOT FOR LITTLE KIDS. THIS IS NOT FOR PEOPLE WITH WEAK STOMACHS OR ARE EXTREMELY SENSITIVE.
Okay, with that said, I found Chuck Palahniuk's "Choke" to be a very strange, perverted, dark, and bizarre novel....but it's supposed to be. And, it's a very...
Published on September 25, 2002 by Michael Crane

versus
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 Stars for another good, quick read
I've basically come to the conclusion that the first Palahniuk book you read will be your favorite. So if you haven't touched this guy yet then just pick one (well, my biased opinion would recommend Fight Club, since that was my first read), it will be fresh, a great read, and something that gets you to think. It will probably even challenge you towards more books and...
Published on December 18, 2001 by Alfred S. Olsen


‹ Previous | 1 264 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

146 of 159 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Bizarre" isn't the Right Word...., September 25, 2002
By 
Michael Crane (Orland Park, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Choke (Paperback)
...but it's the first word that comes to mind.
Before we get this review started, a word of warning: THIS IS NOT FOR LITTLE KIDS. THIS IS NOT FOR PEOPLE WITH WEAK STOMACHS OR ARE EXTREMELY SENSITIVE.
Okay, with that said, I found Chuck Palahniuk's "Choke" to be a very strange, perverted, dark, and bizarre novel....but it's supposed to be. And, it's a very creative novel, despite if you love the novel or hate it.
I had read "Fight Club" after seeing the movie, and I found the novel to be just as entertaining and creative, if not more. So, I wanted to read another novel by him, so I picked this up. Wow....nothing could've EVER prepared me for this.
"Choke's" main character is Victor; a compulsive sex addict who creates heroes by purposely choking at restaurants and allowing himself to be saved. He does this to feel better about himself, and to help pay for his very sick and dying mother's medical care. And as the story and novel goes on and on, the more twisted and darker it becomes, adding up to one hell of a shocking climax.
The novel is told by the narrator, just like in"Fight Club." He still uses the same sense of thinking, the same amount of sarcasam, and the same dark humor found in "Fight Club." And yet, it's still just as refreshing. I never thought of novels told by the narrator to be all that great, until I read his work.
Again, this is not for kids, and this is not for those who get offended easily. It is a VERY sexually explict novel; I don't think I have ever read anything so sexually graphic! It's going to be one of those books where you're going to be embarrassed to read in public, fearing that somebody just might snatch it out of your hand and start reading it aloud. As intense as the sexual content is, it fits the story.
I found "Choke" to be a really entertaining and thought-provoking novel. Palahniuk has a way of words, and knows how to create a very dark world that none of us have ever seen. Again, this novel is not for the weak and sensitive. If you liked "Fight Club," or any of the other novels by Palahniuk, chances are you will enjoy this one as well. While it may not be one I'm going to read over and over again, it is one I am glad that I took the time to read.
Sorry that this review is so short, and believe me, I'd LOVE to tell you more. However, this is a book in which you must be careful how you describe it. If you give too much away, then you just might ruin it for the reader. I feel I have given the right amount of information that you need to know. The great thing about this novel is even after reading the back of the cover, you still don't know where this story is going to go, until it sucks you right in, whether you're ready or not.
"End" isn't the right word, but it's the first word that comes to mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant isn't the right word..., June 14, 2001
This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)
...but it's the first that comes to mind.
The problem with Chuck Palahniuk novels is that they do not lend themselves well to reviews. Reveal too much information, and the fragile twists and turns of the plot are destroyed, robbing the reader of the thrill one receives upon discovering these intricacies for themselves the first time. Reveal too little, and a coherent review is almost impossible, leaving the reader with a false impression of complexities and tangles which are insurmountable.
Choke is the fourth novel written by Palahniuk, a master at angry, adult male angst. Our narrator is one Mr. Victor Mancini, a med-school drop out with a mother suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and an addiction to sex. Like other novels such as Fight Club and Survivor, we are exposed to the dirty underbelly of a society we don't want to acknowledge exists - from prisoners who go to sexaholic meetings for sex and kinky masturbation tips to the problems bending over in the stocks of a colonial theme park creates.
However, unlike the dry sarcasm of Fight Club or the biting satire of Survivor, Choke returns to the humorous yet heart-felt writing of Invisible Monsters, and exposes us to a more humorous side of Palahniuk's nature. From Tanya and her string of plastic balls to Gwen, who insists Victor wouldn't know how to rape a woman if he tried, Palahniuk presents us with incredibly memorable characters and scenes that will have you laughing long after you've closed the book.
" `Why do I do this? Why do I always pick the guy who wants to be nice and conventional? The next thing you'll want to do is marry me.' She says, `Just one time, I'd like to have an abusive relationship. Just once!' " (Page 175)
Humor is not the only factor in the story of a man who is led to believe his origin is divine. Victor is most likely one of Palahniuk's most complex characters today, a man who is trying to be anything he is not, who is rebelling against a psychotic mother's abuse while he drops out of law school and takes a job at a Colonial Williamsburg-like village in order to pay for the necessary care and treatment of his ailing mother. A man who believes strangers saving him from choking in a restaurant is not only a financial resource but an expression of love and sainthood, Victor is wonderfully human and am incredibly sympathetic character. While we may not be able to validated all of his choices, his is a character we can understand and perhaps even respect.
Palahniuk manages to dazzle and amaze with his ability to turn pithy little quotes into personal mantras and catch phrases, which once read, cannot be burned, pushed, hammered, or flooded out of one's short term memory banks. The same way you will always remember that the first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club, you will remember that "this" or "that" isn't the right word, but it's the first word that comes to mind.
The martyrdom of Saint Me.
What would Jesus not do?
However, Palahniuk's novels are about more than catch phrases and plot twists that would impress Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock. Choke is a very funny, very sad tale of a man who professes to love the wrong choices, while exposing to the reader the very humane side that even he cannot see.
Imagine your friend is beating his sexual addiction by collecting rocks, with which he builds a castle. Imagine being a sex addict and unable to have sex with the one woman who desperately wants to have sex with you. Imagine discovering the complexity of the Mile High Club, and what it means to "ride the circuit." Imagine telling school children about the black plague while giving tours of colonial buildings in clothing so authentic, you can smell the dirt on them.
Imagine yourself in the life of Victor Mancini, and you'll never see life the same way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 Stars for another good, quick read, December 18, 2001
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)
I've basically come to the conclusion that the first Palahniuk book you read will be your favorite. So if you haven't touched this guy yet then just pick one (well, my biased opinion would recommend Fight Club, since that was my first read), it will be fresh, a great read, and something that gets you to think. It will probably even challenge you towards more books and authors that put their books out with something to say, rather than the abundance of authors simply trying to catch your attention span long enough to get on the best seller list.
But none of Palahniuk's books ever quite matches the pure elation of my first Palahniuk (though Invisible Monsters did come quite close). Palahniuk utilizes gimmicks as his style, and while it seems fresh at first, the more of him you read the more it becomes derivative. Each book is your usual assortment of twists, shocks, catchy-phrases, classic losers, and then the surprise ending. And each time, no matter how challenging Palahniuk's theme may be, I get a little less interested. Don't let this mislead you, I'm still a fan of Palahniuk, I've read all four of Palahniuk's books, and they're always good reads. I'll be one of the first to pick up his next book, but I'm going to be hoping that it's not more of the same. Being fresh all the time eventually gets stale too.
To be fair, and to maybe give some insight as to where I'm coming from, I had the same problem with Vonnegut. Loved the first book I read by him, had practically just as much fun with my second book. The third one was enjoyable and just as quick a read as the others, but by the fourth one I was getting the hang of it and didn't really feel the need to read anymore. This basically mirrors my Palahniuk experience, though Chuck has still got me coming back for more.
So in summary, Choke is as good a place to start as any. For the veterans of Palahniuk, you'll like it too, especially if you haven't tired of his gimmicks yet. But, as much as you'll likely enjoy it, you probably won't get the same visceral thrills from it as you did with your first Palahniuk novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Because nothing is as perfect as you imagine it,", May 25, 2001
This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)
"We spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or Insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heros or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe its our job to invent something better." Palahniuk never ceases to inspire. Behind all the satire. Behind his often hillirous look at life and the little things that make us human, or at least the views that he portrays in his unforgetable characters, Palahniuk, never stops to apologize, and there no reason to because he writes the truth in it most crulest of ways. "People sit home and watch Friends, because they have no Friends." I dare you to read any Palahniuk book, be it, Fight Club, Survivior, IM, or Choke, and not be inspired to do something better with yourself. Improve yourself. Create something. Destroy something. Do Something with yourself other than sit in front of a mind-numbing television set, and dream about the life you could have, get off your "" and do something! At least that's what I get out of Palahniuk work. Since the first time I picked up Fight Club, I was hooked, his words are like heroin to me. I've lost track how many times I've read that book, and Survivor. IM about four times. There are many messages in Chuck's work, some hidden, some in your face, some crammed down your throat, and forced into the pit of your stomach. The most important message, in seemingly all his works, is do something with yourself other than waste away precious brain cells in this repetitive world as we know it, we all have a talent for something, find yours, and make it happen, for yourself, and nobody else. I predict that Chuck will be a household name after his next book Lullabye comes out, and after the movie adaptation of Survivor comes out, and possibly an Invisible Monsters movie. Everybody will know who Chuck is, good or bad, that I don't know. Loved or hated, probably both, but do yourself a favor and read his works now while he's got his little cult following, this way a few years down the road, when everybodies on the literary band wagon, you can laugh and tell everyone, "I TOLD YOU SO." Buy this book, read it more than once. Save yourself, and find your place. "Because nothing is as perfect as you imagine it," I'll shut up now.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel for us nobodys, May 28, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)
Strolling through the bookstore, broke, unemployed, I cracked open this book and after reading the first few paragraphs I knew I had to buy it. Max out that credit card. Who cares? Here's the author begging us NOT to love his hero. Here's a guy who isn't a master spy or a noble lawyer, doctor, soldier... Palahniuk creates a character who lives such an absurd life, but from the way he tells it could be the guy sitting next to you on the bus. These obsurdities are told in such hillarious detail that I couldn't help but laugh out loud and draw stares from the Starbucks crowd. (I'd look up daring them to ask me what was so funny.) Chuck Palahniuk draws the lines between the underground/urban folklore life and that of the "normal" people and how it's hard to tell if one is any better off than the other. All of this in a novel overflowing with useful/dangerous information/misinformation and suprising story revelations that speaks, in a demented way, to young adults who are not satisfied with the goals we are taught to accept. See Also: Fight Club See Also: Invisible Monsters See Also: Survivor
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks Originality...But Still Amazing Writing, October 4, 2001
This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)
In this novel, Chuck Palahniuk covers a great deal of the territory which will be familiar to readers of his earlier writing. But, this book -- while not as stunning as "Fight Club" -- is still remarkable.
Here we are confronted with the story of Victor Mancini -- sex-addict, con artist, drop out, would-be messiah, etc. Definitely an interesting character. And Palahniuk provides a voice for him that is totally believable.
The novel starts with Victor telling us that we shouldn't read it...which only makes us want to go ahead and read.
And it won't be the last time a reader is unwittingly manipulated by Victor's seemingly innocent narration.
From there it moves on to his description of telling scenes from his childhood and details of his relationship with his crazy mother. Convinced that her relatively petty (mostly) crimes are situationist acts which will awaken the masses from their mental slavery, Ida Mancini definitely manages to impress Victor with an unique world view -- when she isn't doing time, that is.
Victor is a smart guy...even if he is twisted. And, throughout the novel, his viewpoint and the opinions he expresses are interesting.
But the plot wears thin -- in spite of the fact that it deals mostly with Victor's concerns about his mother's failing health and what he could or should do to save her. Pretty heavy stuff. But this seems like something we've seen before.
We get a lot of information along the way about Victor's strange sexual predilections. And have no trouble by novel's end imagining how this character could have gotten to be so far from normal.
Palahniuk's writing is first rate throughout. Unfortunately, the ingredients of this novel seem to be assembled following a successful recipe.
What's different here is not all that different from what we've seen before in Palahniuk's work.
At one point, Victor comments about "jamais vu" -- the opposite of "deja vu" -- seeing something again but feeling as if it is for the first time rather than seeing something for the first time and feeling as if it is oddly familiar.
Palahniuk can't expect us to forget his earlier work. He'll need to work harder to make his future work every bit as good and ever more original.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Your latest trick, July 18, 2001
This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)
Blame "Fight Club". The movie and the book. Blame "Survivor" (the book, not the TV show). You see. Chuck Palahniuk has set himself up. He only has himself to blame. You go write two blazing, incendiary novels, people have expectations. Every novel has to be blazing and incendiary. More than that: each successive novel has to be more blazing and more incendiary than the one that preceded it. The conclusion I reached - ooh, about midway through "Choke" - was that, whilst making for a better read than (the unholy mess that was) "Invisible Monsters", "Choke" is not quite as good as "Survivor". Or rather, "Choke" is only as good as "Survivor" and - now that he has a back catalogue, as it were - it is time to raise the bar somewhat.
Which isn't really very fair, I know. Because "Choke" is a great book. A messy (but in a good way), diffuse look at what is rapidly coming to be a Palahniuk type (itself another problem: the narrators of his novels, be they men or women, are all the same voice): the post-outsider. Because Palahniuk's narrators are not just your average outsiders. They are former Cult members like "Survivor"'s Tender Branson, or models without a jaw like whatever the name of the character in "Invisible Monsters" was. Victor Mancini (the star of this particular fable) has a mother who used to be a sort of outlaw and is now dying from Alzheimers. To raise the money to keep her in a care home, he chokes on food each night in restaurants, safe in the knowledge that whoever saves him will inevitably feel beholden to him, for making them a hero. They send money. He pays bills. Victor is also a sex addict. He attends regular meetings (are you thinking "Fight Club"? me too) of sex addicts (except where they go to follow a twelve step programme, Victor goes to take notes). What else, what else? Well, he works in a theme park that seeks to recreate the educational aspects of 1734. Everybody who works there is on some kind of unprescripted medication. He has a sort of a romance going with his mother's doctor. His friend Denny collects rocks. Just your average collection of fruit loops and start-of-the-century madmen then.
And of course it is all hugely enjoyable. A kind of romp. A Palahniuk romp. It's just that we've had Palahniuk romps now. It's time for a new trick. Because if, as every Tom, Jick and Harry contend, he is the new Don DeLillo, the new Bret Easton Ellis, the new whatever, it is time he set himself a challenge, it is time he sent himself a bomb wrapped in brown paper through the post, it is time he gave us Palahniuk's "Underworld" or "Glamarama" or whatever.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Stomach Required, June 21, 2002
By 
Virginia Lore "rumtussle" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Choke (Paperback)
Chuck Palahniuk's Choke is about the spiritual self-immolation and reclamation of one Victor Mancini, con artist and sexual addict. Once again Palahniuk makes short work of invoking compassion for his lost boy viewpoint character by daring you to like him in spite of all the reasons not to. And, if you're like me, you do. You pull for Victor even when he's told you not to. You pull for him through the most scatalogical, pornagraphic, manipulated and just plain sick moments of your reading life, and you feel either thrilled or sordid yourself as you are led through all the messed-up elements of his messed-up life.
Me, I felt sordid. I wanted to put the book down after the third page, but the writing was too strong and the character too compelling. I gave it four stars because of the writing power, but kind of wish I had never read it at all. I think that, like Fight Club, it's going to be with me for a long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Killing the future to preserve the present.", May 27, 2004
By 
This review is from: Choke (Paperback)
Reading a Chuck Palahniuk novel is a guarantee for a unique and often frightening reading experience, and CHOKE is no exception. I devoured this book in one setting and would rate it as one of my favorite Palahniuk books. CHOKE is full of social satire and rude and gutsy humor that makes one examine the world around them in an entirely different light. There are virtually no sentences that are not affected by Palahniuk's social commentary.
CHOKE is centered around Victor Mancini, a sex addict and con artist who works at a Colonial living museum with co-workers who tend to dabble in pot smoking and other insidious drugs while on the job. When not at work he likes to eat out at restaurants and pretend to choke in order to make unsuspecting heroes when the other patrons save his life. It is safe to say that Victor has not had a so-called normal childhood; his mother continually performed stunts at the expense of others and society when she was not in jail and was known to kidnap him and teach him important life lessons.
Palahniuk creates brilliant and original scenes that highly entertained and made me chuckle out loud numerous times, including Victor's relationship with the elderly patients at the nursing home and his best friend's obsession with rock collecting. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Palahniuk book., August 6, 2001
This review is from: Choke (Hardcover)
I actually picked this book up in the "How To" section of my local bookstore. No lie. I could spend hours trying to decipher the accidental or intended implications of such a placement, which stinks of either conspiracy or revolution, I can't tell which.
Anyway, seeing as Fight Club is my all time favorite movie, it only seems logical that I'd gravitate towards ol' Chucks work. Why it took me so long I can't say. Having read none of his other books, I can't really compare them. I can say that I will be purchasing them shortly. Choke is brilliant and extremely funny. It's not often that a novel can make me laugh hysterically in public, but this one did.
The premise of the book and one of it's strengths is the theory that if you make someone else into a hero, they'll love you forever. The protagonist repeatedly fakes choking to death in restaurants to pay his dying mothers hospital bills, but at the same time, he demonstrates that even the most ordinary people have the capacity for the extraordinary. It's sick and beautiful at the same time. Peppered with addiction, sex, insanity, medical references, urban legends, and a ton of Oedipus issues; Choke is about confronting your past, or being consumed by it. Like Fight Club (the movie that is. I know, I blaspheme.) it's about tearing down who you think you are to find out who you really are. It's about rebirth and redemption, perception and illusion.
It's about all that stuff and more, but bottom line, it's just a blast to read. If you like Vonnegut, Irving Welsh or David Foster Wallace, chances are this book is for you. It will probably make you laugh, it might even make you think, but it will definitely entertain you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 264 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa22c89f0)

This product

Choke: A Novel
Choke: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
$9.62
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.