111 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilirating read
Usually great books are either turned into mediocre films or else great films are made from mediocre books (and we won't even get into the sordid details of the novelizations). Fight Club is one of the rare instances where a great film was made from a great book. It is perhaps unfair to mention the film version while discussing the book as they are actually two very...
Published on January 22, 2002 by Jeffrey Ellis
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Auto-cannabalizing satire
I came to this book by way of first seeing the movie, which is unusual for me. The movie itself was stunning, one of my top three favorites of all time... in my opinion, it was better than the book. I would like to say though, that this isn't because of any short-comings in the writing itself. The story, though born from the mind of a fiction writer, lent itself much...
Published on July 4, 2000 by Thrash Jazz Assassin
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111 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilirating read,
Fight Club is the story of an unnamed narrator, an insomniac yuppie who spends his days helping insurance companies get out of having to pay their claims. He wanders through a meaningless life until he discovers the emotional release of attending therapy groups for people suffering from various deadly (and rather embarressing) diseases -- all of which the narrator pretends to have. When the arrival of another "faker" (the wonderfully dark Marla Singer, whose role is far less central in the book than in the film), the narrator finds even the shallow comfort of testicular cancer self-help groups has been taken away from him. Luckily for him, he happens to meet Tyler Durden around this time. And it is Tyler who introduces him to the concept of fighting. What starts as a few rounds in a bar parking lot soon transforms into the nationwide movement known as Fight Club. Every night, yuppies gather together and proceed to beat each other up and get in touch with the pure destructive instinct that society has forced them to suppress. From this violent but relatively benign concept, Tyler sets out to build up an even more extreme movement and our narrator finds his own life suddenly spiraling out of control. To go into any greater details would be unfair to those who have seen neither the film nor the book. All that need be said is that the story never goes where you expect it too and the final twists -- while seeming a bit outlandish at first -- ultimately make a great deal of somewhat sickening sense. As complex as the plot eventually becomes, Palahnuik handles it all with a sparse, deceptively calm style that makes this book the literal epitome of a "page turner" -- once you start reading, you are hooked and it is truly impossible to exit the hauntingly and humorously dark world he's created until you reach the end. Palahnuik proves himself to be an admirably subtle humorist and perhaps the funniest parts of the book comes from the reader's sudden realization that Fight Club has eventually become not so much a group of guerilla freedom fighters in the culture wars but instead simply a twisted mirror image of the weepy self-help groups that it seems to stand against. While the film's final twist remains the same in the book, the end results are far more different. While I personally favor the film's ending, both book and film build up to a strong conclusion that will stick with the reader long after completion. Both the film and the book are truly original works of American Art and to see or read one without the other is to miss out on two exhilirating, similar but ultimately quite different experiences.
68 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FIGHT CLUB ROCKS - 4 STAR SPECTACLE,
--And great brain food. There are some issues and statements given in this book that really make you think especially about how we're defining "progress" for humanity. How do we define success and progress, but by how big of a house we have, or how much we have in the bank, or how pretty our wives look? In this book, the anti-society society "Fight Club" determines success by how little you have.
"Only until we lose everything, are we free to do anything."
Tyler Durden, Fight Club--the movie
Modern-day consumer-driven cultures have begun to press down on people to the breaking point, and now Tyler Durden has started his own therapy group that is growing rapidly in number by each session. It's a therapy group, unlike most of the others, and instead of giving you guided spiritual meditation and opening your chakras, it promotes violence, pain, and self-destruction. It's a group where aggressive males are sporting organized fight sessions to empower themselves by hitting rock bottom. Its called "Fight Club," and it's rapidly spreading in bars all over the United States.
But I've probably said too much already. "First rule of fight club is you cannot talk about fight club, and the second rule of fight club is you cannot talk about fight club."
It's one of the fastest books I've ever read, and it left me completely hooked, all the way until the end. The only thing I didn't like was all the room for expansion. Palahniuk really could have exploded on some of his ideas and perspectives a whole lot more, but it was still a great book and very reader worthy.
Another dissapointment was the cost for this book. After 20th Century Fox made the snazzy cover art for the book, they also jacked up the price to 13 bucks a copy, which is very ironic, especially when Fight Club's motto was to screw perfection and neatness. But that's show-bizz.
My recommendation: Watch the movie first, get blown away, then read the book and get more in-depth with the story.
"Fight Club" is an inspiring and completely awesome story. Watch the movie. Read the book. Both are great, and after you've been as enlightened as much as possible, start your own Fight Club. :)
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I know this because Tyler knows this,
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible For All Space Monkeys,
The plot basically revolves around an insomniac. Our unnamed protagonist goes to support groups to cure his insomnia, until another faker, a woman named Marla, begins faking her way through these groups. After his condo was blown up, he goes to live with Tyler, a man he met on a nude beach. Tyler's only request is that the two of them start a fight. When fight club becomes boring, Tyler decides to take it up, and fight club becomes Project Mayhem.
If you've seen the movie, you need to read the book. While the movie mainly focuses on the fighting, the book goes into a lot more detail about project mayhem. The movie probably skips about a third of the book. Plus, the book explains the true definition of what a space monkey is, the formula for homemade napalm, and the real secret formula for Tyler's soap. Only after you've read the book and viewed the key scenes in the movie does the philosophy of Mr. Durden become clear. Even if you think you know the movie, read the book. The first rule of fight club may be that you don't talk about fight club, but you will after reading the book.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best pieces of modern literature out there...,
Within two months I'd read it five times.
"Fight Club" is a truly rare book, a fast-paced thriller that's also got some very deep points to it, yet is as technically clean and sharp as a laser-cut diamond. The structure is nothing short of amazing. Read it a few times and you realize Palahniuk has created a book that's all most perfectly balanced; everything ties into everything else. As an example; early in the book, Tyler Durden tells our narrator that "a moment is the most you can expect of perfection." Later on, this line is repeated, and you realize, for a moment in our protagonist's life, he had perfection and now he's losing it.
There are dozens of other examples (this book is a goldmine on how to foreshadow and flashback), and I could go into an analysis of the deeper themes, but I'll spare you the English lecture. Even if you're not a fan of J.G. Ballard, even if you think you'd be turned off by this book, read it anyway. You really will not find a better written book from the last decade.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palahnuik Gets It Right,
Fight Club is a blazingly fast novel focusing on a depressed man just sick with his life and wants to change it, somehow. While on this "spiritual" journey he meets Tyler Durden, a guy who ends up being everything the narrator wanted to be. From there, the narrator explains his rollercoaster ride of a life in great detail and examines exactly what life meant to him.
All in all, Fight Club is a masterpiece, despite anything other people say. It is well-written, engaging, and thought-provoking to say the least.
The book compared to the movie? The book is certainly better, especially the ending. The last five pages make much more sense than the movie's ending. Additionally, Palahnuik proves his own secular answer of "Where is God in all this mess?" with this last chapter.
Fight Club's characters are some of the most intriguing people I have read about. The narrator, Marla, and Tyler all have their personality quirks that draws in readers in a couple words. Philosophies toward consumerism, materialism, and life are not as prevalent as one might think. But its always a good thing to read a book twice to get much more out of it.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I read this book because I liked the movie,
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It turns out that the movie is a very faithful reproduction of the book. Many scenes are taken out of the book wholesale, and a number of the narrations done by Ed Norton are taken word for word out of the text. This being said, the book was very much worth the read, and the character development is a little bit more in depth, as books tend to do.
There were several areas that were different between the movie and the book, as outlined below (no plot spoilers, so feel free to read away):
1. Marla's mother.
2. The main character's interactions with his boss.
3. The investigation into the destruction of the main character's condo.
4. The garden at the Paper Street house.
5. The action leading up to the climax. and most importantly
6. The ending.
That being said, if you were a fan of the movie and want to read a little bit more of Tyler Durden's ramblings on life, then the book will provide you with the opportunity to do so.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not about the fight,
I was first turned off by Fight Club's title and movie trailers thinking it was just another silly and mindless expression of entertainment.
I was delightfully proved when I discovered that the fight club itself is merely a backdrop into a meaningful discussion about the direction and quality of one's life. Hundred's of men across the country are intoxicated by the passion and sounds of the fight one night a week, but they are also drawn into the self-discovery in which figh club leads them.
They subject themselves to such self-destruction because only then do they really feel alive. Some would scoff at such a definition of life. But that's the point really. Only through fight club do these men awake to the reality that in their "normal" and safe lives they are in fact, on an aimless walk whose direct target is a meaningless death beyond the horizon of tomorrow.
Will you agree with every conclusion, strategy, and goal presented by Tyler Durden's underground society?
No. But again, that's the point.
Most of us never agreed or understood the mission statement our boss handed us. We just adopted it for our jobs and our lives. "Work harder, consume more more more more." And if we took a good hard look at our lives right now, would we agree with every conclusion, strategy, and goal you think you live by?
No. And that's the point of Fight Club - to get us to finally reckon with ourselves and the meaning of our lives, knowing that when we die, no one after our grandchildren will remember us.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking,
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake!,
Something about this novel reminded me strongly of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. The criticism of how consumer culture has negatively impacted our generation is one strikingly similar aspect ("Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers" vs. "...you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you"). While Welsh's strongest character eventually aspired to the nesting instinct, as embracing the conformity of "normal" society was the ultimate efface to his anti-social lifestyle, Palahniuk's nameless hero throws (or rather, blows) away all of those purchases he thought would make him whole. As he says, "... no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled."
I think the strongest similarity, however, and the aspect that makes Fight Club ring so true to our generation is the commentary on our "generation of men raised by women". The desperation and desire of Fight Club's main character to be more than himself echoes the struggle of every male I know who constantly strive for balance in a society that gives so few strong male role models and so many mixed signals about "what makes a man". The line "I am a 30 year old boy" made me think of so many of those friends of mine, and was the point in the book where I realized Palahniuk had tapped into something major. There are many books out there by authors seeking to define our generation. Palahniuk hasn't defined our generation, but he has given a voice to an often overlooked demographic - those white, middle-class, young adult males who, because they aren't a minority, poor or female, are expected to be completely satisfied with their lot in life and very, very often are not. This is a powerful, important commentary and I hope it does more to open up a dialogue for others in that demographic, like Palahniuk, with a story to tell.
Fight Club is a fast, gripping read in an almost stream-of-consciousness style. I would have liked for Palahniuk to have explored the relationship between Tyler and the narrator a little more effectively, but perhaps I was just spoiled by watching the film before reading the book. Fight Club also gets a little slippery after grabbing onto a theme or concept, such as the desire to destroy history or the ease with which Tyler drums up a corps of willing space monkeys to do his bidding, which left me wanting for more of a conclusion.
All together, though, this is a very strong book and a telling look into the hearts and minds of the "middle children of history" ... who are just beginning to realize that they aren't going to be millionaires and movie stars, and are very, very pissed off by that fact.
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Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk