Long Story Short: Choke

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So I renewed my library card, and I paid my $12 fine. I also checked out a couple of books from the library. One of them, Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. Chuck Palahniuk although most known for his novel Fight Club, I didn’t find that book in my library, instead I found this one. I guess what drew me towards this book was remembering that my sophomore English teacher had book recommendations every Tuesday and recommended this one. Or maybe I don’t even remember what book she exactly recommended and I read the back cover and thought “yeah, I could get into this.”

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Long story short, this book is narrated through Victor Mancini who is a sex addict, a con artist, and a medical school dropout now working at a re-enactment museum set in colonial times (some calling huh? Kidding). But trust me when I say he’s not all that bad. He’s a medical school dropout in order to support his mom to pay off her medical bills. He needs $3,000 a month to pay for the nursing home he put her in. He cons people by fake choking at restaurants in order to be “saved” by some kind soul –– eventually keeping in contact with these “heroes” and receiving money from them (to pay for his mom’s bills). And the sex addiction part? Well none of us are perfect people.

While the story progresses, some chapters are Victor Mancini narrating his younger self. Calling his younger self names most commonly “Stupid little boy”. (Talk about being hard on yourself.) While narrating his childhood you understand that life for Victor Mancini didn’t start crumbling somewhere in his 20’s but started out fairly rough since the beginning. I say fairly because while as readers we try to relate and understand the character, relating to a child is a lot harder. If you are a child growing up, living in any type of environment would seem natural. His mother being deemed unfit as a parent to raise him. The “stupid little boy” moves foster home to foster home, finding foster parents but not long after being kidnapped by his mother. Eventually getting caught and the cycle would continue.

Because this was the first book I read by Palahniuk I wasn’t so sure what to expect. Although the book was an easy read, there were moments where I wasn’t sure where I was at, if that makes any sense. I ultimately get the feeling that I might have to come back and reread this book in maybe a few years from now.

This book includes many “To self” references, so if you are just as guilty as me and understand constantly talking to yourself, this book is what it feels like to listen to someone else talk to themselves.

Some eye catching quotes include:

“Just keep asking yourself: What would Jesus not do?”

“My first time I jacked off, I thought I’d invented it. I looked down at my sloppy handful of junk and thought, this is going to make me rich.”

Like I said the book is pretty damn humorous but definitely included quotes that definitely hit hard? Home? Something self-related…

“I wish I had the courage not to fight and doubt everything… I wish, just once, I could say, ‘This. This is good enough. Just because I choose it.”

“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”

While I honestly admit that I struggled to find interest while reading, the closer and closer I got to the ending, everything made not more sense, but complete sense within the last few chapters. I regret not reading with an open mind, and I can’t believe I allowed myself to take everything so literally. This speculative fiction novel filled with satire and black comedy, I definitely need to come back to.

Love, Nathalie

(image taken off of google)

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