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Reviews of Fight Club (1996)

Review by Beaver (2007-11-10)
Fight Club is a story about the extremes a desperately unhappy person can go to - they have to be physically around death and pain to feel alive themsleves. The movie was very faithful to the book. This made the book a little disappointing to me at first until I really started to get into it - I kept picturing the movie as I read. The book probably would have been even more powerful had I not seen the movie first. As good as the movie was, the book was even better. It was short and very readable even thought the plotline was a little jumpy. There are lots of deep thoughts spoken by off the wall characters. The writing style was very interesting using a series of pretty disjoint thoughts that combine to tell a compelling story. Palahniuk can really spin a phrase. He paints a very vivid picture using simple language. The plot is pretty twisted and darkly satirical. It is very anti-commercialism - buying and owning things is one of the big roadblocks to living real life and causes complacency in an attenpt to fill a void. The result is a big swing in the opposite direction with much testosterone and aggression. Its an interesting look at a way of life - you need to hit bottom and live desperately and dangerously to truely live and advance yourself and society. It's kind of a 90s version of Kerouac on crack. I also liked the portrayal of a psychotic, deranged, schizophrenic megalomaniacal mind. The book is a little too quick paced and short. It makes you read it slowly to process all of the ideas. I thought the movie told the story a little better, but the book makes you reflect more on the ideas and gives more depth. I liked the darker ending of the book compared to the movie. I thought that was very fitting. 10/10

Review by StefanY (2007-08-24)
Since the first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club, I guess I shouldn't be writing this review. Oh well, let those chips fall as they may.

After many, many viewings of the movie, I finally convinced myself to check the book out.

I'll start out by saying that I truly enjoyed the book. Of course I did, the movie did an excellent job of capturing the nuances and the feeling of the book almost exactly. That being said, at times reading it, I really didn't feel (for almost the first time ever) that reading the book really wasn't all that necessary for me. Either Chuck Palahniuk had his finger in the pot the entire time that the movie was being made, or the director felt that the only way to bring such an amazing novel to the screen was to put in on film as close to word for word as the medium would allow.

If you've seen Fight Club more than a few times, reading the novel really won't give you any additional insight into the world of Tyler Durden. However, if you haven't seen the movie and want an interesting perspective on movie theaters, catering/waiters and making soap, then give Fight Club a try.

Review by drache_gnar (2006-08-02)
Aftier reading some of Chuck Palahniuk's other work (Survivor, Lullaby and Haunted) and not being too, too impressed with any of it besides Survivor, I put off buying and reading this novel even though I was a huge fan of the film.
A few days ago I was on vacation and came across the book and decided to pick it up, and am I ever glad that I did.

Sure, the film DOES have a much better flow, and is funnier and has a infinitely better ending, but the book is still amazing.
It may not be the most original piece of fiction, especially in the philosophy aspect (the whole 'destroy yourself to find yourself' was done decades before in Luke Rhinehart's "The Dice Man" and was studied by psychologists even before that), but the novel is still a great read.

Definitely recomended - especially to fans of the film (even though after half-way through the similarities between the two basically vanish).

Review by fltm (2005-07-29)
one of the best books i have ever read. twisting and turning like a snake in a maze, you will spiral down into on the best fiction tales ever weaved. this tale is of a man who is looking for perfection, but cant find it. someone decides to help him out, and Tylar Durden shows him a new way of life. but then a girl, Marla, as always with a girl who hangs out with guys, splits Tylar up with his new friend.

Review by freejazz (2003-11-07)
a lot different than the movie, if you've seen the movie don;t think you'v gotten everthing the book has to offer

Review by slink (2003-03-09)
I actually rated this book 2 points lower than I intended, misremembering how good it really is. As someone who caught the movie first, reading the book was a joy, to find new parts and the writing itself, that wasn't in the movie (much as I think it was superb).
Palahniuk's questioning of modern culture, capitalism, the media, religion, all instantly clicked in my head. And his main point, the demostration of nihilism, and it's interesting aspects, but eventual pointlessness, is one that should be strictly remembered, as it was lost in the marketing and some of the subsequent reviews of the film.
It is, where it lacks in some characterization (although there it also beats the film, the increased friendship between Jack and Marla is nice in the book) it makes up for in being one of the most important and powerful contemporary novels.
If only the education system wasn't so scared, this would make for perfect English Literature Syllabus material, people might actually learn something important about the world, and what real life really is.

Review by Jorapello (2003-03-07)
Quite possibly the greatest book ever written. A beautiful novel about disenchantment with society. Palahniuk streamlessly integrates Buddhist, Taoist, and Nihilist notions and shows how they conflict with modern society. My words can not do justice to how powerful this book is. . . This book will change your life. Everything changes for the better once you have read this. . . you learn that everything is superfluous, and all you need is to let go.


©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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