Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: Choke

Victor Mancini is a medical school drop-out, a sex addict, and a worker at a colonial theme park. On the side, he makes a fair amount of money by pretending to choke in restaurants, being saved by a stranger, and then continuing to bilk his 'hero' for money by making them feel sorry for him. The main reason he does this, is because he has to pay thousands of dollars a month to keep his dying mother in an extended care facility.

It's hard for me to say whether I liked this book or not. It kept my interest and was an easy read, but I can't really say I enjoyed it. When Daphne was here, we had a brief discussion about Chuck Palahniuk and came to the quick conclusion that his books are "man books." (In fact, I really only even read this book because Jay liked it and had been after me to read it for about two years now.)

For instance, Victor almost always refers to his penis as his "dog." Ugh. And he says this often, at least once ever ten pages, if not more. Now every time I need to say the word "dog", you know, like in reference to an actual dog, I want to throw up. I've been having to use words like "pooch" and "pup." Plus, there is a lot of gross, dirty sex on the floors of public restrooms or in janitors closets.

The book's ending was odd. It all sort of ended abruptly and in a way that I wasn't expecting. Again, I can't decide how I feel about this. In a way, it's neat that it caught me off guard, but at the same time, it seemed to not fit.

I definitely don't think I'd search out anymore books by Chuck Palahniuk, but if Jay had some laying around, I might be inclined to pick one up.

Right now I'm reading Good Grief, which was recommended to me by a reader, and I'm loving it. It's sort of chick-lit without all the mushy stuff and I can relate to the main character in a lot of ways. I can't wait to review it here.


Stephanie Meade Gresham said...

I have red quite a few of his books. Not because they were great or anything. Because they were passed to me. Or out of curiosity. (Snuff is currently collecting dust on my night table)
I have found that a lot of them end as you describe this one {which I have also read} - abruptly. And kind of messily?.
I get the feeling that he makes it through an entire novel then decides he's done, pulls an ending out of his butt and wipes it on a page.
The endings are always rather strange and never the highlight of the book.

One I did actually enjoy was Invisible Monsters. If you see that one floating on Jay's nightstand, snag it.

I love your book reviews. Makes me feel like I'm in a club, except... in that non-committal sort of way.

Tammie said...

stephanie: thank you!
and youve really summed up my feelings about the ending perfectly. the story wasnt done, he was just done telling it.

Daphne said...

Ha! Your review made me laugh. Total man-book.

Also, Stephanie, I loved this, "...I get the feeling that he makes it through an entire novel then decides he's done, pulls an ending out of his butt and wipes it on a page."

I keep seeing Haunted, by him, and picking it up and putting it down. I think I'll leave it down.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm not sure what makes this more of a man's book, the penis which he refers to as "dog" or the fact that his fantasy is sex on public restroom floors. A woman would at least ask to have her butt on the vanity/sink! :-)

Stephanie Meade Gresham said...


Leave that one down. If you're going to pick one up... not that one. Boring and bad ending. Very disjointed.

I just realized that I don't really care for his books, but I keep reading them. Now who's the idiot?

Agnes Brown said...

That is so strange,I just finished this book. I am in the same boat, not sure what to make of it. I did really like Invisible Monsters though, I would recommend picking that one up, not really like his other books.

Dani said...

Hmmm. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

Sex on dirty restroom floors? My OCD went nuts just reading that. I'm not sure if I'd want to have sex on my own bathroom floor.

Tammie said...

thats now two votes for invisible monsters. i may have to look that one up.

dani: i know right?!? i would not be able to enjoy myself at all.

Imene said...

I love your review and I totally understand what you mean. Some books are very man oriented in their sense of humor or tragedy.
Thank you for sharing

kat said...

What about Fight Club? I think I really liked that book. But it was many moons ago. And Ladies? Please no more talk of sex on the restroom floor. Yicky.

Tammie said...

kat: i can almost guarantee that after this review, i will never in this space mention sex on the bathroom floor.

i dont think jay's read fight club, so it isnt in my house. and ive only seen bits and pieces of the movie....

hester said...

That book sounds pretty iffy and I am too old and tired to even think of having sex on a bathroom floor no matter how clean it was.

But the Good Grief book sounds great. And, like Stephanie, I love your low commitment book club too.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Oh yuck! Defnitely not something I'm going to read in the near future. Now "Good Grief" sounds promising. I just finished "The Wednesday Sisters" and I really enjoyed it -- five women friends who became writers through the 70s.