Saturday, October 2, 2010

#29 Choke

Choke is an interesting fucking book. It basically follows the path of someone who wants love, but doesn’t know what that really means. The loveless man is given to us in the character of Victor. A med-school dropout who works at a colonial theme park (where everyone is constantly high), goes to sex addict meetings but never actually goes to the meetings (he has sex instead), and attempts to take care of his ailing (and quite insane) mother by paying her exuberant doctors bills using different methods (one of which is choking on food in restaurants so that people save him and then feel responsible for him).

It is a Chuck Palahniuk book…for sure.

There has gotta be something else to say in the fact that every time I read Palahniuk I mark up my pages. I’ve never really been one to dog ear, never been one to make notations in the pages, never been one to highlight passages. However, I do this when I’m reading Palahniuk. So many of his lines pop out at me as being wonderful. Yet, when I go back and look at the book, I am almost ashamed at some of the things I’ve highlighted. Like, why would I find some of those things funny? Why would I think that is a powerful political statement? I suppose that’s why Palahniuk has a following. There’s a lot of us twisted bastards out there.

Despite the fact that the main focus of the book is really a boy and his mother. A mother who may not actually be his mother…then again…he could be a descendant of Christ. It’s the side stories that caught my interest the most. The story of a guy who doesn’t want to be the way he is. Of a guy who dreaded every time his mother kidnapped him again as a child (yet went anyway). The most interesting to me was the Colonial theme park. I liked how they stepped out of the normal world and into a place with strict rules and limitations, yet you learn, like any other job, how people broke the rules and got away with it. How they walked around with the mutated chickens and had sex in the hay. How you get put in the stocks for chewing gum and get high while milking the cows. I guess you can say my interest was more in the people living, and less in the people dying.

I give up trying to explain his book. Like before, I’m going to give you quotes. Love em.

This one came just 7 pages in: Picture anybody growing up so stupid he didn’t know that hope is just another phase you’ll grow out of. Who thought you could make something, anything, that would last forever.
I think the saddest thing here is that I kind of agree with it. The beauty of youth is hope…and as we age that hope seems to fade away.

Here’s the cheerleader who gets her stomach pumped and they find a pound of sperm. Her name is LouAnn.
How many nut shots would it take to make a pound of sperm? I mean really.

The truth is, every son raised by a single mom is pretty much born married. I don’t know, but until your mom dies it seems like all the other women in your life can never be more than just your mistress.
What do you think single moms? Do you think you smother your sons?

I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a hot-gushing, butt-cramping, gut-hosing orgasm.

He leans back so he can look at me through his wire-framed glasses. “Colonial Dunsboro,” he says, “doesn’t have a village whore.”
Then I say, “Then how about a village idiot?”
The governor shakes his head, no.
Certainly not.
This is the worst problem with living history museums. They always leave the best parts out. Like typhus. And opium. And scarlet letters. Shunning. Witch-burning.
See…the colonial town was my favorite part of the book. He also raises a good point. They do seem to take out the more unsavory folk from reenactments.

I mean, how many times can everybody tell you that you’re the oppressive, prejudiced enemy before you give up and become the enemy. I mean, a male chauvinist pig isn’t born, he’s made, and more and more of them are being made by women.
I will certainly agree with this. The more women keep yelling at men that they are chauvinist pigs the more likely they are to become one. After all…if you already have the opinion what’s easier, to go along with it or fight it?

If it comes down to a choice between being unloved and being vulnerable and sensitive and emotional, then you can just keep your love.
It was a measure of weakness in the story driven by anger. You know he doesn’t mean it as soon as the words come out. And yet…he wants to mean it.

In conclusion, this was my favorite Palahniuk book so far. His gross wasn't as over the top as it has been before, the sex wasn't as crass, and the topic wasn't as vulgar. In other words...this one was just the better story.

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