Title: Fight Club
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Format: Trade Paperback
Confession time: I have (had) never seen or read Fight Club. The only problem with reading it now, though, is that it's so heavily saturated into pop culture that it kind of destroys the book's charm. I feel like it would have been a lot better if I'd gone in without knowing some things I already did. As it was, it felt very much like Catcher in the Rye 2.0. Spoilers in the review that probably aren't spoilers for anyone.
Probably the biggest issue reading it was that I already knew the narrator was Tyler Durden. And the book would have been so much better had I not known that. But at the same time, that in itself makes me feel like the book could have been a lot better.
It's not that I hate twists in books. What I think is that a book should be able to stand its own, without the twist. If I will get little to no enjoyment in a re-read (beyond the re-read of looking for the buildup to the twist), a book has lost some sparkle in my opinion. (This is also true for movies. If you lose your re-watch or re-read charm, you've lost charm in general.)
That being said, there was still a lot of great stuff in the book. I really, really enjoyed a lot of it. But at the same time, there were a lot of parts where I was like, "Yes, I get it, let's move on." In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a more modern, cleaned up Catcher in the Rye. Like Catcher, it's written in a sort of stream-of-consciousness writing style. And while it doesn't deal with a whiny teenager, it's still dealing with a whiny adult who needs to grow up a bit.
In fact, I'd say all of the narrators issues stem from him not being able to take control of his life. Which is where Tyler Durden comes in; he needed someone who could give him a semblance of control. But the control Tyler gave him wasn't control. It was chaos that masqueraded as such.
The fact that I am even able to muse on such things shows that the book had a lot more going for it than Catcher, which was revolutionary at the time, but kind of blasé now, if not downright annoying. Granted, it could just be that this is the Catcher of the 90s, and high school students will look back and wonder why all the hype.