Saturday, October 15, 2011

Operation Chuck: Choke

Come to the Damned event
at Lemuria!
We're less than a week away from the big Damned event hosted by Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson!  ....And I'm a bit behind in my reading.  I'm picking up the pace in this home stretch.  The books are piled on my coffee table, Zorro's in my lap and his furry little behind makes a great book rest, and I'm cross-eyed and cussing like a Tourettic sailor.  Go ahead, question my sanity.  I'm learning many, many ways to kill people.

The newest addition to the "finished" pile is Choke, arguably Chuck Palahniuk's second most famous book, after Fight Club.  It's the story of Victor Mancini, sex addict, son of a crazy anarchist and (possibly) the big J.C., and habitual choking victim.  Victor is a scoundrel, but rather likable.  He's Sam Rockwell in the movie version.

Choke is a morality tale debating what it means to be a good person, a productive member of society.  On the one hand, Victor scams his restaurant saviors by falsely taking their sympathy and accepting gifts after their near-death interactions.  On the other, he allows these people to feel better about their lives, making them heroes.  Likewise Victor allows all of the old ladies in the nursing home to use him as a target for all the wrongs in their lives.  Molested by a brother seventy years earlier?  Victor will accept responsibility as that brother for the addled lady in the wheelchair.  It's his Christian duty.

Some genuinely funny scenes occur in Choke.  Victor's mother is paranoid about avoiding disasters and peppered throughout the book are codes for fires, deaths, disasters, etc, at stores and hospitals and such.  How to avoid a hijacked plane?  Know the code words.  Gianna and I have a safe word, but it's not exactly the same thing.

I also hereby name Choke the best novel liberally using "Dude" in guy dialogue.

Next: Haunted.  Five days until the event.  

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