For my first book post and to give a little insight into my general life thoughts I thought what would be better than to write about my all time favourite novel: Fight Club.
Fight Club at 258 pages long has impacted me in so many aspects in my life. It confirmed I wasn’t the only one questioning the system; it provided me with the words to describe how I viewed the world where I lacked eloquence; it opened the door to so much more like-minded literacy and a new style of writing I hadn’t read before.
I first encountered this masterpiece when I was 15 in the medium of film which I watched with my boyfriend at the time. From beginning to end I was completely enthralled – the editing, the structure and the climax – good God the climax. To this day I refuse to believe there is a movie with a better plot twist and even though the book is almost as old as me I refuse to spoil it for those who don’t know the story of Tyler Durden.
From the get go Fight Club was a completely different style of writing I had even seen before – growing up I always loved reading and as a kid would stick to the likes of Jacqueline Wilson, J.K. Rowling and Darren Shan it was when I hit 14/15 I delved into the world of renowned classic literature. Palahniuck’s dry choppy style of writing appealed to me, because as a waffler, his ability to be so precise in wording astounded me. What I would want to say in a page he can write in a single sentence.
Getting to the beef of it, the themes in Fight Club are what makes me hold this novel clutched to my heart and mind. Working from a young age in service Tyler’s guerrilla acts was everything I wanted to do but couldn’t. Tyler’s rebellion against the bourgeoisie made me realise that as service I did have a lot more power than I thought I did – being a young waitress I carried out my duties under the perception that I had to bend over backwards to make the customer happy in the hopes of a generous tip and to keep my job. I valued the customer’s happiness and dining experience over how I valued myself in the workplace. The scenes where Tyler tampers with the food in the up class restaurant and makes his additions to children’s movies made me realise that I had more control than originally perceived – these customers who would snap their fingers at me, yell down the phone at me, barely acknowledge me didn’t realise how much power I had – I could put anything in their food, I could change their bill and pocket the excess, I could slip a little something in their drinks. Telling horrible customer stories to my friends who had never worked a day in the lives they struggled to believe the treatment I have been subject to just to earn the mere minimum wage. Through Tyler and Project Mayhem I could treat those awful customers the way I wish I could, through Tyler I could channel my inner angst and frustrations, like with the narrator, through Tyler I could do what I really wanted to do. In Tyler we trust.
Through Fight Club I could channel my inner frustration at the world and how it works. Fighting strangers to the point of mild disfigurment to let out the sheer anger towards the world and it’s nonsensical ways that people roll with without a second glance, I get it, there’s only so much satisfaction you get out of punching your pillow. The pillow moulds to your fist, a face doesn’t. Doing the same job as someone else but getting paid less because I was younger than them is utter garbarge. On the hierarchy we’d be equal but when it came to pay I was undermined. Putting up with the snobbery from the general public for pennies. Fight Club was the wake up call I needed before it was too late – I am not just my job, I am not my khakis, I am not the contents of my wallet, but I am not a unique snowflake in the blanket of snow covering the ugliness of the system. It made me stick up for myself, it made me question my employer when I was being treated unfairly, it gave me the voice to contradict customers, to let them know although I am serving them their dinner I am still a human being and don’t deserve to be treated like dirt on the bottom of their shoe. It gave me the smug smile on my face when retorting to difficult customers because I knew if they toed the line further I could turn the tables around when they finally got their meal. I always wanted to be Jack’s smirking revenge.
Portrayed in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, I too believe that as soon as we are born we are programmed to believe our life is a straight path with rules a regulations we need to follow: go to school, get a degree, get a job, get married, have kids. But this isn’t the way. We aren’t encouraged to do what makes us happy, what we want to do with our lives, how Tyler calls up his dad and asks “what now?” we look to our superiors for direction, we don’t know what to do with ourselves unless we’re told. Not all of us get Tyler storming into our jobs that we hate, which pay for shit we don’t need to impress people we don’t even like, holding a gun to our heads forcing us to achieve our dreams.
Maybe this is where the fuck the system Karina was born. Consequently I went through a punk stage after reading this book to death and took a year out to live and volunteer in Ghana.e
From reading a lot of transparent young adult novels the unorthodox romance between Marla and the narrator intrigued me to no end. Marla was such an interesting character, in some ways I wanted to be her, I wanted to come across as nonchalant and disinterested but at the same time be the centre focus of the room, intruding into the minds of those around me. I think the only aspects of her I ever achieved was the inner discontent – she might die at any moment. The tragedy she said, was that she didn’t.
If it wasn’t for Fight Club I don’t think I would be the person who I am today. I don’t think I would be as self-asserted as I am, I don’t think I would have stuck up for myself and called out the injustices that occur around me quite so frequently. I wouldn’t have developed my current perception of the world as I have now. I would probably still be on my back, belly exposed to the cruel workings of the world. Fight Club provided me with acceptance, it gave me a voice when I couldn’t speak and a passion to tackle the fat cats out there. Not only that, without Fight Club I don’t even think I would have gotten into university to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. No seriously, my grades didn’t meet the entry requirements, and the one university out of five I got an interview for, I had to do a solo talk on something I loved, which was obviously Fight Club, and next thing I knew i had an unconditional.
I owe a lot to Chuck Palahniuck and Fight Club, I owe him for creating this masterpiece which has such a massive influence on my life and views. Although I am not a writer I am finally getting round to reading more of his works and appreciating his writing style more and more in the hopes it shows through my own. Although I am not a politician he has given me the fuel to become involved and change the world to banish these absurd practices through teaching future generations.
Chuck you have helped sculpt who I am as a person and how I think in every day life for the better and I couldn’t thank you enough for that.
Yes, I am aware of Fight Club 2 and cannot express my excitement and apprehension at the announcement, I have every issue of it as of yet and when it is complete I fully intend to share my thoughts with you all.