#64 was Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk (New York: Anchor, 2001).
Summary: "Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be 'saved' by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor's life, go on to send checks to support him. When he's not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park. His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve."
Opening line: "If you're going to read this, don't bother."
My take: This is only my second Palahniuk book, but I think I should have taken the narrator's advice above. Pygmy, at least, had some places where I could see and appreciate the humor, but Choke -- meh. At least some reviewers seem to love Palahniuk, brilliant satirist, blah blah blah, so maybe it's just me that Doesn't Get It.
But hey, it's just me reading these books and writing this blog, and Choke was a week of my life I won't get back. (It's a slim book, too, but it didn't call to me the way some others do.) Funny parts, yes, but overall, the characters are thoroughly repulsive, and the book left me feeling like I needed a shower afterwards. I don't mind books that unsettle, but don't feel the need to be disgusted for no reason.
- Ithaca, New York
- MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.