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Choke

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3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  156,764 Ratings  ·  5,177 Reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published June 2002 by Anchor Books (first published May 2001)
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Fight Club by Chuck PalahniukInvisible Monsters by Chuck PalahniukSurvivor by Chuck PalahniukChoke by Chuck PalahniukLullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
Best Chuck Palahniuk Books
4th out of 21 books — 346 voters
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Best Dark Humor
5th out of 552 books — 1,234 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Madeline
Jun 25, 2008 Madeline rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-list
"If you're going to read this, don't bother.
After a couple pages, you won't want to be here. So forget it. Go away. Get out while you're still in one piece.
Save yourself.
...
What happens here is first going to piss you off. After that it just gets worse and worse."

I always feel a little stupid reviewing a Chuck Palahniuk book. It always seems like a futile effort. Especially with Choke, which opens with the above quote. How can you review a book like that? If you like it, you're an idiot who's
...more
Darga
Nov 18, 2007 Darga rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"There is no human soul, and I am absolutely for sure seriously not going to fucking cry."

reading a chuck palahniuk novel is like one of those long booze-soaked all-night discussions with someone you've just met. by the end of it you're convinced that you've solved all the world's problems, and how to proceed seems so clear. once you wake up in the morning you remember how good it was, but details are hazy and the big plans are gone.

his books all share similar themes, but i find this to be at t
...more
Megs ♥
Jan 20, 2012 Megs ♥ rated it it was amazing
As with every Chuck Palahniuk book I've read so far I really enjoyed Choke.

This book had a lot going on for one that was a mere 159 pages (on the Nook). I just want to say that this book was amazing. If you're one of Chuck's fans I am guessing you will love this, since it's got his usual satire, style, humor, and repetition. Also, great writing of course. There are some great messages in Chuck's books, some are less obvious, some are hidden completely, some are in your face, and some are crammed
...more
Max Ostrovsky
Sep 23, 2007 Max Ostrovsky rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary, fiction
I'm getting tired of Chuck Palahniuk.
This the fifth book I've read by him and I wasn't the least bit thrilled. I hate it when authors get formulaic. And I hate it even more when it's from an author that I really really like. I can't read Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, and others because of this. And loved their stories! It's just that I figured them out. I knew what to expect. And what's even worse than that, is that I knew who the characters would be. I knew their mannerisms, their quirks, the
...more
Adam
Jun 17, 2012 Adam rated it did not like it
I deleted this review. It was old and inflammatory, and I just don't want to talk about Chuck Palahniuk in 2012. Argue somewhere else, guys. Happy reading.
Jonathan Ashleigh
Mar 01, 2016 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it really liked it
Many themes in this book were enjoyable even if many of them were unlikely. The main character works at a medieval theme park and spends nights pretending to need the Heimlich maneuver because he claims that someone that saves your life has a need to continue taking care of you. I always thought that was the other way around and the save-y has to look over and protect the save-er. I most enjoyed the part where stones are beginning to fill the house and one character mentions that it feels as ...more
Nathan
Oct 07, 2007 Nathan rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Martians who aren't sure whether or not to settle here.
Wow! A book about a suburban white boy with low self-esteem and mommy issues! How novel! I've been told time and again by friends I otherwise respect to read Chuck Palahniuk. Well, I finally did, and it made me realize I've got too many friends. Choke is deeply funny in places, but at times it very much does not feel like it has any kind of natural rhythm, and it often seems contrived purely for the sake of the sick laugh. I haven't lost faith in Palahniuk and will probably read something else ...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Nov 05, 2008 Nicholas Karpuk rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Palahniuk Fans Only
Recommended to Nicholas by: Colin McKay Miller
I have choked in public on two different occasions.

The first was at an Olive Garden with my mother, where an extremely lanky busboy had to give me the Heimlich to dislodge a chunk of poorly chewed steak consumed during a meal of Alfredo.

The second involved another steak-related dinner at QDoba shared with about a dozen friends. An ambulance was called much to my irritation.

Choking, at least in my experience involved vomiting up ropes of phlegm as the body attempts to dislodge the offending artic
...more
Lisa
Apr 23, 2008 Lisa rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one I liked
Recommended to Lisa by: Nora's Dad
If I could give it negative stars, I would. So many things I didn't like about the book...here's a few in list format!

1. No paragraphs...only phrases. It's hard to feel like youre reading a complete thought, when....you're not.
2. I know using the word "Dude" is addictive, but oddly enough, it's even more annoying to read it over and over than to hear/say it.
3. The way he always (and when I say always, I mean every time, every other page) referred to his penis as his 'dog' was nausiating. Really.
...more
Chris
Nov 28, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who liked 'Fight Club' and 'The 6th Sense'
So much better than 'Fight Club.' It's not as grotesque, but it's much more, oh, I don't know, how can I put this... fucked up. It's one those books that don't make any sense at all while you're reading it. Why are they doing that? Who the hell is she? But at the end of the novel, everything, everything comes together and it all makes sense. Plus, you will get one the most insane mind-fucks of all time IF you make it to the end. It was the last book to make gasp out loud and scream out, 'Holy ...more
sweet jane
Feb 10, 2016 sweet jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Διαλύσαμε τον κόσμο, αλλά δεν είχαμε ιδέα τι να κάνουμε με τα κομμάτια..."
Chris_P
Oct 19, 2016 Chris_P rated it really liked it
4 stars, although it could very well be 5. In fact, I don't know why I don't give it 5. I liked it more than Invisible Monsters, almost as much as I liked Fight Club. The more I read the guy, the more I come to believe he's a genius of a kind. At the beginning, he warns the readers to stay away from the book as it will only make them sick. Do I need to worry about the fact that not only did it not make me sick, but I actually loved it? Do I need to worry about the fact that I felt my blood boili ...more
Shovelmonkey1
This was my first introduction to Chuck Palahnuik.
Hello Chuck.
I'm one of your followers on goodreads.
I'm not as weird as any of your characters but maybe one day you'll not write about self-help groups and instead will write about online book groups.
After all bookishness is kind of an addiction too right?
Or maybe it's a compulsion?
Or a bit of both?
Just take a look around goodreads.com...
Like facebook for the literate.
And immoderate.
And insane.
I think there's scope.
Let me know what you think.
...more
Kristen
Aug 28, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it
If you pick this book up, don't even bother looking at the back cover, what is written there cannot even begin to tell you what you are about to read. I picked this book up based off of a few different people's recommendations and hearing the author's name dropped by several of my favorite authors. I had been told over and over how absolutely hysterical this book is, so of course I had to read it.

First let me warn you this book is not for everyone... in fact it's not for most people, but there i
...more
Austin
Mar 07, 2008 Austin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Palahniuk Fans
Recommended to Austin by: I Read It At Work When It Came Out
Chuck Palahniuk cannot end a book to save his life; none of the ones I've read were very satisfying in the end. But what he does do - extremely well - is tell short, interesting, and often funny anecdotes that are nearly all based on real, actual events that happen to people every day, and that is not something to be taken lightly.

If it could be read as a series of events that are all interesting in and of themselves, Choke would be his best book, a hilarious and compelling series of slice-o-li
...more
Miquel Reina
Sep 08, 2016 Miquel Reina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
Choke is one of those books that it still lies in my head. I remember when my College professor of ethics and aesthetics commanded us to read the short story "Guts" of Chuck Palahniuk. He warned us in how unpleasant would be to read it! But after reading it I thought that the author had a way of telling stories so visceral and cruel that attracted me. So inquiring more about him I found the book "Choke".
In Choke the protagonist is the character who has more defects, more misery, and less ethical
...more
Kecia
Jun 16, 2008 Kecia rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: 18 year old boys
Shelves: 1001-books
I just couldn't do it! I could not read this drivel. It's not subversive. It's not funny. It's not interesting. It's not shocking. It is juvenile.

Franzen's The Corrections, Roth's Portnoy's Complaint, and BBE's American Phycho are not in my favorites by any stretch of the imagination...but at least these three have ideas and can actually write even if I didn't want to read what they were writing about.

And PLEASE don't compare this guy to the genius who was Kurt Vonnegut! Just don't even go there
...more
Noce
Apr 05, 2011 Noce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"E se invece Gesù avesse passato la giovinezza a commettere errori?Prima di azzeccare il suo primo miracolo?"
Divertente, brillante, delirante, vorticoso.
A partire dall'incipit:«Se stai per metterti a leggere, evita.
tra un paio di pagine vorrai essere da un'altra parte. Perciò lascia perdere. Vattene. Sparisci, finchè sei intero.
Salvati. Ci sarà pure qualcosa di meglio alla tv. Oppure, se proprio hai del tempo da buttare, che so, potresti iscriverti a un corso serale. Diventare un dottore. Cos
...more
Bree
May 30, 2008 Bree rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2006, fiction
"Psychotic" isn't the right word, but it's the first word that comes to mind.

Seriously, this book is WEIRD. But, having said that, it's what made it so entertaining. The story never really WENT anywhere, though the ending was a surprise. The whole book was random, jumping from one thing to another - choking here, going to work, visiting his mom, going into his past...and there was a lot of pretty graphic areas regarding sex. On the whole, I pretty much hated the main character, he seemed like su
...more
Naomi
Feb 28, 2008 Naomi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in personal growth
Once again, Palahniuk provides perfect social commentary. Essential to understanding America and ourselves, Choke invites you to consider your life holistically, question what you know, and examine the quotidian anew. In addition, Palahniuk challenges us to find the best of ourselves, to focus less on "Saint Me," and to experience fully those near-life experiences he documents so well in Fight Club. Another marvel, another marvel.
Amy
Apr 16, 2007 Amy rated it it was amazing
Excerpt:

"Here, I'm supposed to tell her the truth. I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He's taken some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of his death from being a total surprise.

In a way, being an addict is very proactive.

A good addiction takes the guesswork out of death. There is such a thing as plan
...more
Sofía De la Cuesta
Sep 11, 2015 Sofía De la Cuesta rated it liked it
Me gusta el estilo irreverente y disperso de Palahniuk. La historia me hizo apreciar mi vida y lo afortunada que soy... jajajaja
Muy recomendable amigos!
Sad Sunday
Sep 17, 2016 Sad Sunday rated it it was ok
Dear Mister Charles Bukowski,

As you are always blunt, allow me to be blunt once. Is Chuck Palahniuk your son? Not necessarily legitimate one or loved one, but son nevertheless.

Why I am asking this? Because in "Choke" C.Palahniuk chooses this style, that can be described as realism (real life, everyday based writing), but it's quite familiar to your own style, Mr. C.Bukowski. And while you describe your everyday life and surroundings with "this life sucks" manner, I guess Mr. Palahniuk wanted t
...more
Bill
Sep 29, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Granny dumpers, fat Tarzan and the monkey with the ass flavored chestnuts, tantric architecture, safe words and the sacred foreskin. Yep.

Victor is a serial choker, medical school dropout, sex addict and bit player in an 18th century living museum. He may also be the Messiah. Or not
.
Palahniuk does it again with his sarcastic and witty take on choking as a business opportunity. Only Chuck could pull this one off.
Anthony Chavez
Aug 23, 2011 Anthony Chavez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Bravo Palahniuk, Bra-ha-vo!

Man am I late to the Palahniuk party, geez. This book was amazing, his writing impeccable. The man can weave sentences in ways very few can. I agree this man's writing should be taught in philosophy courses. To review a book that's starts with this:

"If you're going to read this, don't bother.
After a couple pages, you won't want to be here. So forget it. Go away. Get out while you're still in one piece. Save yourself.
...
What happens here is first going to piss you o
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Jul 03, 2013 Kelly (and the Book Boar) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Victor spends his days working as an indentured servant in Colonial America. He spends his nights rotating between attending sex addicts anonymous and faking his own untimely demise by choking in high-end restaurants. Once saved, Victor then maintains contact with said rescuers in the hopes that they will send him enough money to cover his mother’s monthly nursing home bill.

Chuck Palahniuk is a very polarizing figure in modern day literature – you either love him or hate him. I fall into the ab
...more
Peter
Dec 01, 2008 Peter rated it it was ok
Fairly standard transgressional fiction, full of paranoid social deviants, conspiracy theories abound, femmes fatales, a twist ending…you get the idea. Choke is not drastically different from Palahniuk’s earlier (and better) novel, Fight Club. In fact, it’s far too similar. In Fight Club the primary metaphoric device was underground street fighting. In Choke, it is sexual addictions. Author works hard to shock the reader with graphic descriptions and sometimes funny slang, but the (intentionally ...more
Patrizia O
Sep 23, 2011 Patrizia O rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporanei
Senza alcun filtro, Palahniuk ci sbatte in faccia le incongruenze e le brutture della vita che quotidianamente ciascuno di noi conduce. Il protagonista (così come tutti gli altri personaggi che gli ruotano intorno) non riesce a far finta che vada tutto bene, a rimuovere il disagio della civiltà (passatemi la citazione freudiana). Ma c’è molto di più: una Madre che ha cercato di plasmarlo secondo la sua distorta visione del mondo e che non ha esitato a usarlo per raggiungere i suoi obiettivi.
La
...more
Wayne Barrett
Jan 13, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bizarro, humor, 2015
"What would Jesus NOT do?"
A sex addict who has fake-choked in so many restaurants that he has to start browsing the phone book for new material. A delusional mother, delusional doctor, delusional friends in a delusional life. There are so many great one liners throughout this book that if I highlighted, there would be more yellow than white within these covers.
Chuck Palahniuk has a unique way of taking down the curtains we erect in our own minds to escape the cruel, stinking, insane realities of
...more
Amanda NEVER MANDY
I originally had this one rated at a four but the more I stewed on it the more I realized it wasn’t fair to the other fours out there and that it needed to come down a star. The beginning was strong, the middle entertaining but the end lost my attention. I think the exact moment it fell apart for me was the mile high chapter. It had the “okay I get it, now please stop beating the joke to death” feel to it that always wears thin on my patience.

Nevertheless, his writing has that certain something
...more
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Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’ ...more
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“What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.” 5913 likes
“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That's the only lasting thing you can create.” 3461 likes
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