Jenny Cheung's Reviews > Choke

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
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's review
Aug 23, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: ap-english

** spoiler alert ** “Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk is a story, which I do not dare to say as the best, nor the worst. How can I describe such a story?
“Psychotic” isn’t the right word, but it is the first word that comes to mind.

See also: bizarre

See also: drastic

See also: disturbing

See also: mind-wrecking

This “so called-story” describes of the protagonist Victor Mancini’s “adept methods of becoming another Robin Hood”. We all know at least the breakdown of Robin Hood. He steals from the rich and gives it to the poor. This story is a little bit of a remake copy of Robin Hood with a very explicit and graphic twist. Victor Mancini “scams” strangers and the elite by “choking” on food of all sorts in a wonderfully grand restaurant, which attracts “a brave soul” to come and save him. After saving him, “these saviors” sending extravagant presents, money, cash, cards of all sorts caring for him as though he’s a pitiful lonely soul being taken into an orphanage. With these excessive presents and money, he uses it to pay for supporting his dying mother who’s inflicted with Alzheimer’s.

His mother takes and even more drastic ride in the history of Victor Mancini’s life. When Victor was younger, his mother had kidnapped him several times after losing custody of him because of her own “unique mental issues that needs to be cared of”. After kidnapping him, she teaches him a little bit of what is shown in the famed “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain whereas Huck’s father kidnaps Huck and teaches him things that should not be taught such that include of skipping school. Now as we see a replay of the little episode in Mark Twain's famed novel in “Choke”, it is understandable that Victor did not have that great of a childhood. In fact, he never even has to live what was called a “childhood” properly. He had to learn to become independent on his own at a very young age. However, can we really put all the blame on his mother? I guess probably not after we see what else is in store within Victor.

Victor is a sex addict. Period. He cannot control. He goes to this rehab like lessons in order to control only to worsen it and agitate a sex addiction he has even more. Within every single chapter of this book, there is at least one mini episode of a sexual reference, a sexual action, a sex scene, a sexual metaphor of some sort, or even more sexual references. Victor is a failed medical student who is actually suffering of mental problems of all types ranging from his failed childhood to his uncontrollable sex addiction.

To be honest, this book isn’t something I really love. It was an extremely confusing and especially disturbing book with sexual references and repeated words such like “dude” in almost every single chapter. Sexual references and metaphors are made in every single chapter, which soon becomes dull and rather annoying in fact. Sure, the first couple of chapters containing such references wouldn’t be so dull because it’s something you wouldn’t normally read for a literature class. Something so explicit and graphically described wouldn’t be something normally read for a literature class and be asked to be carefully analyzed into a review. However, it soon started irritating me. You get tired of the “so called many” metaphors they come up with just so to indicate the main item they’re talking about is a penis. From “magic stick” to “my secret weapon” to describe something such like a penis, it becomes quite not just disturbing but actually annoying. To add on, the other sexual references to other else body parts and bodily fluids really adds on to irritation and the limit of patience you’re able to handle within yourself.

The book drives around these few kind of topics but the part that really actually makes you feel for it is probably the little bit of time between Victor’s psychotic mother and Victor. His own mother doesn’t even recognize Victor, which makes you feel quite pitiful actually. In other cases, it drives around in circles to literally nowhere honestly. It seems like an endless drive toward an unknown destination literally.
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