Book Reviews of Choke

Author: Chuck Palahniuk
ISBN-13: 9780385720922
ISBN-10: 0385720920
Publication Date: 6/11/2002
Pages: 304
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 579 ratings
Publisher: Anchor
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

57 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Choke on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
This book was refreshingly different from what I have been reading recently. Palahniuk's writing style was enjoyable although I found it very similar to that of Vonnegut. I have yet to decide whether this is a good thing.

The story was bleakly humorous and interesting, but I thought that the repetition of certain sentences for effect was somewhat irksome, especially when they were being used on every page. Luckily, this began to ebb after the first half of the novel.

"Annoying isn't the right word, but it's the first word that comes to mind".

Underneath the satire and occasionally excessive sexuality is a story about a guy wading through his problems while attempting to discover himself; problems that he essentially blames on his deteriorating, archetypal philosopher mother.

I have to disagree with the book's opening sentence- "If you're going to read this, don't bother". I recommend Choke to anyone interested in reading Palahniuk. My first novel by him, but certainly not the last.
reviewed Choke on + 656 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This was my first taste of Palahniuk. I'm not real sure what to think of it -- the book had something in it to offend everyone! It was very strange and bizarre but also quite creative. The main character is a compulsive sex addict (the book goes into great length describing his addictions. So be warned. Maybe a little too much information) who creates heroes by purposely choking at restaurants and getting himself saved. This book is not for the easily offended, but it is interesting and has a moral of sorts in showing the impermanence of material things. The story itself is also extremely funny and the situations are outlandish. I'm not sure if I would go out my way to read other Palahniuk books, but I did enjoy the book overall.
reviewed Choke on + 554 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Like others, I saw the film Fight Club but had not read any of Palahniuk's books before. This book had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a while, and with the upcoming release of the movie I figured it was time to give it a try.

The word "sick" seems to occur frequently in reviews of Palahniuk's work. After reading this book I understand why. Many of the images in the book are quite disgusting, but "sick" is also a good word to describe the world as Palahniuk portrays it. Despite the high gross-out factor, this book is at times laugh out loud funny - indeed I could not decide if some of the scenes were for shock value or attempts at dark humor.

The protagonist Victor behaves in an appalling manner, but because the book is written in first person we can almost understand why and feel sympathetic towards him. However, whenever Victor starts to become likable, Palahniuk quickly does something to make us gag or laugh again. What a strange book.
reviewed Choke on
Helpful Score: 5
Hilarious. Seriously, if you like dark humor, if you have a nihilistic streak, if you are a sucker for satire-- you want this book. I laughed, I felt sick from emotional attachment, and I enjoyed this book immensely.
reviewed Choke on + 132 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is really strange. A med school dropout sex addict whose day job is working at a colonial theme park supports his mother in elder care by choking at expensive restaurants and receiving the Heimlich Maneuver from patrons who then feel heroic and responsible for him and send him checks forever after. Distinctive, disturbing, gleeful, I kept shaking my head in disbelief - but I couldn't stop reading it. Neither for the prude nor the prurient, not as delicately perfectly hysterical as Hitchhiker's Guide but almost as strange.
reviewed Choke on + 252 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I would like to reach inside Chuck Palahniuk's head for just a moment to get a taste of his mind because if this is what he writes about, imagine how many other twisted images are lurking in there, stored away. What a great raunchy novel! This was my second sampling of his work, more please! In this novel we get to know Victor Mancini. Victor is a medical school dropout, a sex addict stuck in the fourth step of recovery, an employee at Colonial Dunsboro, and a regular choking victim. Victor's mother is Ida Mancini, extremely delusional, wasting away at St. Anthony's from starvation and Alzheimer's. Victor is seeking the truth about his parentage. Is he the perfect manifestation of God, the second coming of Christ? For serious, this book is sexually explicit! The first word that comes to mind is nasty. Do not read this book if you are easily offended! Sick!
reviewed Choke on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
After having this book on my Wish List for months, I am posting this book without even reading past the first chapter; it did absolutely nothing for me, other than bore me to tears. I cannot believe that this is the same man who brought us Fight Club. The first line of the book is: "If you're going to read this, don't bother." I only wish I had listened.
reviewed Choke on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I know that Chuck has fallen out of favor lately in contemporary culture but I still enjoy him. After reading Rant I decided to try out some of his older works and was glad that he has perfected his craft since then! Choke was all over the place and his usual writing techniques had yet to be nailed down. He tends to have an idea that he carries through the story without you understanding the reasoning behind until the end. In Choke there were about four ideas he was trying to feed you (HA!) and he didn't spend enough time backing them up. I felt that his rushed ending was too compartmentalized and the situations that befell the narrator, tragically trite. Palahnuik has some amazing ideas and themes that he uses in his stories but with Choke, I found most of it hard to swallow.
reviewed Choke on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Choke was able to grab my attention from the very start and was one very interesting read all the way through. I was never quite sure what to expect in the next chapter and was very amused at the quirks this character had to offer. I particularly liked how Choke was finished. I would suggest this book to anyone, over the age of say 17-18.
reviewed Choke on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Raunchy but intelligent. Victor Mancini is kind of a square block trying to fit into a circle hole. There are particular types of people who are well suited to conform to the constructs of society and then there are people like Victor who are simply not equipped for that. This book tells the story of his trials trying to raise enough money to keep his mother alive in the hospital as well as his inner conflict of determining whether he is a good or bad person. The book is a critique of the dichotomy of conformity versus anarchy. And plus it's hilarious. Highly recommended, at least once.
reviewed Choke on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is well written and funny, but not for the weak hearted. There is quite a bit of sexual content in this book.
reviewed Choke on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Ugh, I agree with many of the other reveiwers...boring and irksome. Yeah, it's outrageous but it's also incredibly disjointed and annoying, could not muster anough interest to finish it
reviewed Choke on
Helpful Score: 1
This book was crude with a lot of sexuality in it. Just a warning. It was alright.
reviewed Choke on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I felt so dirty after reading this book I had to take a shower and burn my bookmark. At just under 300 pages I read this book in about a month because I couldn't stomach much more than a chapter at a time. Shockingly uncomfortable at best. But- a really original story and entertaining like watching Cops is entertaining... I found myself often shaking my head and saying, "not good choices, not good choices." I feel like the whole rock episode was some type of metaphor I didn't get. If you liked Beavis and Butthead or Ren and Stimpy, you'll love this book.
reviewed Choke on
Helpful Score: 1
This is an interesting story about an interesting character. I was expecting the story to have more of a "point" or "purpose", but felt that it was sort of a wandering plot without any real sense of direction. One thing is for sure, though...the author definitely has a way with words. This is my first book by Chuck, and I definitely like his writing style. I guess I was just looking for "more" from his story. Overall, I'd recommend the just wasn't quite my cup of tea.
reviewed Choke on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Well, I've never read a book where I didn't like the main character. What can I say, I guess it's just not my style.
reviewed Choke on
Helpful Score: 1
I have never read a Chuck Palhniuk of course I had to see what all the hype was about. I am so glad that I did. This book is not for the faint of heart. Warning: this book is very sexually explicit. Everyone has an addiction but to me his is a little strange. But I think that is what makes the book so amazing. He also tells us things about how messed up his childhood was and I am pretty sure that there are some people in the world who had a messed up may not be as bad as his. This book is crammed full of sarcasm and dark humor. I never thought in a million years that I would love reading a book like this. It was impossible to put down and I feel like I stepped out of my comfort zone with this book. In some kind of weird way it has motivated me to do something to change myself for the better in some slight way. Also the characters are all unique and have there own crazy personality traits. I am highly recommending this book to everyone and there brother. I leave you with a quote from the book:

"We spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or Insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heros or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe its our job to invent something better."
reviewed Choke on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I regret spending money on this book and I won't read it again. I just had to find out for myself. The end was the best part. Overall, I don't recommend it.
reviewed Choke on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I had seen this movie and was curious. It is a odd little window into a life I could never understand. I did enjoy it. It was unlike anything I had ever read. Its slightly pornographic but I didn't seem to mind. Other than feeling oddly uncomfortable reading such things while in the presence of family. The over use of the word "dude" is a little irritating but otherwise the writing is really good. He writes scenes with no detail overlooked.
reviewed Choke on
Helpful Score: 1
This book is - different. It ended up being just OK for me. Not what I was expecting. Not a bad story, just a strange way to tell it. There are some similar elements to Fight Club, like the addiction meetings, characters with low self-image, ect., but the central story line was different enough. The characters are just strange, at the same time,they are both honest and not really beleivable. There's also a lot of weird images. I also felt like a lot of things were left unfinished at the end.
reviewed Choke on + 117 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Palahniuk is one sick, twisted individual--I loved this story--no one else can come up with the crazy ideas he has written about. This one is definitely xxx rated.
reviewed Choke on
Helpful Score: 1
This is quite possibly the most bizarre book I have read in my entire life. I wouldn't call it an enjoyable read per se, but it certainly held my interest - in a strange, sideshow freak sort of manner that I couldn't turn my head from.

"Choke" was the first of Chuck Palahniuk's books that I've read but it won't be the last. His style is unique and refreshing (again, in an incredibly odd manner) and twistedly funny. Impossible to categorize. Read it and see for yourself...
reviewed Choke on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A quirky novel from the author of Fight Club. If you like Fight Club's uncomfortable, dark corners, you love this well-crafted story of a man looking for human connections.
reviewed Choke on + 193 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I couldn't get into this book. I felt it was to racy and to all over the place. Not my type of book
reviewed Choke on + 31 more book reviews
Pretty standard Palahniuk fare -- male protaganist, strange things happen to him. Rather forgettable. Not as awful as Haunted, but nowhere near as enthralling as Invisible Monsters.
reviewed Choke on + 7 more book reviews
I read through the whole thing but ended disappointed with it all. The characters developed no redeeming qualities through the whole thing; I hated them more by the end of the book than I did at the beginning. I can't imagine how they're going to turn this into a popular movie- I mean, there's lots of sex, but it's not in the least titillating, and the characters... ugh.
Then again, I am not Vonnegut's biggest fan. He did something really great with Lullaby, but the other books of his I've read left me tired and disgusted.
reviewed Choke on + 61 more book reviews
I listened to Choke during a road trip to Nebraska and it stuck with me for days afterwards. Our protagonist, Victor Mancini, is a sex addicted med-school dropout turned con-artist with a heart of gold. This is one of those stories where it's hard not to root for the bad guy. Choke is a profoundly dark comedy with a slightly odd/slightly humorous twist. It begs the question, "what would Jesus not do?"
reviewed Choke on + 7 more book reviews
I'd never read anything by Chuck before this book; I've never even watched Fight Club let alone knew it was a book first. So this was my first taste of /all/ of that. A recommendation from a friend.

That being said, it was alright. The writing gnawed a bit on my nerves, and some of it seemed unnecessarily descriptive and disgusting, but because the book was short I decided to bite back and get through it.

I'd never read about a character with this kind of outlook, so it was a nice break-off from the usual. The best part about /that/ is, that I (we?) can relate to his way of thinking. I wanted to hate the guy, but I couldn't, I can always think back to one time or another where I felt/thought the same way, the difference is he doesn't feel guilty about it.

This book is a nice dose of one of the /worst/ sides of humanity. Depending on the person, it's a nice cold drink of water. Once you get past all the dead flies floating in it.
reviewed Choke on + 7 more book reviews
What a great read from a great author! The perspective in this book is unique. The main character isn't someone class, but kinda the world's underdog. The storytelling of his life fills in with... I wouldn't say brilliant scenes, but with very believable details. You think you know him, then you KNOW you know him..... and then you're wrong. I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone who wants something out of the norm and a bit twisted.
See also: Creative
See also: Sordid
See also: Page Turner
reviewed Choke on + 9 more book reviews
This book has a unique sense of humor and a refreshing style. Palahniuk manages to bounce between explicit sex, the narrator's off-kilter self-evaluation, and bits of insight about humanity without missing a beat.
reviewed Choke on + 38 more book reviews
Wow. This book will boggle your mind with its depictions of over-the-top characters that are the same time despicable, endearing, and ultimately human. If you thought the movie was outrageous... The book is even more so! (And why didn't you read it FIRST?)
reviewed Choke on
This is the first book by this author that I've read and I can see why he's so popular. It was totally strange but in a good way. It was totally original and had a very unexpected ending.
reviewed Choke on + 18 more book reviews
He only wrote 2 novels that are worthe the price, This and Fight Club. I would reccomend this if you liked Fight Club or anything else by him really.
reviewed Choke on + 5 more book reviews
This book was weird and ridiculous. But I do like the author
reviewed Choke on + 69 more book reviews
enjoyed it
reviewed Choke on + 2 more book reviews
Excellent plotline. However, Palahniuk should write screenplays, not novels. His storytelling ability is amazing, but he has no sense of beautiful literature. I fear that the art of writing is going downhill with modern literature.
reviewed Choke on + 3 more book reviews
This book leaves you guessing to the very end. I definately recommend it.
reviewed Choke on + 87 more book reviews
I read this in anticipation of the upcoming movie. I liked it, but I didn't like it as well as either of the other two I've read by Palahniuk. It seemed a little forced, as a story, in comparison. For a first-time C.P. reader, I'd recommend Lullaby. Choke is a must-read for fans, but it won't make you fall in love.

Speaking of not falling in love, the first chapter explains that you won't love Victor Mancini, and it's right. It's not that you dislike the character, per se, it's that he's a non-entity in his own story, which perhaps is the point C.P. is trying to make with him. He's an addict without explaining the compulsion, a con artist without a satisfactory explanation why the con works (he isn't charming enough that I bought the con, coming from him), and he's quirky without ever really hitting endearing. Looking past the surface to the inherent nihilism in the story - none of us is really endearing or charming, or really ever has a reason behind anything we do - then it's fine. It doesn't strike me, however, that that's what the author was going for. Victor isn't absurdly quirky enough that he pulls off a commentary on extreme futility or nihilism. The result is that he falls flat as both a catalyst for social commentary and as a human being.

I will see the movie. The right actor could give Victor the charm needed to push this past a good story to a great story. Words alone didn't do it.
reviewed Choke on + 123 more book reviews
My first Chuck Palahniuk novel..and loved it! His writing is so crude that you just crave more. I really see why his novels are turned into movies. His writing is so different from other authors, it is very unique. I have some of his other books and can not wait to start them.
reviewed Choke on + 34 more book reviews
Chuck Palahniuk's best novel.
reviewed Choke on + 1072 more book reviews
typical Palahniuk novel....some rambling...some thought provoking...always sexually charged...

about a sex addict who makes his living doubling as a teacher from the 18th century, wishing his mother dead, and making it a practice to choke at every meal....
reviewed Choke on + 7 more book reviews
Classic Palahniuk.
reviewed Choke on + 168 more book reviews
Great writing. As usual with Palahniuk, some passages will gross you out, but the overall effect is that his books make you think.
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reviewed Choke on + 41 more book reviews
I just couldn't get into this book. I tried to read it, thinking there would be more to the book beyond the main character going around and pretending to choke in nice restaraunts. But it just wasn't going any where for me.
reviewed Choke on + 48 more book reviews
A very strange but surprisingly entertaining book about a sex addict who fakes that he's choking to death in restaurants in order to earn sympathy money from the person who "saves" him. After the first couple chapters, I could tell this wasn't going to be one of my favorite books of all time, but I continued with it and was pleasantly surprised. There are some dull parts, and my chief complaint is that I felt like the book didn't have much of a beginning, middle, climax, resolution, etc. The entire story is basically a few-month long glimpse into the daily routines of the main character, Victor. Despite being a dispicable and directionless sex addict who takes advantage of people's sympathy to earn money to care for his mentally ill mother, you find yourself actually sypmathizing with him by the end of the book.

The writing itself was great. There is a lot of sarcasm and some really interesting and insightful points are made by Palahniuk, through Victor's observations and confusion about the meaning of life -- particularly, his own.
reviewed Choke on
Listen to the author when he tells you to stop reading on the opening pages. This book is obnoxious, crude, and disgusting!
reviewed Choke on + 21 more book reviews
Fabulous book by the same guy who authored Fight Club, upon which the movie with Brad Pitt and Ed Norton was based. This is a raw and edgy tale (with some comedic and endearing moments) about accepting oneself, IMO. The author has a great talent for creating dark and memorable characters.
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Honestly I was a little disappointed with the simplicity of this book. I still enjoyed it though.
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Interesting was listed in the 1001 books you must read before you die
reviewed Choke on + 7 more book reviews
I didn't think I'd like this book, but once I got started I didn't want to put it down.
reviewed Choke on + 91 more book reviews
* * * * . A man unloved in boyhood fakes choking incidents at restaurants and scours sex addict meetings seeking new techniques. This books is a wild ride as the narrator tells his story of self discovery, uncensored. While the book is disjointed, it is often hilarious and shocking that you find yourself reading more. Original. Prudes: Beware.
reviewed Choke on + 21 more book reviews
One of the best of Palahnuik's works.Graphic, but human- and pointed less graphic than Haunted, his most recent book.
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Could not get into this book enough to finish.
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Sick, bizarre, favorite qualities in a book. I really liked this one, grossness and all!
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Needing to pay for elder care for his mom, the antihero devises a scam. He pretends to choke on food in upscale restaurants.
reviewed Choke on
Hated it. had to be one of the worst books I ever read!! Just awful.