Posted by: Tina M | 6 January , 2010

Choke vs. Choke

I recently finished reading Palahniuk’s Choke and I LOVED it!  The story centers around a man who is a sex addict, works as an historical actor in one “Colonial Dunsboro,” chokes in restaurants to scam people for money, and thinks back to “adventures” with his radical mom who kept going to jail and then kidnapping him from his foster mothers.

Needless to say, there’s a lot going on. I think that Palahniuk managed to develop complex characters and interesting plot. The sex educator side of me really loved hearing about the sex addicts that attend their 12 step meetings and his own sexual exploits- and I was impressed with how it was dealt with. The main characters shame and self hate was enough to overshadow any judgments the reader might’ve had. The dilemma of facing addiction contrasts the anti-consumerism that his mother preached to him during his entire dysfunctional childhood. He is torn throughout the entire novel because of all of the contradicting labels he bears. In the end we’re pushed to take a deep breath, stop worrying about our past, and have faith that “what we build can be anything.”

Overall, I Loved this book.

Then I watched the movie. I have to be honest, most of the time when I watch a movie based on a book, it’s usually not without a long break between. I felt a little annoying mentioning all the differences between the book and the movie, but I think that it really changed the whole effect of the story.

Everything moved really quickly- and when you think about it, it has to. There’s a lot to pack into an hour and a half and much of the novel was very nuanced. It took a lot of writing to help us understand the depth of emotion our hero experiences. The movie left it a little flat. His emotional progress was much too quick and really failed to reach the depth of his despair and the height of his salvation. The characters were also much more flat.

It’s still a good movie that I would recommend to those who don’t want to read the book. But for the readers out there- take some time to enjoy this novel and get the full affect of Palahniuk’s work.

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