When I added this book to my Good Reads “To Read” list, this was not what I was expecting at all. What I was expecting was a short easy read about men who fought to feel powerful. This novel was not easy and definitely went above and beyond fighting, and was certainly one of those books you didn’t realize you liked until after it was all over.
The Narrator, who is never named, begins the book with an average life. White collar job, apartment full of ikea furniture, and a laundry list of problems, beginning with his severe case of insomnia. The doctor wouldn’t prescribe him medicine for it claiming no one ever died from it. Therefore, the narrator begins the journey with the sole purpose of finding a way he can get to sleep.
He decides that the best way would be to join some support groups for various illnesses, cancers and more. This way he could be surrounded by people who were experiencing death, so that he could feel more grateful for living. He would cry with these people and grieve with these people, but what they didn’t know was that he wasn’t a patient. He was there because the only way he could get to sleep was through crying at these groups. But when a women named Marla shows up to a support group, she throws everything off because the narrator is embarrassed to cry in front of her, because he can sense she is a faker as well. While afterward they both agree not to rat each other out, the narrator realizes that these support groups will no longer be of help to him if he cannot cry in front of Marla.
After not sleeping for a long period of time, the narrator just goes through his daily life in a zombie-like fashion, hating himself, his job and his life. That is, until he runs into Tyler Durden, a free, charismatic person with a passion for soap making. When Tyler asks the narrator to punch him as hard as he could after having a couple drinks, the narrator hesitates, worried he will hurt his new friend. Tyler insists, and the narrator obliges, punching him hard in the side of the head. This unleashes a new feeling of satisfaction and invisibility the narrator has never had, an even better feeling than he experienced at the support groups. This is the beginning of their new club, their fight club.
This fight club has a simple set of rules:
1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
3rd RULE: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.
4th RULE: Only two guys to a fight.
5th RULE: One fight at a time.
6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.
7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.
More and more guys participate every week, in basements accross the country as the idea expands. Men from professional jobs that want to feel something more than their everday lives. Men that want to feel like men.
Though when the narrator begins to realize that he is no longer getting the powerful invincible feeling he used to get from fighting, Tyler invents a new step up from fight club. Project Mayhem. With divisions like miscommunication, mischief, and arson, men from all over the country take the step up from fight club to engage in this secret army led by Tyler to freeze society long enough for it to correct itself, so everyone can stop leading boring lives and start living.
Sadly, I cannot say much more than that without spoiling the whole plot twist between Tyler and the narrator. Long story short I enjoyed this book much more than I originally thought and it made me realize why the movie is such a cult classic (which I still have yet to see). It’s a bit confusing in the beginning, but I encourage you to keep reading past it because it was amazing once you get into it. The rules intrigued me and were the reason I originally picked out the book, and even though I’ve already broke the first and second rule writing this post, it was a good cause. This book was unique and unlike the usual reads.