“You met me at a very strange time in my life.”
– Narrator, Fight Club
You’re sixteen and you know something is off. There’s a big election coming up, after it takes place “nothing will ever be the same.” Or so everyone says, you secretly doubt that anything will change. Your friends get excited for video games, Jersey Shore, clothes, and high school drama; you don’t care about any of those things. All the adults in your life get excited over the news, politics, and social circle drama; you wonder if they ever actually outgrew high school.
You don’t want to have to go to college. You don’t want to have to get a job. All you really want out of life is to do your own thing. Unfortunately, everyone you know thinks otherwise. You wonder if you’re the only person who realizes how frivolous and stupid most “socially acceptable” behavior really is.
One day fate hands you a book. You’ve never seen it before and you know nothing about it. You are aware that someone adapted it into a film, but you’ve never seen it. The most you know is that the plot involves underground boxing.
“This might be good,” you think. Going to the cash register, you shell out eight dollars. You now own Fight Club, the most influential book of your life.
In retrospect, only two of these books withstood the test of time. And neither one was Fight Club. I still enjoyed the book, but I enjoyed it as a story; not an ideology. When I first read Fight Club I was an angry kid, I knew something was wrong with the world and I wanted seek vengeance for it (note: the most “retribution” I ever got was shooting up a couple of things with my paintball gun. I sucked at being an anarchist). I wanted destruction, and Fight Club gave me the “okay” to do it. Four years later I can look back and realize what an idiot I was. Having hobbies and building something is far more rewarding than whatever quick thrill “getting back at the man” can provide.
While the book isn’t as meaningful to me now, it’s impact from the first time I read it has still carried over to the present day. I’m a lot more frugal than my younger self was. I’m perfectly happy with doing my own thing. And I’ve developed a taste for more “alternative” writers and bloggers like Jonathan Frost, English Teacher X, and Matt Forney.
From where I sit now, Fight Club gets a very reluctant recommendation. It’s still worth reading, but the magic is gone.