As I settled in to write this review, I thought, This book has been out for 11 years…how is my review going to change the world or influence anyone? Looking back at the books I’ve reviewed this year, this was the oldest, followed by one from 2006, three from 2008, and two from 2009. The rest are 2012 or newer. Perhaps I should impose a new rule that I don’t review books 5 years or older unless they are truly worthy of praise or criticism.
Which means I get to review this audiobook because it absolutely rocked my world. In a very I-feel-dirty, roll-up-the-windows-at-stoplights kinda way. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk is the story of Victor Mancini, a sex addict whose childhood was marred by the sporadic influence of his mother Ida, a woman who kidnapped him from foster families and brain-washed him into obsessing over abandonment and illness. He can’t decide whether he wants to save his sickly mother, or save her…but only just enough to keep her alive, not to thrive.
The cast of characters in this novel are odd, are interesting, are people you desperately want to save. And then you hear the author discuss his motivation for writing the book, and it all becomes even more real and personal. You cannot help but want to look at the car crash that is Denny’s compulsions, Victor’s desperate attempts at living a life worth living, Victor’s desperate attempts to live a life not worth living (“What would Jesus not do?”), Paige’s odd ramblings about scientific breakthroughs that could save Ida.
The climax (sorry…) of this novel truly shocked me. I pride myself in not reading into storylines, and just letting them come to me. Well Palahniuk totally got me on this one! So much so that I screamed “What?!” in the car and scared myself.
Adults. Adults who enjoy crass, inappropriate topics such as sex addiction and God complex.
The Contortionists’s Handbook by Craig Clevenger because of the fast-paced, adult nature of the plot, and the introspection of the narrator.
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell (and its sequel Wild Thing). Mobster-turned-doctor attempts to thwart a mob bosses’ kid’s murderous rage. Awesome audiobook. My sister trained for her half-marathon to this.