Pardon the pun, but Fight Club sure packs a punch. It's an excessively dark humour, and has some fantastic quotes you are sure to remember with a secret, evil smile for years afterwards. Palahniuk somehow manages to write an ironic commentary on societal conformity, without alienating boy OR girl readers. And no sentence is wasted - it's a swift and surprisingly stingy read at 207 flimsy paperback pages.
Similar in tone to American Psycho, I can totally see why this book developed into such a phenomenon from the time of its release. It walks a neat tightrope between showcasing beauty in Destruction, and warning of the modern man's disconnect. There's a weird jittery calmness to the book's narration that keeps your brain alert, as if the book itself may swing a fist at your face or might chance a knee to your groin if it thinks you'd react at all- so don't work yourself into a frenzy while reading if you can help it. It might be difficult to contain yourself, though, and it'll make no difference whether you're a perfect princess or a rugby player - you'll be caught up in the bloodlust and the other crazy antics of the Fight Club boys either way.
I really can't rave enough. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie I suggest you do so NOW. Any worries you might have about it being too "gory"- well, the movie really isn't that bad and the fighting scenes take a backseat to the psychological meanderings of Edward Norton's character and his run-ins with people in his daily life. If it's any consolation you'll get to see a fair bit of Brad Pitt with his shirt off. Worth it, yah?
I also can't suggest which one to watch/read first. I watched the movie and then read the book but it didn't spoil it in the slightest. I imagine it'd be the same if you approached it from the opposite end. I still marvelled at the book story though I knew the movie script by heart. And I hope I won't be spoiling too much by saying that the two endings are entirely different. Of course, both endings rocked my socks.
Sadly, I wouldn't be a valued member of the elite secret society. Mainly because I've already broken the first rule of Fight Club: which is, Never Talk About Fight Club.
Damn it. I must be destined for mediocrity.
4.5 stars for Fight Club (the book).