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GUTS by Chuck Palahniuk

4 Oct


Take in as much air as you can.”

Those are the opening words for a short story that I hear caused no less than 60 people to black out while the author read to the audience.

The topic of this story is quite, well for lack of better words, unconventional. It tells of general masturbation mishaps, the result of people looking for weird more intense ways to beat off, and focuses on the three young boys, the narrator being one of them.

It is a disturbingly graphic, and some will even say disgusting story. You find yourself simultaneously clenching your butt cheeks and covering your eyes with your hands but you’ll still continue reading through the slits in your fingers.

You can see what I’m up against.
You let go for a second, and you’re gutted.
You swim for the surface, for a breath, and you’re gutted.
You don’t swim, and you drown.
It’s a choice between being dead right now or a minute from right now.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and even found it funny in a twisted kind of way. I reread it twice in one sitting and I proceeded to disgust my friend with all the gory details. I could not suffer alone – after all, misery does love company.

I’ve watched fight club, the film adaptation of the book of the same title, written by Chuck, but GUTS is what has endeared him to me. I just want to read everything he has ever written. So help me God.

“Now you can take a good, deep breath.” I just did. 😉

Click here to read GUTS


First Love and Other Sorrows by Harold Brodkey

3 Sep

The fluid and descriptive nature of this story makes you feel like it were you telling it, like it was from your memory – one can almost see every event, hear every sound, feel every emotion.

It tells a story from the point of view of a 16 year old St. Louis  ‘goldbrick’ (as Mackyz, the coach, calls our narrator), and how he began the dreadful process that is growing up in spring of that year – of his being born into affluence but losing that shortly after his father dies, of first true love and of first kisses, of being sixteen and all the insecurities that come with that time, and of family.

“…more than anything else in the world I wanted to be a success when I grew up. I did not know there was any other way of being lovable.”

You can relate to at least one character in the book – be it the mother and how she never did get over the ‘downgrading’ of her status, although it does not seem like they were poor even after; or the beautiful but restless 22-year old sister and the slew of boys all trooping to win her favour; or Preston, the ‘jaded’ yet vain best friend; or Joel, the douchey pretty boy; or Eleanor, who seems to be the narrator’s first true love; or even the narrator himself.

We never find out his name, but this does not matter because he could be any one of us, he could even be you.

*Picture by Lolo