S01E06 – Fight Club

It’s our Season 1 finale and, guess what? We break the first rule of Fight Club! Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk, follows a man who’s suffering from insomnia. He meets a strange man named Tyler Durden; the two bored men form an underground club and fight other men who are fed up with their own mundane lives. In this episode, we discuss arguably the best-known portrayal of dissociative identity disorder in fiction, and what it gets right and wrong. We may have been baffled by all the chaos. Although we appreciate the writing, this book is not really for us.

Mental health issues covered: Dissociative identity disorder (DID), insomnia, anxiety, mental health crisis, suicide.

Additional trigger warnings: violence, sexism… and a lot of toxic masculinity.

Listen to the podcast:

About the Book

A man suffering from insomnia meets a strange soap salesman named Tyler Durden and soon finds himself living in Tyler’s house after his perfect apartment is destroyed. The two bored men form an underground club with strict rules and fight other men who are fed up with their mundane lives. Their partnership frays when Marla, a fellow support group crasher, attracts Tyler’s attention.

About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk is an American freelance journalist, teacher and novelist who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is the author of a number of books including (of course) Fight Club, Choke, Invisible Monsters, Haunted and most recently, Adjustment Day and the graphic novel Fight Club 3. Visit his official fan website here.

Recommended Readings

Relevant mental health resources:

  • Psychology Today has an article explaining DID – its symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
  • Daily Bruin discusses the often inaccurate portrayals of DID in film.
  • Teach Trauma tackles the myths of DID.

More stories like Fight Club:

  • If you like this book, you will probably enjoy Chuck Palahnuik’s other books. Some of his well-known ones include Invisible Monsters and Choke.
  • United States of Tara portrays a woman with DID. Here is an article where its creators discuss their thought processes in making the show. Please note that we haven’t watched the show ourselves. If you have, let us know your thoughts on it!
  • Have you read/seen a good portrayal of DID? Let us know!

Voices from Lived Experience

Here are some of the views we found from people who have experienced DID:

  • MedCircle interviewed a woman named Encina about what it’s like living with DID. She talks a lot about her experiences and we meet one of her alters in the interview.
  • Individuals with lived experience have written about the damaging impact of misrepresentations of DID. The Mighty posted a letter from individuals with lived experience responding to M. Night Shymalan’s movie Split. Mental Health Today also has an article from someone with lived experience.

On the TBR Pile

  • If you have any recommendations of books that feature DID or explore similar themes to Fight Club, let us know!

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