First, I am breaking the first and second rules of Fight Club to talk about Fight Club. Second, this is not an unbiased review. I loved the movie Fight Club. I've lost count of how many times I've seen it, but that doesn't matter because I know I'll be watching it a bunch more times. I'm not often this impressed with a movie, and I wondered if it was at all faithful to the book. So I read the book.
Essentially, and in all ways that matter, the movie did stick to the book's basic story. Nothing was changed that mattered, and parts that were left out of the movie were understandable because of problems there would have been with filming them.
In the book Edward Norton's character has no name. He tells the story of Fight Club and of his relationship to Tyler Durden and Marla Singer. Because I saw the movie, as I'm reading the book, it's Edward Norton's voice I hear revealing this complex, frightening, often funny, and riveting story to me. This is actually helpful in reading the book because I can hear the inflections Norton puts on certain words; the flat, deadpan delivery he gives to most of his dialogue. That voice in my head while my eyes are on the page makes the story even more interesting to me.
Since the casting for the movie was excellent (in my opinion, of course), it's also helpful to have the images of Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden and Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer give the printed word more substance. The written characters aren't faceless people with whom I need to connect in order to enjoy the book. I've already connected through the movie.
I don't know if I would have enjoyed this book nearly so much had I not seen the movie first. I wonder if I may have dismissed the book as simply a bit over-the-top or maybe just strange. Normally I do read the book before I see the movie, but in this case the opposite worked to good advantage.
The main characters: The Narrator, Tyler Durden, and Marla Singer are 3 very messed up people, but the fact is that within their generation they are not alone. For men of this age, Tyler Durden has given them Fight Club -- a place where they feel like they are important and do have power. Marla Singer is the woman drawn to men who ooze self-confidence and assurance but never treat her very well. This is a fascinating read, and I highly recommend both the movie and the book.