Bobby Hall–someone I honestly didn’t know before I picked up this novel–wrote a book.
His first novel has the feel of Fight Club without much of the action, but more of a Fight Club that takes place in the guy’s mind, and where he must defeat the villain inside of himself. Just like in Fight Club.
If you haven’t seen Fight Club, please go watch it. It’s amazing.
The only expansive part in Supermarket that isn’t quite like Fight Club is where Flynn is in the mental hospital. I liked that bit, because it explained who the cooky characters were in his day-to-day life at the supermarket. I liked how his disillusions wove themselves into the reality of the mental hospital. (Like the guy who keeps talking about “coffee coffee coffee.”)
Whereas Fight Club‘s overall reveal is a genuine surprise, Supermarket‘s reveal that the main character is suffering from mental illness is not. I knew almost immediately that the guy Flynn had bonded with at work wasn’t real. I knew what was going to happen here. Because Chuck Palahnuiuk had done it first, and did it much better. He actually achieved creating the idea that Tyler Durden was real. There were signs, but they weren’t obvious, like in Supermarket.
The tortured writer trope has been done to death, and it bothers me. You don’t have to have a mental condition to become a great writer. (Heck, even if you do have a mental condition, and become a great writer, then that’s awesome! I’m proud of you for making something cool and sharing it with the world.) But please, make your writers in fiction more interesting than someone who has a Personality Disorder.
Supermarket is an okay novel, overall. I enjoyed it enough to finish it in three days, but wouldn’t recommend it. I’d recommend Fight Club and the film adaptation instead.
I saw what Bobby was trying to do before he did it, and I don’t like that. I want to be surprised and knocked off my feet when I read. I don’t want to already know the plot before it happens, which is the case with his debut novel.
I hope that in the future, if he writes any more books, he can learn from his mistakes with Supermarket.