Monday, June 23, 2008
monday book review: snuff, by chuck palahniuk
,Something you may not know about me is that I have a weird and mildly embarrassing Palahniuk thing. I've read nearly all of his nine novels - most of them as pre-releases - and while there are a few titles that I've really enjoyed (Haunted, Diary and, of course, Fight Club), by and large I don't particularly like the dude's work. And yet, something about him keeps me coming back for more. He's like the boyfriend who doesn't treat you particularly well, but he doesn't treat you particularly poorly either, so out of familiarity, habit or laziness you stay with him way longer than you probably should. And so, despite hearing awful things about Snuff, I still read it. I had to. Chuck's my mediocre boyfriend of convenience. But despite the fact that he and I have shared some good times together, his newest book was so terrible that it might be the motivation I've been needing to finally break it off once and for all.

I refuse to spend more time reviewing this book than Palahniuk spent writing it (which couldn't have been very much), so I'll be brief. Snuff takes place entirely in the green room of a porno movie. Cassie Wright is an aging porn star who is trying to set a world record for having sex with 600 dudes in one film, an act that everyone seems to think will kill her. Cassie thinks this too, but that appears to be the whole point. She's hoping that if she dies trying to break the record, then the film will go gangbusters and make a ton of money, money which she will then leave to the child she abandoned eighteen years prior. A whole mess of creepy men answer the casting call to help Cassie make history, and the story is told from the point-of-view of three of those dudes: Mr. 600, a professional porn star and the man who got Cassie started in the business; Mr. 137, a washed-up television star who somehow thinks doing this will resuscitate his failing career; and Mr. 72, who - as messed up as this sounds - believes he is Cassie's son. And if this all sounds like a great big ol' wet, hot mess, then that's because it is.

I'm honestly not really sure what Palahniuk was trying to accomplish with this book. If I were feeling kind, I'd suggest that Snuff was a failed attempt at making some sort of larger critical commentary on the porn industry; however, I'm not feeling kind, so instead I'll suggest that Snuff is the product of a shocking author who has run out of ways to try and shock us. Trouble is, despite the subject matter, it's not particularly shocking at all. Instead, it's lazily written, pointless and boring.

In short, I absolutely hated this book. If it had a face, I would punch it in it.

Chuck Palahniuk
2008, 197 pages

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Blogger Bibliolatrist said...

If it had a face, I would punch it in it.


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