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Review: Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk

May 24, 2008 by Danielle

    Snuff is the latest release from Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club & the soon-to-be movie Choke. It was, as all of his books are, greatly anticipated (and pre-ordered by yours truly). It tells the story of Cassie Wright, a veteran  porn star who wants to go out with a bang – literally, 600 of them, consecutively. Her goal is to break the world record of the most “sexual acts” carried out in one film. The story is told from the perspectives of Mr. 72, a twenty-something year old probably-virgin, Mr. 600, a fellow veteran porn star & old friend of Ms. Wright’s, and Mr. 137, a has-been actor who lost his role as a detective in a prime time series thanks to an exposed sex scandal. It is also told from the point of view of Sheila, the twenty-year-old mastermind and coordinator (“wrangler”) behind the whole production.

     In a nutshell, I’m thoroughly disappointed. From beginning to end, the entire book seemed rushed, especially the ending. Not even because it was short; just the sloppiness and monotony of the story line (I now realize it is, in fact, possible for a story line to be monotonous and boring, even while talking about the dirtiest of dirty things). Is there such a thing as too many interesting facts and anecdotes? It seems as if Palahniuk is using those as the entire story here, rather than just simple stepping stones to help the story’s momentum.

     Which brings me to my next gripe – I was really let down by the haphazard way the side stories were thrown in there; Palahniuk usually knows how to play that card (especially in Rant), but in this book, they were just too deliberately placed. In fact, pretty much everything was too deliberate. The gore, the stories that make you cringe and ask “did that really happen? is that really true?” – they are only effective when placed effectively; within a well thought out, balanced plot. Where they are necessary, where they belong, where they help to  make the story come alive.

     Instead, altogether I feel like he’s just writing to feed the masses with this one; focused on selling quantity instead of quality. People read his stuff for the the shock factor, and he’s totally sold out to them. All these newbies and trend followers. A dark basement is much more interesting and mysterious before you flip on the switch and fill it with people.. that’s all I can say.

     His other books were so dynamic, with so much underlying symbolism and lines that actually made me think, laugh, gag a little bit. You had to read then once, twice, five times before you fully understand all of it; and even then, someone else could bring up something you didn’t even consider. Snuff left me unaffected and wanting….. but not exactly for another book of his. 

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