|By Zach Patterson||Tuesday, 22 Sep 2009|
I’m really a sucker for Chuck Palahniuk books, mainly because they are usually so delightfully twisted and dysfunctional, and always seem to drag you into a world you’ve never been to. Well, Snuff certainly fits into all of that. Looking for a book about past-her-prime porn star named Cassie Wright looking to break the world record for most on-screen sex in one shot, and all the freaky, fucked up dudes that show up for these sort of open “casting calls”? Look no further.
The book is told from the perspective of 4 different people waiting during the filming of Cassie Wright’s 600-man serial porn: Mr. 72, Mr. 137, Mr. 600, and the porn star’s personal assistant and talent wrangler, Sheila. The four characters are all wildly different, with one being a kid convinced he’s the child of Cassie and he’s there to confront her, one being fallen from grace TV actor, another being a porn veteran, and the assistant having some rather big secrets of her own. The story itself is rather messed up and full of obscene descriptions and a ridiculous ending, but its a very easy, quick read, like most Palahniuk books.
What makes this book great is the little details. Like the fact that the room full of naked dudes waiting to have sex with Cassie is one of the most putrid things ever. The floor being disgustingly sticky and thick with bronzer from all these meathead douchebags, and the bathroom being a total shithole no one in their right
mind should go near. Or the fallen TV actor bizarrely popping Viagras every few mins until he nearly goes blind while gripping a stuffed animal with fake signatures from celebrities. Or the kid describing his past when he bought a blowup doll of his supposed porn star mother and was caught fucking it.
The book is also in many ways a tribute to old Hollywood (and porn), as it become clear the Cassie is well-read on the many quirks and tragedies and scandals of everything from the silent film era to Marilyn Monroe. All kinds of bizarre and perverse facts come out about old actors, usually followed by a “True fact.” remark. And then there’s all kinds of stuff about what really happens behind the scenes of a porn which most people don’t ever need to know, and the sad fact that most everyone involved in it is usually extremely damaged in some way or another.
It’s not the most believable book at a few points, but it never fails to be entertaining. What I liked about the book is that there was this ominous spectre of there being a murder at some point during the entire novel, but it’s not really a depressing read. Somehow, through all the sweat and jizz and bronzer, it kinda comes out on a sweet note. Don’t ask me how it happens, all I know is that it takes a good writer to make this kind of novel work, and this is worth picking up if the subject matter doesn’t gross you out.