Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this book because I just got out of a really long relationship with a George R. R. Martin novel and wanted something fast and super-entertaining and thoroughly inappropriate. Snuff in all ways fit the bill.
This book really made me feel gross most of the time I was reading it, but I loved the experience. Palahniuk throws out more fake porn film names and euphemisms for jerkoff than I think anyone really needs to, but I still love the energy.
This story takes place while 600 men stand in a room, waiting for their chance to go on camera as part of a record-breaking gang-bang porn film. There are five main characters, men #72, #137, and #600, as well as the female talent wrangler Sheila and the pornstar herself, Ms. Cassie Wright. I found all five to be interesting, well-drawn characters, and I loved the character revelations. There were a lot of surprises.
But what I most liked about this book was the way it made me feel about flesh and how we treat our bodies. There’s a lot of sex/death comparisons, but I simply can’t shake the disgusting way Palahniuk relates condoms to bowls of junk food (there’s a table full of junk food, and a bowl of condoms, which … well, I’ll let you take it from there).
And then there are the fun facts, or “True facts”, as they are called here, which are top tier. Seems most of these characters have a Palahniuk-like love of the random bit of amazing trivia (such as that Hitler invented the blow-up doll, which blows my mind in so many ways). Loved it all. These tidbits are worth the read all on their own.
But at the end of the day, I think this might also be one of Chuck Palahniuk’s sweetest novels, as well as one of his most icky. Really liked it.