A Shore Thing

I cannot believe I read this book. After spending four weeks reading Condoleezza Rice’s No Higher Honor, I felt I needed a puffy trashy read. I read a few library books after Rice, then hit the Snooki.

There is no doubt in my mind–or anyone’s, perhaps not even Snooki’s ardent guidette followers–that Polizzi had any role at all in actually writing this book. That was the primary reason I wanted to read it. I have never seen her show “Jersey Shore”, yet I know that Polizzi is the reality star of the moment. As a literary purist, one who perhaps naïvely believes that all authors write what they claim to have written, I find books like this to be the ultimate insult.

Ivana Trump and Naomi Campbell both have “written” their own novels too. I work in a library and when these books came out they were the laughingstock amongst my fellow staff. You know a book is bad when it features the author’s (or, “author’s”) photo not only on the back but also on the front cover.

Merchandising the “Jersey Shore” brand is the sole reason for the existence of this book. I can imagine that Polizzi with that nanosecond-long attention span of hers spent a good long fifteen minutes with her collaborator and shared ideas of what the novel should be like: “Make Gia, the lead character, modelled after me, give her lots of sexy outfits and hot guys and a nice beach house and a great job and lots of parties and drinking and good times.” Such is A Shore Thing summed up in a Snookified run-on sentence.

The novel is not as bad as I thought it would be in that when I rate it at Amazon.com I am giving it two stars out of five and not just one. The novel was written for readers who like Polizzi herself have zero attention spans: there are 46 chapters in its 289 pages. There were two parts in A Shore Thing that were in every sense unbelievable or unbelievably bad. If you have ever seen Polizzi appear on a talk show, as I have, and heard her string a sentence together, you will join me in laughing yourself silly by the line below:

“Gia was struck by the cynical epiphany that nearly any relationship, such as her parents’, such as hers with Bella, was susceptible to sudden death.”

I do not believe for a moment that Polizzi would be able to understand what that sentence even meant, much less be able to spell “cynical”, “epiphany”, or “susceptible”. But then, that’s what editors are for. The novel’s collaborator = the real author of the book, who deserves to be named since she wrote the damn thing, Valerie Frankel, is in all likelihood literate.

The second part that was incredibly bad involves a tale of revenge meted out against Gia by two old high school enemies. Two girls spike Gia’s jello shots with laxatives while she is in a club. Gia is dancing up on the bar when her bowel thunders and her intestines threaten to explode over everyone. She is rescued by a muscle freak she has a crush on, who plows through the crowded club and carries her to the toilets. This is the exchange between Gia and Rocky afterward. Rocky starts:

“‘I’m only telling you because, once, when I was in junior high, during a football game, I got hit so hard by a linebacker, I shit myself. I swore on that day that if I could help anyone in the future not poop themselves, I would.’
Gia blinked. ‘It’s pretty amazing that you got the opportunity.’
‘Weird, right?’
She patted him on the chest. ‘You’re a good person, Rocky.’
‘You’re cool, too, Gia. And your tits look great in that top.'”

How can you not roll your eyes and laugh at this which passes for literature? I had never been more embarrassed to be seen reading a book in public. With Snooki’s photo on both front and back covers, it was hard for me to keep the book hidden while reading it on public transit.

For Snooki lovers, keep your knickers on when I tell you that her second novel, Gorilla Beach, will be published later this spring. This will prove that Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is indeed a woman of letters.

French letters.

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