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End of the World Nears:

A Shore Thing
by Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi
Gallery
$24.00

I have seen the sign; the end is near. Contrary to the belief of many it doesn’t concern the Arkansas River where 100,000 drum fish have gone belly-up. Nor does it involve the town of Beebe, Louisiana, where thousands of black birds have mysteriously and literally dropped dead. It also has nothing to do with Houston, Texas, where North Carolina’s own Lewis Black has witnessed two Starbucks coexist (and thrive) directly across from one another. No, my loyal encore readers, the true sign that the world as we know it is coming to an end can be found on many a chain store bookshelf.

Thanks to an e-mail from encore reader Jen S., pondering if I’m going to purchase Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s debut novel, “A Shore Thing,” I’m painfully aware that since January 4th, Snooki is 2011’s newest published author. I‘m also embarrassed to admit I checked it out, took one of the two copies left at my local book chain and snuck into a far corner to thumb my way through it. Oh, what depths of depravity I won’t sink to for encore bookworms…

“A Shore Thing” details the tough times of two cousins, Gia and Bella, as they attempt to have the summer of their lives at Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Within, Giovanna “Gia” Spumanti, clearly a protagonist molded from Snooki herself, and Bella, a character probably based off of Jenni “Jwoww” Farley, encounter much of the same debauchery portrayed on MTV’s hit reality show, “Jersey Shore,” which commands 6.8 million viewers each episode. Gorillas, tanning salons, copious amounts of tequila and clubs are juxtaposed (somehow) on the page, with the quest to find a true, meaningful relationship.

The plot of “A Shore Thing” drives home the message that girls don’t need a man to excel. This is all well and good except the language that leaps off the pages—words like, “Waa!” are so juvenile that I questioned my sanity for reading, gave up and put the book back. What made matters worse, Patrick, the way-too-perky employee found me huddled in the corner, asked if I’d like to purchase the book and also suggested Snooki’s noted favorite novel, “Dear John,” by Nicholas Sparks. It was at that point I mustered every ounce of strength I had not to reach for my car keys and stab myself in the throat to stop the pain.

The release of the work is also of no coincidence. “Jersey Shore” aired its third season one day after Snook’s debut, and teens and twits around the country will buy in, undoubtedly.

A friend once asked me during last season, “Why do you dislike them so much?” I never had an answer other than pure annoyance. That is until now, after discovering all the ridiculousness they have on the market. I don’t dislike them as individuals; rather, I dislike the infatuation society has with them. I loathe the ease they’ve had at entering the publishing world—an institution that’s supposed to mean something—due to a few phrases that revolve around T-shirts and cabs. I fear for the future of our literature.

Sure, Snooki’s character is unique, as she proudly boasts she’s 6 foot tall when in actuality she’s only 4’9. I respect this not because I, too, need a stool to reach the third shelf inside a refrigerator, but because it’s an unapologetic and larger-than-life approach. However, this shouldn’t make her an automatic author. I can think of many locally talented authors, many in encore’s book club, that deserve the same if not more recognition for their work. Yet, no matter how blatant their writing outshines Snooki’s, they’ll sadly never see it because they don’t have a celebrity platform. Therein lays my ultimate disgust. encore book club contributor and favorite once-local writer Shawna Kenney shares similar distaste.

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I even know who Snooki is,” she says. “I’ve never watched the show. I do watch reality TV and have done some writing for so-called reality TV, so I’m not against the genre, but I’m more interested in shows with a creative/talent aspect, not idiots with more money than sense yelling at one another. Her book will undoubtedly sell well, just because of her celebrity status. Lots of others have done the same. I don’t think it’ll hurt the status of real literature. I do think it probably pisses a lot of hardworking writers off. Good for her for milking her ‘15 minutes’ but you won’t catch me reading it!”

Louis Burke, executive vice president and publisher of Gallery Books, believes differently, as quoted in USA Today. “I think many people thought she’d have 15 minutes of fame, but she’s enduring, and because of that, she makes perfect sense for a book.”

Know what else has endured? Syphilis. Herpes. Hepatitis. All of which I’m sure are in the “smush” room, but this doesn’t mean it makes sense to base characters around them and place them in a tale centered on finding love. I bet this situation has Dorothy Parker throwing her martini out of the grave!
Speaking of a novel situation, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has also penned his own novel. Ready for it? It’s a self-help bit geniusly titled, “Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore.” Within, Sorrentino unlocks the meaning of life with his personal techniques and tips on tanning, laundry and balancing it all while going to the gym. And move over Mario Batalli, Sorrentino also confessed on “Access Hollywood” he plans to write a second book dedicated to the art of fine Italian cooking. Nothing says, “Manga! Manga!” like a side of STD!

Want more hair gel to choke on? Jenni “J-Woww” Farley and Ronnie-I’m-not-cool-enough-to-have-a-lame-nickname Ortiz-Magraw announced they, too, have plans to write a novel. According to The Huffington Post, they’ll begin work in March and already have a title: “Never Fall in Love at the Jersey Shore.”

I’ll say it again: I fear for the future of literature.

So, dear Jen S., I hope this answers your question. Honestly, I can think of better ideas to put $25 toward, like dog food for your local animal shelter or The Wounded Warrior program. Literally eating $20 would be more beneficial since, either way, it’s simply flushing the money down the toilet.

Maybe I’m being harsh, exaggerating a prediction that Snooki’s novel is a sign of the end of the world. I’m sure the cast of “Jersey Shore” are great people deep, deep down, underneath the faux tans and leopard print. What isn’t an exaggeration is that all of their work marks the end of the notion that a writer had to do something worthwhile to become an author. More so, it marks the official demise of a world where to be published meant an accomplishment more meaningful to life—sharing something worthwhile to ponder.

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