We're going to see Chuck Palahniuk on Thursday. It's really exciting because our city doesn't seem to have a literary pulse, and authors, especially authors that we like, rarely come to visit.
While I have not had the chance to read Palahniuk's new book, I'm excited to finally "meet" him. The last time he was in town, I was a college freshman who had no idea who he was and therefore passed up the opportunity that I regretted for years after.
I want to read his new book Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey before the signing, but seeing as how it's a day away, I don't think it's going to happen. However, I did have a chance to read the reviews on Amazon. Stranded amongst the generally benevolent 4-5 star reviews, was this little review, posted on May 9th by Mr. Joseph Suglia (novelist) attacking Palahniuk's novel with the same sort of vim and vigor that people in the 14th century use to display when they lobbed fruit and vegetables at the village idiot. Since I haven't read the book, there's nothing much I can say in terms of his general evaluation of it's merits. I do, however, have a problem with his attack on Palahniuk's readership.
The sub-normal high-school stoners who comprise much of Palahniuk's massive`fan-base' will find the book more boring than the most boring documentary on rabies.
Ouch, that's harsh. Makes me feel like I should crawl back into the sewer that I was born out of for one thing.
On a serious note, I am absolutely sure that there are plenty of teenagers who love Palahniuk, and feel that his books are angsty anthems to their lives. But just because Palahniuk appeals to them doesn't mean that his work is invalid or that these 'sub-normal high-school stoners' don't have the intelligence to see the merit in his work. Secondly, sub-normal is inappropriate. I am so glad that Mr. Suglia had a normal and wonderful high school life. But I am really sick of 'normal' people making snap judgements about people that they don't understand or know.
I understand the statement was meant to be sarcastic and condescending, but it's disheartening to see one writer degrade another based on the supposed sub-normality of his fan-base.
**Update: Interestingly enough, when I checked Amazon today (May 11, 2007) Mr. Suglia had removed his review.