Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m addicted to “Jersey Shore.” (“Hi, Sarah.”) The guiltiest of pleasures available on television today (and that’s saying quite a bit), watching MTV’s ongoing chronicle of eight Italian-Americans living in Seaside Heights, N.J. – “the greatest sociological experiment of our time” – was often the highlight of my week. But what’s a guido aficionado to do when the season ends and the cast disperses to various Mid-Atlantic States for the hiatus?
The answer is easy: you turn to their books.
Though some might doubt the intelligence of some of the cast members, they have created quite an empire of literature: Jenni “JWOWW” Farley has “The Rules According to JWOWW: Shore-Tested Secrets on Landing a Mint Guy, Staying Fresh to Death, and Kicking the Competition to the Curb,” and “Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore” by the show’s elder, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. Neither of these holds a candle to the semi-autobiographical masterpiece by America’s next literary sensation and erstwhile presidential candidate, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. This manifesto is “A Shore Thing.”
Snooki’s booki contains some bon mots sure to go down in the annals of history with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Take, for example, her vivid description of flatulence: “Gia danced around a little, shaking her peaches for show. She shook it hard. Too hard. In the middle of a shimmy, her stomach cramped. A fart slipped out. A loud one. And stinky.”
Star-crossed lovers are described as “bumper cars of destiny.” Her thoughtful critique of the steroid culture is captured in this gem of a line: “Any juicehead will get some nut shrinkage. And bacne. They fly into a ‘roid rage, it is a ‘road’ ‘roid rage.” Snooki’s protagonist – who just happens to be described as looking and acting exactly like the author – goes on to face the trials and tribulations of a summer at the Shore in a series of vignettes I will call “Snooki vs. the shark,” “Snooki and the illicit hand job” and “Snooki the matchmaker.”
For those seeking a more thought-provoking book, don’t worry: Besides the aforementioned critique of steroid abuse, there are detailed descriptions of human anatomy (particularly erections), reflections on Italian national identity, thoughts on the notion of God and religion overall and a particularly odd depiction of attempted date rape. For those who enjoy a more mindless book, you also have nothing to fear: There are routine cartoon villains, exercises in exacting revenge and the subplot that involves Jell-O shots and laxatives.
In order to get the most out of my reading experience, I rated the book while partaking in the sacred “Jersey Shore” ritual of GTL, or gym-tan-laundry. The book doesn’t hold up so well while working out – its hardcover binding is too thick for the small ledge present on most exercise machines, and it’s also fairly embarrassing to be spotted with Snooki’s booki. However, it is easy to hide while at the pool: I myself put it in the pages of a recent issue of “The New Yorker.” I also took Snooki’s manifesto into the Eaton laundry room, and no complaints there.
Part of the charm of the show is that it is so heinously bad that it is actually enjoyable. Unfortunately, Snooki’s booki fails to capture the charisma of the show itself. It is not so bad it is good. It is just bad.
The book won’t appeal to people besides diehard fans of the show and its motley crew of characters. The writing is predictably terrible, and the characters are barely concealed versions of their on-show counterparts. I’m sad to report that it’s better to just watch the old episodes on Netflix than spend your money on Snooki’s booki. Until next time, guidos.
Sarah B. Pilchick may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rating: 1.5/4 stars
Author: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and an unfortunate ghostwriter
Release Date: January 4, 2011