"The Pitchfork Diaries: Volume 1" Book Review
Written by Jake Bannerman
2011, 68 Pages, Fiction
Published on September 10th, 2011
Every time you open a book you have the opportunity to go on an exciting adventure with your imagination on hand to show you the way. Sometimes this journey takes you to thrilling places or scary situations. Other times it takes you to a seedy back alley where you might be killed, raped, and mugged in no particular order. Jake Bannerman's The Pitchfork Diaries is one of the latter.
There are numerous things that happen in the world that make people uncomfortable, but it doesn't make them any less real. Using necrophilia or child rape in film or books is a fine line that a creator must walk. If done tastefully, it can add intense drama (although how you can broach the topic of necrophilia in a tasteful manner I do not know). Otherwise it's just thrown in for shock value. The Pitchfork Diaries is all shock value and no drama. The book consists of a variety of short stories that delve into disgusting areas of the world for no apparent reason. There are no deeper meanings here.
Aside from its short length, the only somewhat redeeming quality of the Pitchfork Diaries is the second story, Packaging Hell. The premise is something that I'd expect out of the mind of Warren Ellis. A secret corporation specializes in connecting people with incurable STDs with rich folk who want to die. Picture a more twisted version of Dr. Kevorkian. The idea is an interesting one and if handled with a bit more finesse would have been a great story. Instead it's included in this collection so that means that there's a guy watching this all unfold while he creepily masturbates. Seriously, every other story has someone jerking off to the sick shit that's going on. By the end of the book, things like this are no longer a novelty or even shocking, just mundane. There's only so much of a freak show you can watch before you just become bored with it.
The Pitchfork Diaries is smut thinly veiled behind the tagline of "extreme horror." It's juvenile and filled with gratuitous sex and violence for no more reason than a poorly executed attempt to shock the reader. While the subjects are certainly farther out there than the stuff depicted in current torture porn films, there's no substance beneath them to justify their presence. This is the kind of stuff you'd expect to be written in the back of some immature high school kid's notebook.