Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

Image from goodreads

Man Booker Prize Books have always been a difficult read for me . I've read three, liked two but my pacing was more of trudging than  flipping through the pages. But despite my reservations, I still bought this book because it has an interesting premise and was on sale. I'm glad I did.

Summary from the back cover:

When sixteen kids are shot on high school grounds, everyone looks for someone to blame. Meet Vernon Little, under arrest at the sheriff's office, a teenager wearing nothing but yesterday's underwear and his prized logo sneakers. Moments after the shooter, his best buddy, turns the gun on himself, Vernon is pinned as an accomplice. Out for revenge are the townspeople, the cable news networks, and Deputy Vaine Gurie, a woman whose zeal for the Pritikin diet is eclipsed only by her appetite for barbecued ribs from the Bar-B-Chew Barn. So Vernon does what any red-blooded American teenager would do; he takes off for Mexico. Vernon God Little is a provocatively satirical, riotously funny look at violence, materialism, and the American media. 

I was surprised at how fast I flipped through this book.  The best Man Booker Prize Winner read I've had to date. I think this book did for me what Catcher in the Rye did for a lot of its fans. Reading it made me feel like a rebel. Vernon Gregory Little is the protagonist and it is in his voice that the story is told. At 15 he's way beyond his age. A kid full of depth in a pool of shallow adults. Although he mangled certain names/words to signify perhaps his youth (or his wit). DBC Pierre gave him a voice that's witty, sarcastic, but poetic and even philosophical at times. He makes discoveries and observations about life that perhaps hangs at the back of my head but I never really thought about it enough to put in words or had the guts to think about it and say it in the first place . Like the metaphorical emotional knife stuck at our backs; how sometimes positive thinking, despite what those self help books say, doesn't really cut it; the so called paradigm shift where the same action would be judged differently due to a change in the facts from which you based that judgement. 

Here's a quote I found hilarious:

"I hate it when  you go to meet somebody , and they spot you twenty (******) miles away, and just stay staring at you. You feel like your steps bounce too much, or your shoulders are too dangly or something. You hold the same dumb smile."

Doesn't this happen to you as well?

Vernon Little was the kind of character that had me rooting for him all along. I felt him to be a good kid and was frustrated as to why all odds were seemingly against him. DBC Pierre did an excellent fleshing him out. He was what made this book stellar for me. I also applaud Pierce in his ability to have such a grave and scarring matter that is a school shooting and be able to combine it with the wit, humor and sarcasm of Vernon Little, without really making light of the situation. All he does is to present such a topic in a unique and different light.

Vernon talked about "fate/ odds"  and how it whooped him in the ass most of the time till he eventually put his foot down and took matters into his own hands, playing god per se. As to whether it was to his detriment or not, I will leave for you to discover.

Note: This book contains a lot of swear words.


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