Saturday, August 05, 2006

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

Author: D C Pierre
ISBN # 0571215165
Publisher: Faber & Faber
First Published: 2003
279 pages

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2003
Winner of the 2003 Whitbread First novel

Named as one of the 100 Best Things in the World by GQ magazine in 2003, the riotous adventures of Vernon Gregory Little in small town Texas and beachfront Mexico mark one of the most spectacular, irreverent and bizarre debuts of the 21st century so far. Its depiction of innocence and simple humanity (all seasoned with a dash of dysfunctional profanity) in an evil world is never less than astonishing. The only novel to be set in the barbecue sauce capital of Central Texas, Vernon God Little suggests that desperate times throw up the most unlikely of heroes.

Well, although I wouldn’t necessarily go as far as saying this was one of the 100 best things in the world, this was quite an enjoyable piece of escapism. It explores exactly how badly things can go wrong when people are quick to lay blame at the feet of others without examining all available information and how the situation can be made even worse if the accused is not allowed to stand up and have his or her say. Of course, it’s also a portrait of a person who is permanently in the wrong place at the wrong time and does absolutely nothing to better his situation with any of his subsequent actions.

A little of the shine was perhaps dulled for me, as I’d so recently finished We Need to Talk About Kevin (which I hated) and this had similar themes – both had a fifteen year old boy accused of murder as the main protagonist and both examined the effect this had on those around him. However, D C Pierre displays far more wit and humour, making Vernon God Little far easier and much more enjoyable to read.

A lot of the action is more than a little far-fetched and one can’t help thinking that a hero who is unlucky enough to live in a town where the local law enforcement is slightly nutsy-cuckoo and in no way fit for duty is nothing short of fantastical, but the extremes illustrate how easy it is for a situation to go off the rails.

If you’re going to read a book about a teenager accused of massacring his classmates, pick Vernon over Kevin – you might just survive with your sanity intact and have a few laughs along the way.

Rating: 6

Vernon God Little was my Olympic Challenge choice for Mexico.


Blogger Darren O'Shaughnessy said...

Dear readers,
My computer crashed down when I was typing, so I couldn't up load anything, but luckily my brother fixed it.

p.s. I still uploaded my entries that I wrote by hand.

1:36 pm  

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