Martirio, TX Martyrdom, TX is not without its dunces That Vernon is always at throes with the law and with himself and with his family makes him effectively endearing to the reader But the plot s collision with actual modern events SPOILER i.
e schoolyard massacres seems too, well, too contrived Too stuck on A bit like what racism is to a book like To Kill a Mockingbird very hidden a theme deeply embedded, almost invisible the daily headline grabbing bloodbath is to a book like Vernon God Little.
I honestly don t know what the judges were thinking awarding the Booker Prize in 2003 to Vernon God Little Not that it is not occasionally mildly entertaining but it has a gimmicky one trick pony stamped all over it And that trick is not all that to be fair.
The subject matter is serious high school shooting American teenagers favourite pastime, but the style is humorous The author is under the impression he can make his narrator, a Texan boy, authentic by making him say fucken three times on every page And while Vernon Gregory Little might make a witty observation every now and then, he generally comes across as a cartoon And so does everybody else in this book they are just a bunch of badly drawn clich s Imagine a choreographed reality TV taken to extreme, and then have someone create a parody of it and that s what Vernon God Little is.
As I said it could all be mildly entertaining but then DBC Pierre inserts those serious bits, because, you know, Vernon s friends have all been shot and he is accused of murdering them and facing Death Row, and then DBC Pierre expects me to empathise, which is as preposterous as if South Park creators expected me to cry each time they kill Kenny.
Maybe it s me Because some people seem to think it was gripping and powerful I just didn t get it I thought it was trite But at least, given that Vernon moves between Texas and Mexico, I got to cook some Tex Mex yummy junk food And what s Tex Mex than nachos Here they are with home made guacamole and salsa I think I need to stop reading so many American books before I cause some serious damage to my cholesterol levels.
Now think hard Think real, fucken hard That s what I tell myself Cept I can t Can t think hard cause I m too affected Or is it impacted Or is it im pacted I don t know Fucken waves, that s all I know Waves that bowl me over and tumble me head over fucken heels Drowning me and scraping me in the sand and salt that seeks out all my old fucken wounds Fucken scours and stings is what those waves do Hardest fucken book review I ll ever try to write, I know that much I mean, fuck.
First thing you need to understand here is that Vernon God Little left me pretty raw Emotionally speaking, I mean The book fucken touched something painful in me It may not touch you that way but it did for me So it will show in my review, and if you don t think you can handle my rawness, you can just quit now and go back to watching Court TV or Doctor Fucken Phil or whatever Turn up the fucken volume so you can t hear this shit Second thing is that it ain t all bad This was also the funniest damn book I read since A Confederacy of Dunces The book ends well and, hopefully, so will this review.
So this is the part I hate The part that feels like fucken therapy with Dr Goosens and his goddamn index finger Pull down your drawers and spread your fucken cheeks It s okay I m a psychologist which means I m also a medical doctor The fuck you are That s exit only down there motherfucker But I gotta do it if I wanna make bail, you see I know I m gonna end up on one a them web sites Old sick fuckers gettin off on watchin Goosens invade my personal space But I can t run to Mexico I gotta stick it out no fucken pun intended I gotta scream I m innocentbefore shit gets outta hand So this is the part where I share my feelings But so long as you don t pull out your finger and sniff it, we re gonna be okay here Yes we are.
Look I ve said this before and I ll say it again I m not on GoodReads to learn about books I m on GoodReads to learn about people I read all you nice folks reviews to learn about you about how the book affected you what it meant to you I can learn about the fucken book anywhere So what kinda asshole am I if I m not gonna let you learn a little about me So here I am Fuck.
And it basically boils down to this one learning I made from this book we all have our own massacre You included, that s right You just don t fucken know it yet It s there, either happening or waiting to happen And you re hoping if nobody sees it then it ain t real You re hoping if you know it s gonna happen but you don t tell nobody then it ain t really gonna happen But it s gonna fucken happen And it s gonna be fucken real It sure as hell ain t your fault, though everybody else sure as hell thinks it is They look at you sideways, the way people do, but you jackrabbit them and they look away all embarrassed They ask you the same goddamn questions and it don t matter how many times you say I didn t do it And here s another leaning I made from this book all those motherfuckers will control you so long as you let them But you gotta shift the power dime in your favor I ain t gonna tell you how to do it, though You gotta read the book for yourself, see So what about me, you re asking Am I ever gonna get to the fucken point Fine I ve been putting it off till I made sure you knew that you had your own fucken massacre, too And I ain t looking for no damn sympathy, just so you know My massacre is my pain Physical pain Several years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia Oh that you say That shit s not a real disease That shit s an excuse for lazy fuckers who don t wanna work and like to take prescription pain killers Well fuck you You don t know fucken shit I bust my ass to provide for my family and run a tight household and I do it in pain every fucken day And you think I like taking the hard pain meds You think that s fun Well if that s what you think then you got your own fucken problems cause it ain t no fun Nearly every day I have to choose between being in pain or being high I d really rather be neither but most days that isn t one of the choices I got my number 2 pencil and my scantron and I look to fill in the bubble for none of the above but it ain t there That ain t no damn fun at all And like Vernon I get blamed for my massacre sometimes I feel like I m fucken on trial for it But from my point of view I was just in the wrong place at the wrong fucken time.
But I told you it would end well, didn t I So enough of my fucken problems This book is full of some really funny shit, ya know I mean, like, did you think Mr Dee Bee Cee Pee Air could write a book about murdered teenagers and betrayal and pedophilia without throwing in some humor Who the fuck would want to read that So Vernon God Little is fucken full of humor Things I never woulda thought about Like the difference between fuck ing and fuck in and fuck en There s three different kinds a people right there Or like the things you can tell about a woman by the kind of panties she s wearing Like where she s from and where she s goin, if you get my meaning Oh and how bout the way Vernon s whole town is fixated on the Bar B Chew Barn I mean, are you fucken kidding me So, look here The book ends well, this review ends well, and I just have to believe life ends well I know there s plenty examples of life not ending well for decent folks But there s also plenty examples of things turning out fine for folks who treat people nice and keep their noses out of trouble, and I can t speak for you, but that s where I choose to place my hope Now, let s talk some about ladies panties My flatmate told me to read this book as it was dynamite apparently I disagree.
I do not recommend I did not enjoy.
This one got thrown at the wall in a short space of time My mind was prepared to love it but then I was confronted with the ugliest writing about the the ugliest antihero who was the modern hip hop version of the snivelling little creep in Catcher in the Rye who I ve always wanted to go back in time and murder but can t because he s imaginary Some other review of this says quote as the novel unfolds, Pierre s parodic version of American culture never crosses the line into caricature unquote and I say uh, WHAT It starts off with painful cliche caricatures and escalates from there The subtitle of this book is Caricatures R Us The author is DBC Pierre and the DBC stands for Dreadfully Boring Caricatures So after I that I watched Elephant which may not be such a masterpiece itself but it s better n this bad book Short list of things about school shootings Bowling for ColumbineElephantWe Really Must Talk About Kevin, I Insist, No Really, Shut Up, Listen to MeVernon God Little If You Really MustColumbine, a great book about the real thing, see my long review elsewhere I personally met DBC Pierre last week in TataLitFest in Mumbai He was shocked to see the first American edition of the book that I posses, he said that was very rare, and now I have that copy author signed as well P I must say he is wonderful man, full of life, comedy, wit and down to earth attitude You don t feel if you are around that he might be a big celebrity or something and I guess this is the right attribute of great people I spoke to him around 15 minutes and also said I love you to him which he translated back I am very impressed by him.
Anyway, now coming up to the book This is a story of Vernon God Little a 15 year old fellow who was caught at the wrong time in school when his best friend Jesus killed 15 students in his class and later shot down himself and now Vernon was the only person who could have any highlight on the case Also there was a court case on Vernon because he was the Jesus best friend and might be also indulged in this there was also a sweet mother forcing Vernon to join a job as he is big fellow now The book all revolves around hypocrisy of media and publicity tantrums and misdirected doings by media channels to get publicity, by hook and crook Nobody wanted to hear about Vernon s soul.
The book is in first of narration of Vernon I also felt the voice of the protagonist like Holden in Catcher in the Rye which even I asked DBC Pierre and his reply was there was a big gap between the generations and the movement of story Which looked to me like The Stranger by Albert Camus As Vernon in last got the death sentence same as the protagonist in The stranger.
Also there was a media channel that proposes in the later half of the book the reality show based on convicts and gain of votes on sympathy.
But I must point out the main USP of the book was the Voice of Vernon which was very comic, satirical, real although the plot was really pretentious but able to convince in the end and that was able to slap on society, its gossipy nature, lack of empathy and craving of some individuals to go up to any level for publicity.
But I guess you should all read it because every page it seemed VERY ENJOYABLE and while reading the book I had the feeling like I was eating Butterscotch ice cream I really loved it And once again my faith on Booker books persists with this one Some quotes that I liked Fate always pays attention to what you think, then slams it up your fuc ing ass see me and suffer What I definitely learned just now is that everything hinges on the words you use Does not matter what you do in life, you just have to warp things in right kind of words Music is crazy thing when you think about it sometimes you all get boosted, convinced you are going to win in life, then the song s over and you discover you fuc en lost What happens with sassy music is that you get floated away from yourself, then snap back to reality too hard The only antidote is just to stay depressed Vernon God Little.
Two chapters into this book I was thinking it might get one of my very occasional one star reviews The 15 year old unreliable narrator seemed obnoxious and his humour and language unsubtle to say the least Fortunately it did improve a little and the second half was in places quite a crazy and entertaining satire of the values of middle America, and the whole thing does have energy and a degree of cheek, but I don t think it has lasted as well as most of the other Booker winners If anything it made me appreciate The Sellout, my least favourite recent winner, rather.
I sense a learning that much dumber people than you end up in charge I really didn t like this book at all, but I have to admit that it captures the spirit of America in an unpleasantly accurate way Vulgar, frustrating, and sad in a farcical way, it shows the kind of anti culture that created the nationwide mess that is now evident to the whole world, and for which the whole world may have to pay Meet the unsympathetic, cursing, uneducated antihero and his family in small town Texas, and you will either laugh or cry, depending on the kind of philosopher you tend to be How do you deal with the hopeless stupidity of mankind No answers can be found in this story, just snapshots of reality in its painful absurdity Don t read it if you are allergic to foulmouthed morons, though You will find no break from them in this plot It is like Twitter gone novel.
What s the Booker Prize, and why did Vernon God Little win it Ok, let me back up We ll get to the Booker Prize in a couple paragraphs I read Vernon God Little in part because the novel was recommended in 1001 books To read Before You Die, a go to reference when I m at the library and lost for a book novel s storyline charts a standard outside teenage male observing the world path Mr Pierre might want to send the Salinger estate a percentage of his royalties When people compare this book to Catcher in the Rye, however, I think they re comparing the two novels because they re both first person outsider young adult male narrated, not because they re of the same quality Vernon, unlike Holden, lives in Texas with his mother in the wake of a Columbinesque tragedy perpetrated by his best friend As the town wrestles with the media and insidious desperation for a scapegoat the title character maneuvers a landscape that pins the blame on him mostly, it appears, because he s not proclaiming his innocence loud enough He slips from his tract house to Houston to Mexico, encountering shady television producers, the once girl of his dreams, and hermits into amputee porn The author lapses into a lazy magical realism here and there to cover what seemed like impossible plot developments, but the storyline travels ahead on Pierre s keen observations that describe, for example, the smell of real life as similar to that of escalator motors Pierre s good paragraph to paragraph, really, and I was drawn enough into the plot to read the last eighty pages through a steaming Sunday under the gazebo on the back porch.
But the Booker Prize Isn t that supposed to be a big deal Coetzee s Disgrace won four years before Vernon God Little, and people around goodreads wet their pants over that novel Fuck me, I don t know why Vernon God Little won the Booker Prize Was 2003 a slow literary year I have a theory about the Booker win that revolves around the assertion not particularly well supported, I must admit that the prize committee is based in London, and Vernon God Little could fit a European perception of American white trash international readers might find interesting Hey, Americans love reading books and watching movies about underdogs mired by birth in depressing circumstances in other countries think the vastly overrated Slumdog Millionaire , so why can t other countries cultural consumers pick over our bones and feel superior about small town Texans overeating and shooting each other up I don t mind Texas kind of feels like a foreign country to me, anyway, in part because I ve only visited once and never left the airport So I guess Vernon God Little is a decent book with some strong language and excellent passages but the novel doesn t seem worth mentioning as some big prize winner or one of the thousand books you have to read before you die And if the Booker Prize committee wants a peek into American white trash culture, I ll be happy to pick them up at O Hare and drive them around for a couple hours Or they could order pizza and watch Cops Whatever works We re here for you, Europe Thanks for the Booker, even if I m not sure Mr Pierre earned it.