BOOK REVIEW : Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

If you were the type who is sucked into the pages of an interesting book totally, or if you the kind who sobs because there is a lot of death in a piece of fiction, Vernon God Little is not for you. Reviewers have referred to it as ‘a 21st-century comedy in the presence of death.” That summarizes the satirical plot in which Gregory Little, a 15-year old boy living in Texas, and his best friend, Jesus, who has just murdered 16 of their classmates before killing himself.

If you were the type who is sucked into the pages of an interesting book totally, or if you the kind who sobs because there is a lot of death in a piece of fiction, Vernon God Little is not for you.

Reviewers have referred to it as ‘a 21st-century comedy in the presence of death.” That summarizes the satirical plot in which Gregory Little, a 15-year old boy living in Texas, and his best friend, Jesus, who has just murdered 16 of their classmates before killing himself.

The town settles down on Vernon, assuming he must have been part of his best friend’s despicable plan. As the book begins, Vernon has been arrested and is being questioned by a deputy sheriff.

All through the book, Vernon tries to tell the truth but instead people, especially adults tell him his own ‘truth.’ He takes Lally on his word that he will film a story that will help him.

He trusts his mum not to make the comment about ‘loving a murderer’, and trusts her when she tells him not to mention the second gun. He trusts Taylor with his whereabouts in Mexico. He even has trust in the fact that the ‘truth’ will out in the courtroom and in the jail cell and this only happens, absurdly, through an analysis of shit.

Profanities litter his speech and are a window into his opinion about life especially that of adults in which uncontrollable events force him into. Vernon’s first person narration with a Texas twang to it has a voice of a disaffected teenager.

Vernon’s family gives a further insight into his troubled life. His mother has a circle of women friends who do not have husbands and instead take gossip about each other as a way of keeping and maintaining positions within the family of friends, apart from their other major preoccupation – food, especially from Bar-B-Chew Barn. One of her mothers friends best way to go one up on her friends in ‘throwing’ garbage with expensive labels to show affluence.

With all it s profanities and mispronunciations, DPC Pierre’s debut novel succeeded in proving that good fiction does not necessarily have to be written in the pure version of the queen’s English. Vernon God Little won the 2003 Man Booker Prize, the highest accolade for a work of fiction in the whole of the British Commonwealth.

If you’re easily offended, this is definitely not the book for you. However, if you can cast aside foul language, toilet humor, and sexual innuendo to get to the heart of a story, you’ll thoroughly love this satire of life in Texas amid media moguls, law enforcement officers, and lady friends.

It is a journey in which Vernon struggles to show his innocence and when just everything fails he runs away with the truth to Mexico.

This is not an easy book to read because of its language, but it is a fun one. If you just let the story flow, without taking it too seriously, you’re in for an entertaining ride.

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