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Vernon God Little [Paperback]

Dbc Pierre
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 17 2004
Fifteen-year-old Vernon Gregory Little is in trouble. And it has something to do with the recent massacre of 16 students at his high school. News of the tragedy serves as an open invitation to the media, and soon the quirky backwater of Martirio is flooded with wannabe CNN hacks all too keen to lay the blame for the killings at Vernon’s feet. Eulalio Ledesma, in particular, sniffs out his opportunity to make good at Vernon’s expense, and soon Vernon finds himself drawn into a series of increasingly bizarre (to say nothing of life-threatening) circumstances. Eventually, with the LSD safely deposited and diluted in the ginseng, he succumbs to the workings of Fate and takes off for Mexico and a date—or so he hopes—with the divine Taylor Figueroa.

Peopled by a cast of grotesques, freaks, cold-blooded chattering housewives, and one very special adolescent with an unfortunate talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Vernon God Little is a riotous adventure story that cuts a satirical swath through the heart of contemporary America.

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From Amazon

If there's any justice, it is only a matter of time before the work of the curiously-named D B C Pierre becomes essential for anyone interested in cutting-edge writing today. Vernon God Little is a book that has a totally individual (and very quirky) identity, from a writer with a finger on the pulse of contemporary society (particularly its less comfortable aspects). Pierre is also a satirical writer in the vein of such talents as Terry Southern, and there is a manic quality to his work that makes the experience of reading him both disorienting and exhilarating. As a first novel, this is a remarkable achievement.

Teenager Vernon Gregory Little's life has been changed by the Columbine-style slaughter of a group of students at his high school. Soon his hole-in-the-wall town is blanketed under a media siege, and Vernon finds himself blamed for the killing (rather than the real culprit, a friend of Vernon's). Eulalio Ledesma is his particular nemesis, manipulating things so that Vernon becomes the fulcrum for the bizarre and vengeful impulses of the townspeople of Martirio. After a truly surrealistic set of events, Vernon finds himself heading for a fateful assignation in Mexico with the delectable Taylor Figueros (everyone in the book has names as odd as the author's).

By setting his novel in the barbecue sauce capital of Central Texas, Pierre ensures that his narrative is going to be some distance from naturalistic writing. And as a scalpel-like satirical incision into the mores of contemporary America, reality TV and media hysteria, Vernon God Little often reads like a fractured modern-day take on such novels as John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Pierre takes a freewheeling, irreverent look at teenage Sturm und Drang in his erratic, sometimes darkly comic debut novel about a Texas boy running from the law in the wake of a gory school shooting. Vernon Gregory Little is the 15-year-old protagonist, a nasty, sarcastic teenager accused of being an accessory to the murders committed by his friend Jesus Navarro in tiny Martirio, "the barbecue sauce capital of Texas." Vernon manages to make bail and avoid the media horde that descends on the town after the killings, but he's unable to get to the other gun-his father's-which he knows will tie him to the crime, despite his innocence. His flight path takes him first to Houston, where he unsuccessfully tries to hook up with gorgeous former schoolmate Taylor Figueroa; the crafty beauty, promised a media job by the evil Lally, who's also duped Vernon's mom, follows him to Mexico and efficiently betrays him. Most of the plotting feels like an excuse for Vernon's endless, sharply snide riffs on his small town and the unique excesses of America that helped spawn the killings. Unfortunately, Vernon's voice grows tiresome, his excesses make him rather unlikable and the over-the-top, gross-out humor is hit-or-miss. Pierre's wild energy offers entertaining satire as well as cringe-provoking scenes, and though he can write with incisive wit, this is a bumpy ride.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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It's hot as hell in Martirio, but the papers on the porch are icy with the news. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a story! Aug. 5 2004
By A Customer
I was recommended this book by a friend and had no idea what I was getting myself into. This is one incredible tale. Definitely not your usual "coming of age" tale, this is one book you MUST read. I had literally no idea where the story was going from one minute to the next and simply couldn't put it down! Great read for the summer or anytime. Also would recommend Jackson McCrae's THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not so little, not so much God Nov. 16 2004
It seems this book is really dividing opinions and I can see why it wouldn't be for everyone. The frank discussion of what goes on in this teenage boy's mind and the language that comes out of his mouth may not be palatable to everyone but if you can look beyond that I defy anyone with a heart not to be charmed by this story.
Reality TV, girls underpants and the f word; this book truly has it all. Vernon G. Little, who I found to be a modern Holden Caulfield with a bit of Eminem, is an anally fixated 15 year old who witnesses the murder of 17 classmates, the murderer being his closest friend, a Mexican student named Jesus. In his debut novel, Pierre takes us into the world of BBQ, Texas sewing circles and the hardest part about being surrounded by "phonies": no one wants to hear your story because they are too worried about their own wants.
The realistic dialogue and the distinctive voice of Vernon create an atmosphere of dusty midnight bus rides and the salty promises of Mexican air. After Vernon's mother's affair with a supposed TV reporter from CNN and the eventual finger pointing at Vernon himself, for a crime he clearly did not commit, the beauties of American media unfold and a satire not too far from reality sinks in.
Because this book has received so much media attention from winning the Man Booker, there are plenty of possitive and negative reports, but I am casting my vote "for". Not necessarily to say that it will be as important as CATCHER IN THE RYE, but it certainly shines a new light on "modern" American society and shows the difficulty of being a teenager, especially when everyone around is so willing to believe what is portrayed for them on television.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Glad it's over July 18 2004
This was a struggle. At one point I was considering writing a short essay on "My feelings on not finishing books" rather than reviewing this, then at around two thirds through it picked up and became more event-driven and quite engaging and the ending almost made the whole book worthwhile. There's no doubt that DBC Pierre (an odd nom de plume, that one, it stands for Dirty But Clean, apparently) has created an important work, it's just hard to read.
What put me off was the narrator, a teenaged Texan from a dysfunctional family, Vernon "Insert contrived literary device here" Little. It's told in a first-person confessional style through the eyes of this maladjusted kid during the aftermath of a high school shooting, capturing his confused, frenetic thoughts well. You're not meant to like him, you're meant to feel sorry for him, he has everyone and everything stacked against him from the start. I didn't like his speaking style and had trouble keeping a Texan accent going in my head. Trainspotting was easier to follow. Like Catcher in the Rye the closer you are in age to the protagonist, the more keenly you'll feel for him, but it's hard to empathise too much as for the most of the book, you're trying to work out his exact role in the school shootings.
There's plenty to like once you get over the style of the book; the underlying dark humour, the critique of capital punishment, the grotesquely well-depicted supporting characters, you get a good impression of how the American media circus chews up lives, and there's plenty of room for musing on the nature of society and religion.
It's a good book, about interesting subject matter and rightly won several prestigious awards, but takes too long to get going. I don't think I can recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sizzling satire about reality TV mad America July 1 2004
By A Customer
"Vernon God Little (VGL)" was last year's shock Man Booker Prize winner. After all, who ever heard of DBC Pierre ? Nobody till then, I reckoned. So, what's the hoopla about ?
With VGL, Pierre has decisively broken the mould of how a book winner should read. It's a sizzling satire about reality TV obsessed America and zanily written in helter-skelter youth culture slang language, liberally laced with broken English and references nobody outside of Texas will understand. I wasn't convinced the critics had got it right until I was two-thirds way through. Then I was blown away.
Sure, the people of Martirio are gross. They're overweight, gadget fixated, fame obsessed and mostly in dire need of getting a life. Some American readers may feel justifiably offended by Pierre's caricature of contemporary America but if the flood of reality TV programmes inundating the media is an indication of where the nation's pulse is at, I say we have every reason to be worried. Pierre's satire is an indictment of the media, whose "dumbing down policy" towards its public fosters a "anything for two minutes of fame" mentality even if it's in total disregard of the truth. In fact, nobody in Martirio seems much interested in the truth - particularly if it's complex - unless it's capable of being packaged into something simple, something the public will be able to embrace and throw their collective weight behind . So, Pierre rightly asks very early in the novel whether something that happened actually happened if it wasn't seen by anyone.
When Vernon's buddy Jesus goes berserk, shoots down his college mates and then turns the gun on himself, somebody other than the dead Jesus must pay. There's only one convenient scapegoat and that's poor Vernon.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A Bizarre Read...
I don't have a whole lot to say about this book as it wasn't a great read for me. I found it very tedious and while I know the author was going for a certain theme or type, I just... Read more
Published on May 31 2006 by N. Jeannotte
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing! Among the Best!
In the grand tradition of Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer," S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders," J.D. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2005 by Kimberley Azmus
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely delivered satire, absolutely incredible!
I don't think the timing of this book could be better with Bush's crusade in the middle east and all. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Lively and Entertaining
As with My Fractured Life, Vernon God Little has some salty language and a few adult situations. If you don't mind such things, the story itself is lively and entertaining. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2005 by Carrie Lynn Dystra
5.0 out of 5 stars Small town America gone haywire
Anyone who has lived in a small town in America will love the descriptions in VERNON GOD LITTLE. Some of them are like MAIN STREET on drugs. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2004 by Leisel Kratchenofsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing little about it
This book reminded me of another that I recently ran across, titled "The Bark of the Dogwood." Both are excellent and deal with small town America, strange adolescents,... Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2004 by Brandon Calloway
3.0 out of 5 stars Good energy..but..
That's about the best thing I can say about this book. I like the first person narrative of a troubled teen with crazy thoughts pouring onto the page--but--the author offers no... Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by Ann as in "Coulter "
2.0 out of 5 stars Save your money please!
When I cracked open this book I had expected a sophisticated satire of American culture and a novel exploring the troubles of school violence. Read more
Published on June 16 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A daring satire of modern America...
What I liked most about this novel is that is iconclastic. Pierre takes on the modern media machine, materialism, violence, sex and even the victimization (subtly and perhaps most... Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Robert Wellen
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