Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vernon God Little” as Want to Read:
Vernon God Little
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Vernon God Little

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  20,419 ratings  ·  967 reviews
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. Soon, the quirky backwater of Martirio, barbecue capital of Texas, is flooded with wannabe CNN hacks, eager for a scapegoat.
Paperback, 279 pages
Published 2004 by Faber and Faber (first published 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vernon God Little, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vernon God Little

Life of Pi by Yann MartelThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroThe Blind Assassin by Margaret AtwoodMidnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Booker Prize Winners
18th out of 49 books — 1,426 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Best Books of the 21st Century
201st out of 6,093 books — 14,978 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jul 08, 2008 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who hate this book.
I will attempt to make this review quite long, so that you will read a realistic account of the quality of this book before you read the boorish and thoughtless dismissals that abound below.

The common thread of said dismissals is a denunciation of 'Vernon God Little' as a unrealistic portrayal of the tragedy of a school shooting, similar to the incident at Columbine High in Colorado some years ago. The uncommon yet supremely smart and tasteful thread of *my* argument to that is that 'Vernon God
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 ti
Paul Bryant
Feb 01, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people on a different planet than me
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 - unqu
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 impacted. 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 thi
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 :

The 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 h
Another book read for my coming-of-age encyclopedia entry. It's pretty clear this book won the Booker Prize because the Brits felt like flipping the bird to America. It's as if they said, "This is what we think you're capable of, you warmongering sons of *&$#^." (Remember 2003: The Year We Went to War. The Year Everybody Across the Atlantic Started Hating Us).

There is really nothing here to recommend. Take something topical (school shootings), add an all-too-obvious critique of contemporary
If I ever start my own barbecue restaurant, I’m definitely stealing the name Bar-B-Chew Barn from this book.

Vernon Little has problems. His best friend just killed 16 of their fellow students in a school shooting, and the police suspect he may have been involved. His mother is more concerned with faking the purchase of a new refrigerator to impress her so-called friends than Vernon’s issues, and a sleazy producer/reporter is trying to turn Vernon into his ticket to stardom by implicating him in
Jan 30, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 1001 book readers and cynics
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 book list
Brilliant! A worthy winner of the Man Booker Prize 2003. From the outset I felt a lot of sympathy for Vernon Little whose world view seems to be much wider and keener than the dumb-ass adults he's stuck with in Martirio. I've read quite a few different fiction books about high school massacres, most of them generated after Columbine but this one was quite different as the high school shooting spree in Maritirio is not the focus of this story. It's difficult to talk about this book in detail with ...more
Matt Harris
Jul 17, 2007 Matt Harris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with a knife in their back
Well I learned you don't need to spell correctly to win the Man Booker Prize, as long as the misspelling is funnier and more poignant than the original word.

What a great ride, our hero the adolescent sane lad in the world of overweight and overwrought large Texan ladies, this book has more villains than a Guy Ritchie movie, and often moves at around the same pace.

The slightly mad looking photo on the inside cover simultaneously put me off but fascinated me. I can't wait to read anything else by
Of late recommending 'Vernon God Little' to my mates seemed like a religious ritual to me. Sure, I liked this book very much when I read it about eight years back. All I remembered was, it was a dark humor in the backdrop of Columbine High School Massacre. I knew it was good, but not why. So, decided to give it another go during new year eve.

Why I must have liked this?

I seem to have a special liking for first person narrations. The more the narrator cusses, the better I like him/her. Vernon Greg
Started this afternoon on the plane (Infinite Jest was too big to fit in my laptop bag), and already rather more than halfway through. It's Huck Finn on acid, and the author's technical skill is impressive. Who would have thought you could come up with a joke whose main point is a confusion between Kant's doctrine of the Ding an Sich and the Schrödinger's Cat paradox, make it part of a narrative told by a 15-year-old hick who isn't doing well in school, and still have it be laugh-out-loud funny? ...more
How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

1. If you don't know how to use the f-word as it is used in the vernacular, don't use it.

2. Your protagonist is a turd. Having him stop swearing 4/5 of the way through the novel does not change that he is a turd.

3. Is this supposed to be a satire? If so, then here is a tip: you need either a wide eyed innocent or a sympathetic character as a protagonist (see above). Otherwise your novel is populated with a homgenous mix of ugly people and it gets extrem
K.D. Absolutely
Jun 30, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Man Booker; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
This is a challenging read especially for those who are not familiar with Texan way of talking. There are just too many words or phrases that I did not understand while reading and it slowed down my pace, thought of dropping the book, remembering what my brother used to say that "tiring your eyes is actually reading because reading should have understanding" and all these made the book less enjoyable. That's why I am rating this book with a 3 when it could have been an easy 4 or even 5.

But with
In general I like reading books about America by non-Americans, both for perspective's sake and to test their veracity. The novel is about a 15-year-old kid whose life unravels after he becomes an unwitting accomplice in a Columbine-like school shooting in a small Texas town. Aside from the hapless Vernon, nearly all of the characters are ignorant, overweight hicks - in other words, a perfect European caricature of South(west)ern America. That's not entirely divorced from reality, of course, but ...more
wow, this book really seems to be of the love-it-or-hate-it variety, based on the number of 1 star and 5 star ratings. i'm going to split the difference and go with 3, since there were things i both loved and hated about it.

this novel won the booker prize in 2003, and a lot of people seem to think the british committee that hands out the prizes was giving a big middle finger to america with this one. it's not exactly the most flattering portrait of american society. the novel starts after a high
Jul 16, 2007 Titah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comic writing lovers
Finished reading this novel last week, but needed more time to start writing this review. Still amazed. Here we are...

If you are not got acquainted with American slank, you will feel a little bit annoyed by the excessive use of American teenagers lingo. Obviously, this is a novel that can be included in the Guinnes Book of Records as the novel with most f-word (in all of its forms). I had estimated that at least there would be some 800 f-words in this novel (of course I am using sampling techniq
Huckleberry Finn meets South Park at the Mexican-American border. I saw a review from the SF Chronicle that described this book that way, and it's hard to improve on. But I will try anyway. Or at least I'll give a bit more detail.

It's wickedly funny ride as the author leads you through increasingly crazy situations that are just plausible enough that you buy in. If you are deeply offended by the 7 words you can't say on television, stay away from this one. The foul mouthed narration is part of w
This review originally appeared at

I've learned to become very wary of pull quotes over the past few years: it is a risky endeavour indeed to trust a pithy little phrase massaged into carefully positive shape through decontextualisation and the generous application of ellipses. Unearthing the true meaning of the dialect known as cover quote speak is a linguistic challenge all in its own right.

A book that is "uplifting" invariably contains a dead dog. A book that is a
Michael William West
I'm on a mission to read (as quickly as possible..) a lot of cult/mainstream novels so that when I have conversations with people and I let on that I really, really like books, I won't any longer be caught out by the list of 100 books that I apparently ought to have read, and since I have not am no longer a valid literary conversationalist. Some of them have been okay so far, I got through Cormac McCarthy and Bret Easton Ellis with ease. Then I tried out Chuck Palhaniuk and started to feel as th ...more
A work relevant to current trends in media and material culture as well as a self-aware twist on the scapegoat archetype. Love the development of Vern's language as he wises up to the thought processes of his pursuers. Excellent and quick.
Abhishek Rao
Vernon God Little is a book. And what a book it is! In an age where people have come to prefer the brilliant scripts and beautiful cinematography of American television to fiction, Vernon God Little dazzles with its vivid setting, fast-paced storyline, and its amazingly visual style of first-person narrative. It's the Breaking Bad of modern American literature, and very deservingly won DBC Pierre the Man Booker Prize in 2003 (on account of he was a British citizen when he wrote it).

The novel is
A lot went wrong with this first novel, but the most irritating literary offense for me was the way the not-entirely-authentic-but-still-close-enough-to-be-funny Texas dialect gets away from Pierre and spins off into pure nonsense. Combine hyperbolic pidgin Texas vernacular with a cheerfully misogynist, wholly unlikable narrator, and you get sentences like this: "I surf her upholstery with my nose, map her sticky heem along glimmering edges to the panty-leg, where the tang sharpens like slime-ac ...more
Wow -such split reviews when it comes to this unique and incredible book. I see that a lot of those that gave it one star often gave up halfway, or where put off by the swearing - but the last 3rd of the book blew me away. I picked up this unlikely book as it is included on my 1001 things to read before you die, and whilst I was expecting teenage angst, swearing and snarling, I wasn't expecting to be touched so sincerely by characters that seem so unlikable at the start, and in fact spent the la ...more
A book jacket review describes this novel as 'Huckleberry Finn meets South Park, with a setting on the Mexican-American border.' Ha! Profane and humane, Vernon God Little is the perfect narrator for his own story and the only hero in a novel full of villains and despicable characters. Having been unjustly fingered as an accomplice in a school shooting, Vernon becomes a predictable victim of a media-crazed, reality obsessed television culture. Pierre is a zany, irreverent, madcap writer with laug ...more
S.J. Arnott
The author has a terrific turn of phrase, but the plot staggers around like a drunk and eventually falls flat on its face. There's an attempt to fill in some of the plot holes with dollops of magical realism, but this is as unwelcome as it is unsuccessful.

Although I was engaged with the characters at the start of the book, I quickly lost any interest in them. It was a struggle to finish.

It was a shame; I kept seeing flashes of the brilliant novel this could have been, but these twinkled out of e
I really liked this book when I read it, but I think I actually like it even more with hindsight, now that DBC Pierre has written one of my favourite books of all time, Lights Out in Wonderland. The subject matter of Vernon God Little never interested me much, but oh, his WRITING!
I have no problem admitting that I usually don’t understand the rationale used by the judges who award the Man Booker Prize, but the morning I opened my newspaper and read that the award for 2003 had been given to DBC Pierre’s debut novel. Vernon God Little, the spoon I was using to transfer my kiwi yogurt from the bowl on my kitchen table to my mouth suddenly froze in mid-air, about halfway to its destination, even though my mouth remained open. Surely I’d misread.

Letting my spoon fall back to
Nate D
Feb 15, 2008 Nate D rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nope
Really, this is just too easy: the sneering voice, the jabs at all the obvious targets of rural Americana, the edgy, "topical" subject matter. Really, though, this has little to say, and says it in the most basic way possible. I imagine that the voice sounded "fresh" to whoever gave this a Booker Prize, but its an almost entirely one-dimensional viewpoint. This book is the source of my distaste for satire as excuse for anything to happen with little regard to narrative logic of character (listen ...more
As lazy, as trite, as smugly self-satisfied a satire as it is possible to imagine, Vernon God Little is, in my opinion, a painfully bad book. The plot is boring, the characters are cartoonish, the imagery is infantile, the prose is abysmal, and the main theme, the media’s voyeuristic obsession with violence and tragedy as entertainment, is so hackneyed as to be almost meaningless. A middle-class fantasy of white-trash clichés, this is easily one of the worst books I have ever read. And I’ve read ...more
As part of my quest to find literary fiction with a Texas theme, I came across this one. And, heck, it won a Booker Prize, so it must be good, right? Uh, no.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Saville
  • Something to Answer For
  • Holiday
  • The Old Devils
  • The Elected Member
  • How Late It Was, How Late
  • Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1)
  • G.
  • The Conservationist
  • In a Free State
  • Offshore
  • The Siege of Krishnapur (Empire Trilogy, #2)
  • True History of the Kelly Gang
  • Staying On
  • Last Orders
  • The Famished Road
  • Sacred Hunger
  • Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
DBC Pierre is an Australian-born writer currently residing in Ireland. Born Peter Warren Finlay, the "DBC" stands for "Dirty But Clean". "Pierre" was a nickname bestowed on him by childhood friends after a cartoon character of that name.

Pierre was awarded the Booker Prize for fiction on 14 October 2003 for his novel Vernon God Little.

He is the third Australian to be so honoured, although he has
More about D.B.C. Pierre...
Lights Out in Wonderland Ludmila's Broken English Breakfast with the Borgias Petit Mal Jesus von Texas: Roman

Share This Book

“The problem with learning the truth about things is that you lose the confidence that comes from being dumb.” 52 likes
“I sense a learning: that much dumber people than you end up in charge.” 21 likes
More quotes…