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Vernon God Little

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,549 Ratings  ·  1,067 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)
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21st out of 50 books — 1,572 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 17, 2016 Ben rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2013 Kinga rated it it was ok
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 did not like it
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
Jul 18, 2010 RandomAnthony rated it liked it
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
Apr 27, 2010 Kemper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, modern-lit
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
Dec 19, 2007 Kirk rated it did not like it
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
Jan 09, 2009 Manny rated it liked it
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
Jan 30, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2014 Shanmugam rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it
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
K.D. Absolutely
Jun 30, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  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
Dec 25, 2012 Evan rated it it was ok
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
Apr 26, 2008 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-winners
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 really liked it  ·  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
Nov 25, 2015 Paul rated it it was amazing
If you could sum up Vernon God Little in three words, what would they be?
Dark, twisted, hilarious.

What other book might you compare Vernon God Little to, and why?
The closest I can get is to say it's like 'Catcher In The Rye' if it had been written by Warren Ellis.

Have you listened to any of Nick Landrum’s other performances? How does this one compare?
This is my first time listening to one of Nick Landrum's performances but he does an excellent job and I certainly hope to listen to more books he
Miss Ravi
Aug 31, 2015 Miss Ravi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رمان
اصلا کتابی نیس که بشه پیشنهادش کرد و یا ویژگیهای مثبتش اونقدر برجسته باشن که بشه در موردشون نوشت. میتونم بگم که از وجود این همه شخصیت کودن و یا به ظاهر کودن و اون پایانهی ناگهان خوش و خرم چندشم شد. ...more
Abhishek Rao
Oct 10, 2014 Abhishek Rao rated it really liked it
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
Aug 30, 2011 Danyellemastro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 1001
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
Michael William West
Jan 26, 2012 Michael William West rated it did not like it
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
Ravi Gangwani
Nov 21, 2015 Ravi Gangwani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-winner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Louis-Wood
Mar 03, 2016 Jane Louis-Wood rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels, owned
This book is in the category I think of as 'American Filmic Male First Person'.

I've had it for ages, but was put off by the fact that the 'DBC' stands for 'dirty but clean' and the fact that Pierre sounded like such an egotistical cockbadger on the radio. It's quite engaging, but not quite engaging enough. It reads as though the author has watched a lot of TV and movies, but not read many books (apart from Catcher in the Rye) or met many people. I'm astonished that it won the Booker, though the
Apr 07, 2009 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
May 31, 2015 Maddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-winners
Superbly brilliant and sublime Post Modern novel, DBC's (stands for Dirty But Clean) is a five star read for me and it will stay with me for a long time to come.

VGL is a five Act novel not unlike Shakespeare's five Act Tragedies and written on a similar if not modernist level with the old bard! The writing is sublime and the characterisations of every character except the narrator Vernon seem more like caricatures, they made me cringe, laugh and disturbed me deeply on every level. The plot set i
May 30, 2015 Frankie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dont-like, borrowed, 2013
I feel bad giving this book only 2 stars and putting it in my 'dont like' shelf but I cant justify giving it anymore.

My flatmate told me to read this book as it was 'dynamite' apparently. I disagree.

I couldnt sympathise with the main character Vernon because for a long while in the book you do not know the entire story of the shootings. I understand you work more and more about 'that day' the more you get into it but i just didnt like how it was told. I found it a bit confusing. I also just did
S.J. Arnott
May 22, 2015 S.J. Arnott rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
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
Jan 02, 2008 Mary rated it it was ok
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
Jul 21, 2013 Wayne rated it really liked it
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
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!
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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...

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“The problem with learning the truth about things is that you lose the confidence that comes from being dumb.” 55 likes
“I sense a learning: that much dumber people than you end up in charge.” 22 likes
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