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Vernon God Little

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  24,165 Ratings  ·  1,162 Reviews
If Huckleberry Finn were set on the Mexican-American border and written by the creators of South Park, it might read something like this." — San Francisco Chronicle

When sixteen kids are shot on high school grounds, everyone looks for someone to blame. Meet Vernon Little, under arrest at the sheriff's office, a teenager wearing nothing but yesterday's underwear and his priz
Paperback, First Harvest edition, 292 pages
Published June 15th 2004 by Harvest Books (first published 2003)
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Jun 29, 2008 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2012 Kinga rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 05, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2013 Frankie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dont-like, 2013, usa

My flatmate told me to read this book as it was 'dynamite' apparently. I disagree.
I do not recommend. I did not enjoy.
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
Ravi Gangwani
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" ...more
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
Oct 05, 2015 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's comparison to "Confederacy of Dunces" is inescapable. Both deal with plenty of the following, after all: poor suffering mamas and the boys who devastate their love for them; a protagonist's distrust of society at large; a constant mention of fate or other celestial devices (Fortuna's Wheel for Toole, "God" in the title by Pierre); digestive maladies...bile and acid in interplay; the hero being utterly, pathetically, heartbreakingly misunderstood while the law and its enforcement become ludi ...more
Apr 23, 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  ·  review of another edition
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 07, 2009 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2010 Shovelmonkey1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2012 Shanmugam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matt Harris
Jul 06, 2007 Matt Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2008 Becky rated it liked it
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, 2015 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 28, 2011 Danyellemastro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2009 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 02, 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
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 19, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
I can understand why people might hate this novel. I can understand why they may be disgusted in its handling of such serious subject matter, and I can understand how they might dislike the titular protagonist.

I don't know if it's growing up on South Park, growing up in suburban Texas where all these characters ring true in a hyperbolic manner, or if it's feeling like a red-blooded, black sheep in my high school years that leads me to relate to Vernon to just clench this novel in my fists like a
Miss Ravi
Aug 22, 2015 Miss Ravi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, 1394
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
Jan 05, 2014 Abhishek Rao rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 10, 2013 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
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
Chris Gager
Jan 28, 2017 Chris Gager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got this one ... somewhere ... and picked it more or less at random off my shelves. The cover blurbs are impressive and this did win the Booker prize about ten years ago so ... we'll see. The writing style is unique and somewhat challenging to read. Sort-of semi-literate teenage stream of conscious. On steroids ... My patience and tolerance may be tested. My focus already has been.

A curious book. Most of the prose is a pretty funny and relentless assault on Billy Bob Amurca Texas-style. Every on
S.J. Arnott
May 22, 2015 S.J. Arnott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 01, 2008 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.” 23 likes
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