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Vernon God Little

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  27,863 ratings  ·  1,395 reviews
Named as one of the 100 Best Things in the World by GQ magazine in 2003, the riotous adventures of Vernon Gregory Little in small town Texas and beachfront Mexico mark one of the most spectacular, irreverent and bizarre debuts of the twenty-first century so far. Its depiction of innocence and simple humanity (all seasoned with a dash of dysfunctional profanity) in an evil ...more
Paperback, 279 pages
Published 2004 by Faber and Faber (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,863 ratings  ·  1,395 reviews

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Jun 29, 2008 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
"I sense a learning: that much dumber people than you end up in charge."

I really didn't like this book at all, but I have to admit that it captures the spirit of America in an unpleasantly accurate way. Vulgar, frustrating, and sad in a farcical way, it shows the kind of (anti-)culture that created the nationwide mess that is now evident to the whole world, and for which the whole world may have to pay.

Meet the unsympathetic, cursing, uneducated antihero and his family in small-town Texas, and
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
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pub-2003
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
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's comparison to "Confederacy of Dunces" may be 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 l ...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 05, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people on a different planet than me
Shelves: novels
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Vernon God Little, D.B.C. Pierre

The life of Vernon Little, a normal teenager who lives in Martirio, Texas, falls apart when his best friend, Jesus Navarro, murders their classmates in the schoolyard before killing himself, and Vernon is taken in for questioning.

He cooperates with Deputy Vain Gurie, because he had been running an errand for a teacher, Mr. Nuckles, and is not involved in the massacre. The perception of Vernon's innocence weakens when his Mom's best friend, the food-obsessed Palmy
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Little did I know when, as a bored student one university vacation back in the late 80s, I read my parents' copy of Midnight's Children, that over 30 years later I would reach the point of having read all of the Booker winners (though strictly speaking my copy of In a Free State was incomplete).

Two chapters into this book I was thinking it might get one of my very occasional one star reviews. The 15 year old unreliable narrator seemed obnoxious and his humour and language unsubtle to say the lea
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
Jul 13, 2010 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
Jan 07, 2009 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
Apr 23, 2010 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 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 soc
Jun 29, 2010 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
Dec 18, 2008 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
aPriL does feral sometimes
‘Vernon God Little’ by DBC Pierre is such a bitter bitter satire! I think this novel delivers the strongest high-end literary acerbic social commentary, in fact, powerful lemon-sucking strong commentary, on contemporary small-town life and cable news media I have ever read in my lifetime! But somehow there still is a lot of emotional warmth underlying the takedown!

Pierre won The Man Booker Prize of 2003 for ‘Vernon God Little’.

It’s a tight, fast-paced plot written all in fun. A rollicking comedy
Matt Harris
Jul 06, 2007 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
Aug 28, 2011 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
Apr 03, 2009 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.
Sidharth Vardhan
It is the third book this year where shit, figurtive human excreta, has been given so much attention. No wonder I don't enjoy reading books as much anymore. The other two books are The Discomfort of Evening (another booker winner; booker committe seems to love shit) and the book that probably introduced shit to literature - Gargantua and Pantagruel (still reading)

This one moves around America's love for things that shoot - guns and cameras. I can admit satire on media trial had some brilliant el
Mar 31, 2008 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 19, 2012 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
Paul E. Morph
Jul 16, 2015 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
Jan 01, 2008 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
Dec 25, 2012 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
Vernon God Little is a book of how the rest of the world perceives America. It reads like what is wrong with the society - the intrusive media, the TV centric materialistic lifestyle, the attention seekers, the gossip mongers and the complete apathy towards sanctity of human life.

Vernon Gregory Little is a 15 year old live victim of a school shoot out whom people with ambition are out to get. Narrated in first person, we know he is innocent and part of a dysfunctional neighborhood. Almost the en
Ron Charles
Jan 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When the French accuse the United States of acting imperially in Iraq, Americans chuckle at how deaf they can be to our good motives. Pass the Freedom Fries, s'il vous plaît. But recent cultural messages from Europe may be more disturbing because they suggest just how deeply alarmed our friends across the Atlantic are about America's mental health.

Last spring, "Elephant" won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and now "Vernon God Little" has won the Booker Prize. Coincidentally, both Gus
Jul 02, 2007 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 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
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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

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