Creative Commons License
Super Friends by Whitney Holwadel Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at Super Friends: Vernon God Little

Monday, February 16, 2009

Vernon God Little

One of the most entertaining novels I've ever read, second only to Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, is Vernon God Little, by Australian-born DBC Pierre, the pseudonym used by Peter Warren Finlay. If you're looking for profound, check out Vanity Fair. If something epic is to your tastes, this book cannot be juxtaposed in any way with Moby Dick. But for a truly fun read with a strong social message, this is the one. Vernon God Little is a brutally honest, sometimes grotesque and thoroughly hilarious glimpse into the dungeon which can be small-town middle America. The book's narrator, 15-year old Vernon Little, is a social loner in rural Texas where he fails to in any way relate or connect with not only his school fears but also his own family, especially his imbalanced single mother. Vernon's only friend is another quiet loner. At least until the friend carries out a Columbine-style massacre, committing suicide afterwards. The resulting press coverage launches the previously unknown town into national headlines which everyone from the mayor to Vernon's own mother hopes will propel them out of their lives dominated by fast-food, reality television and celebrity gossip into a world of fame and wealth which they were all obviously meant for. Through their desperation, poor, innocent Vernon becomes charged with murder as an accomplice to his friend's horrific crimes.

Hmm, for having described the book as hilarious, what I've just written won't exactly have Judd Apatow screaming for the movie rights. But while the plot itself doesn't exactly inspire mirth, Vernon's reactions to his predicament and the startling observations he makes about the world around him are nothing short of pricelessly funny. Finlay could not have created a more situationally appropriate teenage boy than Vernon.

In the final chapter of Vernon God Little, Finlay makes a bold prediction about the future of the American penal system. To say any more would be to give away the book's ending, but the theory is so plausible despite being completely ridiculous that how it hasn't come to fruition already is a complete mystery.

Hopefully this book will be enjoyed by all those who choose to read it. Although unabashedly vulgar at times, this is satire at its best through and through. And here's a snippet to whet your appetite:

"Uh huh. Let me explain that my job is to uncover the truth. Before you think that's a hard thing to do, I'll remind you that, stuss-tistically, only two major forces govern life in this world. Can you name the two forces underlying all life in this world."

"Uh -- wealth and poverty?"

"Not wealth and poverty."

"Good and evil?"

"No -- Cause and effect. And before we start I want you to name the two categories of people that inhabit our world. Can you name the two proven categories of people?"

"Causers and effecters?"

"No. Citizens -- and liars. Are you with me Mister Little. Are you here?"

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