Vernon God Little

This was one of my holiday reading choices, and ended up being the one I continued to read and, recently, complete.  I really had no idea what to expect beyond the fact that I was aware the book had enjoyed a surge of popularity, which seemed akin to that of "Story of a dog in the nighttime" and made me wonder if there was a similar theme and the author might have experience of Aspergers or some similar condition.

DBC Pierre was a newcomer to writing in his forties, something I always find hopeful for a fresh and "grown up" work of literature.  I am really not sure if this is what I encountered or not though.  It is certainly a convincing account from the perspective of a teenager - and I can easily see why it has been compared with "Catcher in the Rye" (a highly unfortunate comparison for the author though!).

The protagonist of our story is, naturally, a fifteen year old called "Vernon Little".  His middle name is actually Gregory, but there's a certain amount of wordplay around that, as the title betrays.  We are left puzzling out how his life is shaped and the central event whcih had occured just before the novel opens, one where there has been a mass killing of his class mates, leaving the community in a peculiar state.  We are in no uncertainty that this was witnessed by Vernon, and that it was his "best friend", Jesus, who committed the atrocity.  What we are never entirely sure of is if this is the truth of the matter, though I have to confess myself I was always "on his side".

As the story progresses we see a rather tragic back story, and a mephisto like character is introduced, named Eulalio, or "Lally" for short.  He rapidly latches onto Vernon, who is not taken in and discovers what a fraud the man is, unlike the others and indeed the great American public, who are completely taken in by him as he hijacks the story and the media for his own ends, much to the cost of Vernon.

Ultimately the stakes are as high as can be imagined and ultimately good triumphs, but there is much to enjoy along the way if one likes to hear an evocative and poetic account from the vernacular (pardon the pun) of Mr Little's story.