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.
News of the tragedy serves as open invitation to the media and soon the quirky backwater of Martirio is flooded with wannabe CNN hacks all too keen to lay the blame for the killings at Vernon's feet.
Eulalio Ledesma, in particular, sniffs out his opportunity to make good at Vernon's expense and soon Vernon finds himself drawn into a series of increasingly bizarre (to say nothing of life-threatening) circumstances. Eventually, with the LSD safely deposited and diluted in the ginseng, he succumbs to the workings of Fate and takes off for Mexico and a date - or so he hopes - with the divine Taylor.
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2003
About the Author
DBC Pierre was born in Reynella, South Australia. He was raised in Mexico between the ages of seven and twenty-three, although he has also travelled extensively. DBC Pierre has worked as a designer and cartoonist, and currently lives in County Leitrim, Ireland. Vernon God Little, his first novel, won the 2003 Bollinger Everyman Woodhouse Award, the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel, and the 2003 Man Booker Prize. He is the author of Ludmila's Broken English (2006) and Lights Out in Wonderland.
Another high-school massacre; blighted lives and a hung-up teenager. But how much is Vernon G Little really involved? His neighbours, the local police and even his own mother, all manipulated by an ambitious repairman who makes himself main media spokesman, are quick to blame him, and his own unsavoury habits, friendship with a Mexican who's now dead and a traumatised teacher who can't or won't give him an alibi don't help. As evidence seemingly mounts against him, he makes off for Mexico, enlisting the help of the girl of his (dirty) dreams, but she too lets him down, betraying him to the police. Once he's rearrested, he finds the list of charges has grown alarmingly. Who will help this sassy and crude 15-year-old now? The story is peopled with grotesque characters, among them Vernon's mother, who has a strange inability to attend Vernon's court appearances (once because she is waiting for a fridge to be delivered), and her food-obsessed friends. The black humour can be very funny, in the court scenes, for example, where his first lawyer has an appealingly tenuous grasp of English and his second defender is initially successful like a parody of an American legal sitcom, but as Vernon comments on his bizarre experiences, the shock effect of the strong language and repetitive references to things like panty liners, sex and bowel movements tend to have a cumulatively repellent effect even as Vernon's plight becomes more desperate. Can this story be seen as an angry indictment of a world which takes things at face value? It is certainly not a comfortable or particularly enjoyable read. (Kirkus UK)