Author: DBC Pierre
It took me quite a while to get into this book. I found the narrative wasn’t very clear, to the point where there were some characters, even at the end of the book, whose relationships to the main characters and what their purpose was was a complete mystery. Despite this, I found it gaining momentum as I kept reading, and more and more I would get drawn in. There was always a mystery (in a good way this time) about what had happened to these people to lead them to this stage, and that kept me reading. And yes, I really did want to know what would happen to Vernon.
The constant swearing was the one thing that was most distracting, but towards the end of the book I realised it was more like the misspellings in Flowers for Algernon. It had to be there, and I could really appreciate how it, in an odd way, improved the book.
By the last few chapters, I had wholly forgotten the reasons why I had disliked the book in the first few sections, and read with complete enthusiasm. I was enthralled in what was happening, and it actually held me in emotionally. It was a bit weird at points but I think that added to the offbeat charm.
But… you know those assignments you’d get in English class, asking you to rewrite the ending of whatever novel you happened to be reading? I remember doing one for Lord of the Flies in grade 9. Anyway, the end of Vernon God Little, as in everything from the last few paragraphs of the second to last chapter onward, desperately needs to be rewritten. Actually it doesn’t even… I could just rip out the last few pages and it would be great. I remember a distinct point where I thought “This is the perfect ending to this book.” Everything after that paragraph completely ruined the flow and emotion of it.
Well, even though the ending was complete crap, everything up to that point, including the things that annoyed me, was fantastic. I’m glad I read it. I can still picture (what should have been) the last scene, and I still feel connected to Vernon that way. It was a good ride.
There’s one paragraph in particular that I’d love to quote, but it’s a terrible spoiler. Instead I’ll leave you with this, my second favourite passage:
“I sit up straight in the seat, hoping to fool myself to normality. But the waves start tumbling in, tidal waves of horror on the back of this beautiful dream. Now bright images of Jesus form around me. He doesn’t look at me. He looks away, and takes the barrel into his mouth, tastes its heat. Around him, milky eyes dot the school yard like flowers, jerky eyes getting slower, fading dead away. Boom. Fractured air oozes coughs and gurgles, the hiss of desperate clotting, of vital last messages nobody hears. Mr Nuckles the teacher is here too, his face trimmed with bubles of young blood. The memories are back. I shoot disorderly tears for the fallen, for Max Lechuga, Lori Donner, and everybody, and I now I’m fucked for the rest of the journey, marybe for the rest of my life, fucked and nailed through the eye of my dick to the biggest cross. How could they think I did this? I hung out with the underdog, moved out of the pack, that’s how, and now I fill his place, now anything original I ever said or did has turned a sinister shade. I understand him for the first time.”