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DBC Pierre: Vernon God Little

DBC Pierre shot to the top of the literary world with a tantalizing history -- a repentant miscreant with a cute pseudonym (DBC stands for "Dirty But Clean," a testament to his trek through the twelve steps) who decided the only way to overcome the debts from his fraud-ridden past was to write a best-selling novel.

It's a dream I myself have harboured, although my debts began and ended with OSAP. I never would have thought such a plan would actually work, though.

And I am surprised that it worked for Pierre.

Vernon God Little is a tale ripped from the headlines, the story of a kid involved in a school-shooting who either embodies or encounters every cliché you could imagine in such a situation. The small-town cops are bumbling media whores, the court-appointed shrink is a psycho, et cetera et cetera. Pierre borrows heavily from a number of sources -- A Clockwork Orange, The Incomparable Atuk -- and throws in large amounts of potty humour for good measure (and when I say large amounts, I mean there is hardly a page that doesn't mention excrement). I have to say, there are few things I find more boring than potty humour; it is generally a substitute for original thought. Doesn't take a lot of time and effort to scrawl "shit" across a page.

More irritating still is the fakey dialect Pierre uses. It doesn't sound authentically like anything, and he drifts in an out of it like a bad actor who can't get into character without affecting a mixed-up French/Texan/German drawl. Let's not even get into the quaint'n'quirky names with which he adorns his characters, most of whom are completely interchangeable.

I'm really quite surprised at the praised lavished on a novel which is, above all, boring. It took me a month to wade through this thing, a month in which I frequently cast it aside for other books. This is what gets Booker's attention these days? Maybe Booker's new corporate sponsor is influencing it's decisions? Who knows. But if this is all it takes to achieve critical and commercial success, I'd better hurry up and finish my own novel. I'll be a millionaire in no time.

For more reviews, please check the archives.

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