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Vernon God Little

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Vernon God Little Cover

ISBN13: 9780156029988
ISBN10: 0156029987
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

Q> How does Vernon's colloquial narrative voice help to develop him as a character? Does it ring true to you as the everyday speech of a young Texan? Do you "hear" Vernon speaking as you read? Is his voice different from the way characters in the book speak to one another? How does it change over the course of the novel? Q> How does the lack of male figures in Vernon's home life affect him? How does Lally's arrival change the dynamic of the household? How does Lally use his maleness to manipulate the situation, not just with Vernon's mother and her friends, but with Vernon himself? Q> What is represented by the "knife" that Vernon refers to throughout the book, starting on p. 7: "it's like [his mother] planted a knife in my back when I was born, and every fucken noise she makes just gives it a turn"? Later, he explains that parents "take every word in the fucken universe, and index it back to your knife . . . parents succeed by managing the database of your dumbness and your slime, ready for combat." (41) Do we all have "knives"? Are they created and used by our families, or by ourselves? Q> The question of cause and effect is central to novel. What do you think is the cause of the Martirio school shooting? Can there be more than one cause of an event like this? Is the town itself partly responsible for the massacre? Are Goosens and Nuckels? What about Jesus's classmates? If we read the "cause and effect balls" Vernon plays with obsessively in his death row cell as a metaphor, what might they tell us about these questions? Q> Vernon God Little contains elements of two classic American genres: the adolescent coming-of-age story and the road novel. Critics have mentioned the novel's similarity to The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. How would you compare Vernon God Little to these novels? What other novels (or stories, or films) did it remind you of? Do you think Pierre is consciously referring to these archetypal stories? Q> Discuss the role of consumerism in this novel. Vernon says that Jesus lacks power and status in part because "he can't afford new Brands. Licensed avenues of righteousness are out of his reach."? (230) What does Vernon mean by "licensed avenues of righteousness?" Q> Vernon feels freer in Mexico than at home; he imagines that "there's a kind of immune system back home, to knock off your edges, wash out the feral genes, package you up with your knife . . . Down here, in another space and time, I spend a night among partners with correctly calibrated Mexican genes." (175) What is the difference Vernon is getting at here? Is he romanticizing Mexican life? What does it have, or lack, that allows him to feel free of his "knife"? Q> How does Vernon change and mature over the course of the novel? How does your attitude toward him change? Did you ever think that he had been part of the shooting? Q> Is the kind of cruelty shown by Jesus's classmates on the day of the shooting simply a fact of adolescent life, or is it a symptom of an unhealthy society? Do teenagers have a right to be free from teasing and harassment, or are they, as Charlotte Brewster suggests, naturally subject to the tyranny of the majority of their peers? Can the social persecution of Jesus be compared to the persecution of Vernon by media-influenced public opinion? Q> What is the role of the media in Vernon God Little? Why do we never meet a real reporter, one who is not a fraud or an opportunist like Lally? How does the media spotlight shape Martirio's reaction to the shootings? Do you think media coverage of tragedies and trials in recent years has gone too far? Has it had any positive effects? Q> What do you think of Lasalle's final advice to Vernon (p. 258-260)? He asks Vernon, " 'Where's this God you talk about? . . . Just fuckin people. You stuck with the rest of us in this snake-pit of human wants, wants frustrated and calcified into needs . . . Don't come cryin to me because you got in the way of another man's needs.'" Is this the root of Vernon's troubles? If he had not been "too darn embarrassed to play God," (261) if he had set out from the beginning to "give the people what they want," could he have avoided the predicament he finds himself in? What do you make of the fact that Lasalle turns out to have been an axe murderer? Q> What does Vernon God Little say about America? Is it effective as a commentary on our culture? How do humor and satire work in the novel to provide a new perspective on school violence? Copyright © 2004 Ben White

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grsekar, September 13, 2006 (view all comments by grsekar)
to make it simple.... the novel is dirty but clean like the author himself....
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780156029988
Author:
Pierre, DBC
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Location:
Orlando
Subject:
General
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Texas
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
School violence
Subject:
High school students
Subject:
Massacres
Subject:
Black humor
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
Humor : General
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st harvest ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
15.
Publication Date:
June 15, 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
300
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.6 pd

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Featured Titles » Man Booker Prize Winners
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Vernon God Little Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 300 pages Harvest Books - English 9780156029988 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[S]cabrously funny....[I]n Vernon Little, Pierre has channeled the most afflicted and endearing hero since Rushmore's Max Fischer. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "[O]bscenely entertaining....The suffering that underlies this novel is no sham emotion."
"Review" by , "[T]he narrative voice of 15-year-old Vernon Little overwhelms everything else....Humor and mass murder make for strange bedfellows, and first-timer Pierre fails to find the tone that might harmonize them."
"Review" by , "[E]rratic, sometimes darkly comic....Perry's wild energy offers entertaining satire as well as cringe-provoking scenes, and though he can write with incisive wit, this is a bumpy ride."
"Review" by , "Vernon has a gift for wordplay that would keep the shade of James Joyce amused."
"Review" by , "The stereotypes are broad....America may have difficulty finding the humor in this novel, but equally troubling is the inauthenticity of the narrative voice."
"Review" by , "Vernon God Little shows some promise, but it is not a good book. More important even than that, it's not a plausible book....However well Pierre's work might reflect the 'alarm and fascination' of Corey and his colleagues, what it doesn't reflect with any authority is America itself. It's a synthetic concoction of artificial flavors and colors, about as authentic a representation of American life as cherry soda is of the fresh fruit....Vernon God Little doesn't sound American, it doesn't sound Texan, and it doesn't sound teenage....Vernon God Little isn't really about school shootings in any meaningful way. The massacre is affixed to the book like a sticker vouching for its import, the thing that purportedly transforms it from a minor Salingeresque coming-of-age story into a 'coruscating black comedy reflecting our alarm and fascination with modern America'....Nevertheless, the French are lapping it up and so, now, are the British. Simply including a school shooting in your book or movie, apparently, is enough to mark it as a thoughtful commentary on American society, whether or not you've actually bothered to think about it."
"Review" by , "[S]tartling and excellent....Like the best satires, it makes you feel faintly guilty for laughing, which intensifies the pleasure of reading. It also keeps you hooked....Vernon himself is a brilliant comic creation..."
"Review" by , "[C]ompulsively written...sure-footed in its satire....[A] quite scintillating black comedy by one of the most original talents in years....It is a showcase of superb comic writing, every sentence turned with loving care."
"Review" by , "Vernon Little's polymorphous voice is the star of the novel...his simmeringly funny monologue [has] the scent of cracked poetry."
"Review" by , "[T]he real triumph lies in Pierre's creation of Vernon, a mouthpiece for today's disaffected teenagers....[I]n his credible articulation of Vernon's existential angst Pierre has created an invigorating heir to Holden Caulfield."
"Synopsis" by ,
When sixteen kids are shot on high school grounds, everyone looks for someone to blame. Meet Vernon Little, under arrest at the sheriff's office, a teenager wearing nothing but yesterday's underwear and his prized logo sneakers. Moments after the shooter, his best buddy, turns the gun on himself, Vernon is pinned as an accomplice. Out for revenge are the townspeople, the cable news networks, and Deputy Vaine Gurie, a woman whose zeal for the Pritikin diet is eclipsed only by her appetite for barbecued ribs from the Bar-B-Chew Barn. So Vernon does what any red-blooded American teenager would do; he takes off for Mexico.

Vernon God Little is a provocatively satirical, riotously funny look at violence, materialism, and the American media.

"Synopsis" by ,
When sixteen kids are shot on high school grounds, everyone looks for someone to blame. Meet Vernon Little, under arrest at the sheriff's office, a teenager wearing nothing but yesterday's underwear and his prized logo sneakers. Moments after the shooter, his best buddy, turns the gun on himself, Vernon is pinned as an accomplice. Out for revenge are the townspeople, the cable news networks, and Deputy Vaine Gurie, a woman whose zeal for the Pritikin diet is eclipsed only by her appetite for barbecued ribs from the Bar-B-Chew Barn. So Vernon does what any red-blooded American teenager would do; he takes off for Mexico.

Vernon God Little is a provocatively satirical, riotously funny look at violence, materialism, and the American media.

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