“If Huckleberry Finn were set on the Mexican-American border and written by the creators of South Park, it might read something like this.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Hailed by critics and lauded by readers for its riotously funny and scathing portrayal of America in an age of trial by media, materialism, and violence, Vernon God Little was an international sensation when it was first published in 2003 and awarded the prestigious Man Booker Prize.
The memorable portrait of America is seen through the eyes of a wry, young protagonist. Fifteen-year-old Vernon narrates the story with a cynical twang and a four-letter barb for each of his townsfolk, a medley of characters. With a plot involving a school shooting and death-row reality TV shows, Pierre’s effortless prose and dialogue combine to form a novel of postmodern gamesmanship.
“A dangerous, smart, ridiculous, and very funny first novel . . . Pierre renders adolescence brilliantly, capturing with seeming effortlessness the bright, contradictory hormone rush of teenage life.” —Sam Sifton, The New York Times
Perry takes a freewheeling, irreverent look at teenage Sturm und Drang in his erratic, sometimes darkly comic debut novel about a Texas boy running from the law in the wake of a gory school shooting. Vernon Gregory Little is the 15-year-old protagonist, a nasty, sarcastic teenager accused of being an accessory to the murders committed by his friend Jesus Navarro in tiny Martirio, "the barbecue sauce capital of Texas." Vernon manages to make bail and avoid the media horde that descends on the town after the killings, but he's unable to get to the other gun his father's which he knows will tie him to the crime, despite his innocence. His flight path takes him first to Houston, where he unsuccessfully tries to hook up with gorgeous former schoolmate Taylor Figueroa; the crafty beauty, promised a media job by the evil Lally, who's also duped Vernon's mom, follows him to Mexico and efficiently betrays him. Most of the plotting feels like an excuse for Vernon's endless, sharply snide riffs on his small town and the unique excesses of America that helped spawn the killings. Unfortunately, Vernon's voice grows tiresome, his excesses make him rather unlikable and the over-the-top, gross-out humor is hit-or-miss. 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.