August 1, 2011 Off By Fried Guest

 Vernon’s “artwork”, his last words to the world before he died, read “Me ves y sufres”. And suffer I did, withVernon, through it all. ‘Vernon God Little’ is an evocative story of a teenage boy caught up in a psychotic world, where his only fault, albeit a big one, was not crying out loud “Innocent!!”Vernon, a resident of a typical American town, is a regular, teenage, school-going kid. Regular in the sense of being a little twisted. For which teenage kid is not. His obsession with underclothes and profanity are nothing unusual to a teenager. We all know that. Admit it!

Vernonjust cannot seem to catch a break. He just cannot. His bowel movement comes at the most inappropriate of times, his mother ends up falling in “love” (“…a woman can sense these nancies…”) with the guy who wants him convicted and even the girl, Taylor, who seems to be going out of her way to help him turns out to be a covert media spy. The world is out to get him. He becomes a victim of a town crazed by the recent violence and looking to pin the guilt on someone. And they find the suitable scapegoat inVernon.

The book is wonderfully written. And before I go on to extol its beauty, I must confess to something. I began the book and was instantly reminded of ‘The Catcher in theRye’. And I was so sure that I would not be able to go beyond a few chapters. But I persisted, because I just cannot leave a book having read it halfway. And I was in for a surprise. I actually ended up liking the book so much that I read through the last pages slowly to make it last longer.

I found so much that I could relate to in this book. The knife inVernon’s back? I think we all have that. And it twists, and it makes living miserable. And the world we live in today, it’s mangled beyond any sense. We take everything at face value and make all the trivialities in this world, our motive for existence. And when, likeVernonyou are one of the few standing outside, looking in; there is little hope for you. And Fate songs? Oh my, I have so many of those…

The book is not about an incident where a kid goes berserk with a gun in his hand, taking it out on his fellow classmates. It is about what we as people have become. The media wants to sensationalise it all; no one wants the truth as long as they have someone to blame things on. It is about teenage and human angst, about feeling helpless at the hands of fate, but still living on and not blowing our brains out!

One amazing read!

                                                                 -Prerna Gupta

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