Sometimes you can’t tell a book by the front cover but I knew the minute I looked at it that this was going to be one strange book.
DBC Pierre has no punctuation and is a pseudonym of Peter Warren Finlay. The cover art has sixteen tiny stick figures crossed out representing the bullying schoolmates killed by Jesus Navarro in Martirio, Texas. There is an image of a little boy in a straw cowboy hat going in a circle waving the American flag. He seems to represent the title character – Vernon – who was Jesus’ friend and is on the run as he is the scapegoat for the tragedy. Vern has seen the movie Against All Odds and so he figures Mexico would be great place to hide. He slips across the border but is turned in and goes on trial for mass murder.
The story reads like George Carlin adlibbing a weird story dreamt up by the Coen brothers. It is rife with swearing and lots of talk about bodily functions. It satirizes CNN and the media, life in small town America and trailer parks, con artists, psychiatry, the justice system, and much much more. There is no end to the barbs about daily life in the excited states of America where people rush to judgment as quickly as turning on or off their television sets.
Stylistically it charges ahead with a kind of wild and strange manic energy which I came to admire. After several pages I became accustomed to the use of “fucken” to describe almost everything in 15 - year - old Vernon’s life and I really hoped our hero would come out of the whole comedy alive. But sometimes I became annoyed the shambling chaos in the middle of the novel and it was not an especially easy read for me to hang onto.
Sometimes you can’t tell a book by its back cover and when I read these blurbs of the book is described in glorious terms (of course). I didn’t find the book that hilarious but I did laugh at many of the episodes in the book and the author’s sassy and startling writing style.