Vernon Little is the second-least-popular guy in school. Then his best friend Jesus Navarro goes and massacres all the other kids, which makes 15-year-old Little the least popular person in all of Martirio, Tex.
That plot doesn't scream comedy, but in DBC Pierre's scabrously funny debut, Vernon God Little, the tragedy is used as a zoom lens to examine the pimply face of America's misguided Glen Campbell idealism. Little's mom and her lady friends serve up ''a gumbo of lies, cellulite, and f---en wuv,'' while the rest of the townsfolk try to either bust Vernon as an accessory to the murders or cash in on Martirio's 15 minutes of cable-TV fame.
What's surprising about the book's spot-on Americanisms is that Pierre, ne Peter Finlay, was born in Australia, lives in Ireland, and picked up his vernacular skill as a teenager living in Texas. That's also where he earned the pen name DBC, Dirty But Clean -- an apt description of his cuss-laden yet succinct writing style. And in Vernon Little, Pierre has channeled the most afflicted and endearing hero since ''Rushmore'''s Max Fischer.