Over the summer and into the fall, my reading rate slowed down significantly. I blame this on knitting. For a long while, I was taking my knitting projects on the subway with me, small and simple things like scarves and hats. This meant books got bumped out of my commuting bag. And, admittedly, I don’t read a lot at home these days. A little, but not a lot.
I managed to get through this one in September, so it’s been a while since I read it. Here’s hoping this review is coherent anyway.
Worst. Person. Ever
I’ve been aware of Douglas Coupland for a long time but, oddly, I don’t think I’ve read one of his books since I read Hey Nostradamus! in high school. I liked that book, quite a bit, in fact. But, until this year, I hadn’t picked up another Coupland novel.
The title? Well. It doesn’t lie.
Essentially, the book is about a truly slimy character receiving his comeuppance. Raymond Gunt is offensive, cruel, entitled, womanizing, irresponsible, and, well… the worst person ever. The story is told from his perspective as he and a side-kick – a homeless man he hires on a whim as his assistant – travel to Kiribati to work on the set of a Survivor-like reality TV show. Things start out bad for Gunt, and just seem to get worse and worse and worse. Plane ticket mix-ups, arrests, allergic reactions, humiliation, ridicule, etc. etc.; throughout the novel, Coupland piles it on.
You think it would be enjoyable, ‘watching’ a truly terrible human being get what he deserves.
This novel was surprisingly difficult to read. It was, more or less, a worthwhile read. Coupland does a masterful job of creating an unreliable narrator to lead his captivated audience through each fiasco. But as things just got worse and worse for Gunt, all at his own hand, I cringed more and more. I wanted to yell at him to just stop, just stop being such an idiot.
Of course, novels don’t listen.
(Creepy, if they did.)
I won’t ever read this novel a second time. But, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend it for a first read, especially to those who know a Raymond Gunt. They do exist, but I think we all need a reminder every so often that even they maybe don’t deserve the fate we imagine for them.
What are you reading these days?
(Thanks to Randomhouse for sending me a copy of this novel way back in September! Oof. I’m so behind on blogging…)