Book Review: Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland
June 13, 2014 9 Comments
Worst. Person. Ever.: What it is about
From the publishers: “Meet Raymond Gunt. A decent chap who tries to do the right thing. Or, to put it another way, the worst person ever: a foul-mouthed, misanthropic cameraman, trailing creditors, ex-wives and unhappy homeless people in his wake. Men dislike him, women flee from him.
Worst. Person. Ever. is a deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value. Gunt, in the words of the author, ‘is a living, walking, talking, hot steaming pile of pure id.’ He’s a B-unit cameraman who enters an amusing downward failure spiral that takes him from London to Los Angeles and then on to an obscure island in the Pacific where a major American TV network is shooting a Survivor-style reality show. Along the way, Gunt suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to re-enact the ‘Angry Dance’ from the movie Billy Elliot and finds himself at the centre of a nuclear war. We also meet Raymond’s upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, as well as Raymond’s ex-wife, Fiona, herself ‘an atomic bomb of pain’.
Even though he really puts the ‘anti’ in anti-hero, you may find Raymond Gunt an oddly likeable character.”
Worst. Person. Ever.: What I thought
Well, the description above says it all: a book about an unpleasant person who gets himself in unpleasant situations. Still, it was great fun! Coupland likes to set his novels against a good apocalypse (see e.g., Player One and Generation A). In this case, there was a nuclear war going on, the beginning of which Raymond was involved in, but it plays out mainly in the background as a vehicle to keep people stranded where they are.
I thought the book was very funny and an easy read, almost like (dare I say it?) lad-lit. Raymond gets himself into all kinds of situations without trying very hard. Getting towards his goals, i.e., the island and the job, is turning out to be quite difficult. He does get there in the end… a bit.
If you’ve read novels by Coupland before, you will like this one. It’s lighter than some of his others, though. If you enjoy crazy scenarios (that are not completely over the top), you’ll enjoy this too!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (Good)
Number of pages: 322
First published: 2013
I got this book: from the library
Genre: contemporary fiction