Sunday, June 1, 2014

Worst. Person. Ever.

Worst. Person. Ever. is Douglas Coupland's filthy satirical novel based on morally-bankrupt and poor excuse for a human being Raymond Gunt. Raymond likes to think he's a decent enough guy (he would be mistaken) who usually tries to do the right thing, in actuality he is what more than one character in this less than stellar novel calls him, the worst person ever. He is foul-mouthed mysoginist, actually he's more of a misanthrope since he seems to scorn all of humankind, who idolizes Jason Bourne and hates Mr. Bean. Raymond is out of work when he weasels from his ex-wife Fiona a cameraman job on a reality TV show being filmed on Kiribati, an obscure island in the Pacific.

Informed of the fact that he can hire his own personal assistant or as he likes to think "slave" for his assignment, Raymond selects none other than Neal, a homeless man with whom he'd earlier gotten in a physical altercation after kicking him in the shins without provocation. The two unlikely pair set off on their journey, traveling from London to Hawaii to Los Angeles and finally on through to Kiribati. Along the way, Raymond manages to offend, shock and utterly disgust most of those around him; while in the midst of hospitals, jails and at the center of a nuclear war, Raymond shares with us readers his skewed and perverse observations on life and those he meets along the way.

It would be trite and unoriginal to call Worst. Person. Ever. the Worst. Book. Ever but it would probably be the most accurate description of this short but dragging novel. Yes, I laughed once or twice while reading, but the laughs were few and far between. While I'm not a prude, I can enjoy a good dirty joke like the rest, I must say that the degree of filth in this book was so over the top and so utterly repetitive and in your face that at some point I became numb and indifferent to it. Raymond's base language and inflammatory topics, including the benefits of bestiality, seemed merely intent on shocking for shock's sake.

Honestly, I could forgive the profanity, offensive behavior or even the protagonist's utter contempt for all human beings no matter race or creed; I could even admire the author's lack of political correctness especially in today's day and age, but the nail in this book's coffin is that it has no plot or truly distinguishable characters; I dare you to name a character you care enough to remember long after you've read the book. Worst. Person. Ever is a forgettable and disappointing black comedy that fell flat for me.