A razor-sharp portrait of a morally bankrupt and gleefully wicked modern man, Worst. Person. Ever. is Douglas Coupland’s gloriously filthy, side-splittingly funny and unforgettable novel.
Published: October 3rd 2013
Publisher: William Heinemann
Pages: 336 Pages
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.
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’.
I’m a huge fan of Douglas Coupland, so when I received Worst. Person. Ever as a Christmas gift I was very excited.
Raymond is definitely the worst person ever and from a readers point of view you hate him, a lot. He’s arrogant and incredibly self-absorbed – I’m surprised people actually wanted to talk to him. His job as a cameraman sees him travel to a faraway island with his homeless assistant Neal where they talk sex, drugs and rock and roll. Neal is living the high – life, but he never forgets about his past – he’s humble. I liked Neal the most, which was probably Douglas’s intention, because even though Raymond treated Neal like crap, Neal never retaliated, which was a skill let me tell you.
If you’re unfamiliar with Douglas, his work is often controversial and Worst, Person. Ever certainly didn’t disappoint on the shock-factor. I wouldn’t recommend reading the novel if you offend easily because you’ll be subjected to crude language, improper situations and elements that might make you feel uneasy. I know this might put you off, but from a Coupland fan like myself, it just makes you love his work even more. However, I will admit that out of all the novels I’ve read of Douglas’s this is my least favourite. Each of Coupland’s novels contains a thought provoking message (how would we survive without bees? Is the world to reliant on technology – some examples) whereas I felt Worst. Person. Ever. just made me think I’d wasted a few hours of my life – you didn’t really learn anything.