My father-in-law recently borrowed Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland from me, without me knowing. Let’s just say I was horrified. I’m fine with him borrowing my books, in fact I welcome it, but this book? No way. Not his cup of tea. Let’s just say it is about a truly reprehensible individual who takes swearing, sexual innuendo and political incorrectness to a new level. This is not a book I want my father-in-law reading, nor is it the kind of book that I want him thinking I enjoy.
Worst.Person.Ever. is a far fetched tale about a British cameraman who is dispatched to an unknown Pacific Island to tape a reality show. He hires a local homeless man to be his assistant, wrangles with his ex-wife, falls in love, witnesses a nuclear explosion and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything that comes out of our protagonist’s mouth is offensive to someone. Is he a provocateur? Or is he insensitive?
Stylistically, the novel hearkens back to the success Coupland had with Generation X. He once again makes use of catchy definitions and explanatory notes. Unlike Generation X, Worst. Person. Ever. does not do a whole lot towards providing insightful commentary on contemporary culture. Instead it just derides everything.
By the end of the novel I found it a little tiresome and was plagued with the question as to what was Coupland’s motivation in writing it. I found it difficult to separate the opinions put forth in the book from Coupland himself. Is this actually what he thinks? Is this type of thing running through his head all the time? These are not the kind of things I want to associate with Coupland, who I (used to) see as a very creative individual.
Who would like this book? I’m not quite sure. I’d be very hesitant to recommend this book to anyone. It is offensive most of the time. However, I did enjoy parts of it. As a fan of certain reality TV shows and travel, I could relate to some of what he was saying. But take as a whole, I would guess that the book would offend most people and maybe that’s the point? Bottom line: if you want to read Coupland go for Generation X, Microserfs or Player One or some of his non fiction. I’d give this one a pass.