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2.9 out of 5 stars
Worst. Person. Ever.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2014
There was a time when I would be eagerly awaiting the release of a Coupland novel, so strong where his fist books. Of the first 11 novels ( up to The Gum Thief) I absolutely loved 8, 1 was good and 2 okay, a pretty impressive record by any writers standard. What has happened? Maybe too much attention paid to other non novel projects has drained the creative juice but Generation A was a serious let down that appeared rushed and came across almost like a parody of his own work and now his latest, Worst. Person. Ever. is an even bigger let down!

It's such a shame because throughout I can see that this could and should have been brilliant. Familiar themes appear, the banality of modern life, a lack of spiritualism, greed and consumerism all subjects of major concern for society. Through the main character, a vile, foul mouthed creature with hardly any saving grace, some genuinely funny scenarios occur although there are not enough of them and I would have thought reality shows would have been an easy target for Coupland to vent away. It is a lost opportunity and by anyone's standards this book is just not worth the effort. |This book is so lacking that it has been the strongest blow to date in tarnishing his track record, I would have preferred that it had not been written. The majority of his work has been so good that I'm sure I will not be able to resist investigating further releases, however the last couple of novels have been simply poor and my appetite for his work has been severely diminished. After all, how many chances can we give you Douglas?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2014
I have been a Douglas Coupland fan since my teens and some of his books are so beautifully written. Lately they have lost a lot of his style but this is unbelievably bad. I had to double check that it was actually by him and was very very tempted to just quit reading it. It's as if he decided he should do a bad impersonation of an Irvine Welsh character. Rude, offensive and just plain stupid. It's as if he got pissed off with his publishers and decided to throw a bunch of bizarre and stupid events onto the page. I'm afraid this will be the last Coupland book I'll ever buy. Sad.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2013
I love Douglas Coupland's older books but have been sorely disappointed by his recent publications.
This is closer to the humour and observation of his older books with plenty of ridiculous, but it still feels like he's fallen out of love with the world.
The language was so strong that I almost gave up about a chapter in, but after reading another (miserable) book, came back and finished.
Not great, not terrible. Which is better than the last few books (and no re-use of Jeopardy! categories!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
English writers really have pretty much cornered the market on writing funny books about outrageously bad Englishmen. You can't swing a dead cat anywhere in the literary world - India, Africa, Hollywood or the groves of academe - without striking an appalling, obnoxious, profane, heavy-drinking, lecherous Englishman behaving badly. I blame Kingsley Amis. His One Fat Englishman (New York Review Books Classics), a philandering, drunken, bigoted, caustic fraud named Roger Micheldene, set the bar for every bad Englishman to follow. (Interesting. Amis's book came out in 1963, after his four very successful books featuring heroes who satirically skewered cultural hypocrisy. "One Fat Englishman" was dismissed by critics as a baffling disappointment. Sounds familiar.)

And this book is yet another entrant in the bad Englishman sweepstakes, and follows the Amis formula so closely that it almost seems unlikely to be a coincidence. (Coupland counts as an English novelist because he is actually based in Vancouver, and that just means the sun never sets on the empire of English novelists.) Here, for variety, we have moved the Bad Englishman around the world so he can misbehave in an exotic locale. Drink, women, gambling, profligacy, vulgarity and all of the other sins to which flesh is heir remain on full display

Critics have faulted this book for not having a point, (or a plot, or a single appealing character). I think funny, deadpan excess, recounted through an exhausted alcoholic haze, more or less is the point. Behaving badly and maintaining a running profane, mean, arrogant, and riotously lurid commentary is the point.

To be fair, I agree with all of the reviewers, from five star ravers to disappointed head shakers. This book seems to be exactly what Coupland wanted it to be, and it has elicited the same range of opinions and reactions as the Amis book. Maybe it represents some sort of novelist rite of passage.

In any event the book is what it is - a showy, energetic, brutally funny exercise in excess and despicable behavior. And I mean the hero; I still feel kindly toward the author. Don't start here if you've never read Coupland, but otherwise give it a whirl and see where you come out on the scale of reactions.

Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on 20 January 2014
Sometime in the near foreseeable future, TV camera Raymond - the Worst Person Ever - is sent by his ex-wife from London to Kiribati via LAX to join the crew of a Survivor like TV show. Various obstacles, including but not limited to, nuclear war impede his progress.

Cameraman Raymond needs to a job so appeals to his impish and vicious ex-wfie, Fiona, who sends him to Kiribati to film `Survival'. The contract allows him to take an assistant with him and he chooses Neal, a homeless man he encounters just after his meeting with Fiona. When he scrubbed up, Neal is not only an Olympian sex god, but a sage and philosopher, loved and shagged by all he surveys. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong for Ray while everything goes right for Neal. Ray is constantly clapped in irons (zap-strap handcuffs) by members of cabin staff, customs officers, homeland security and anyone else who has a pair. Following his limited success in reproducing the angry dance form Billy Eliot for homeland security forces on Wake Island, he and Neal are allowed to help kick off the nuclear war, ostensibly an attempt to clear the Pacific Trash Vortex. When they get to Kiribati, the whole cast of Survival has been killed in a plane crash and Fiona and her minions are in situ. Quirks of fate and linguistics mean that the Islanders hold Ray more or less responsible, in an anti-Messianic way, for not just the war, but all the troubles of the world. As the whole geopolitical infrastructure crumbles, the merry crew are left on Kiribati where they merrily set about the merry repopulation of of the too sullied world.

Coupland being Coupland WORST PERSON EVER seems to be deliberately courting headlines like Worst Coupland Ever or maybe even Worst Novel Ever. I am at something of a loss and find it hard to form an opinion. The book is dizzingly brilliant and hilarious at times and thoroughly awful at others. Ray is not the worst person ever, because everyone else in the book, in some way or another is worse. The work turns into a vanity fair of revolting freaks, cowards, liars and fools, which is somehow, not much fun.

Why is Coupland pretending to be English and attacking the USA? Why is the character Ray like an Adrian Edmondson creation? Why does this work exist at all? It is clever and amusing, but I didn't actually laugh until about page 100 and with 50 pages to go I had no desire to read any further. This is not the work of brilliant novelist doing his best work: this is tired, out-dated and unoriginal. It is simple a rehashing of stuff done infinitely better (and in substantially fewer pages) by Vonnegut in GALAPAGOS and CAT'S CRADLE
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on 3 March 2015
If you have never read Douglas Coupland before, please do not start with this...Without a doubt, to employ a euphemism, Coupland has been off the boil for the last few years/books now, I don't know if it's because he's been sidetracked by his art or something else but this...Oh dear Douglas...what were you thinking?...

How can someone normally so culturally sensitive and aware get it so wrong that you just come across like the stereotypical overbearing, ignorant North American who seems to base their entire impression on British people as class based?...The dialogue coming out of the English protagonist is nothing short of laughable and I lost count after double figures at the number of Americanisms that the vast majority of Englishmen of that age just wouldn't use. I will spare you some of the bizarre American lines and quotes that we are supposed to believe as English.

Like many others I thought I was reading the work of someone else at times but the strange thing is after sticking with it I actually began to enjoy this story and in spite of his excruciating attempt at English characterisation I would still recommend this book, only just and only after you've read everything else. I also enjoyed his Wikipedia-esque footnotes and I learned about the Burgess Shale so at least he still offers something positive and interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2014
Possibly not quite the worst book ever but must be in the running. Ridiculously far-fetched with each over-stretched coincidence seeming to be an excuse for an even more revolting stream of deeply disturbed and very unfunny filth. Please don't waste your money on this book - it just isn't worth it. If you're looking for something genuinely funny, try some of the early Tom Sharpe - the contrast shows just how bad this book is.
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on 19 December 2014
If this didn't have Douglas Coupland on the front then you would not think he had wrote it. As a huge fan of Douglas Coupland this books feels like he dictated a rough idea for a book to another author to write the book for him. Do not get me wrong though, this is a good read. The plot is about Raymond Gunt, a camera-man who is given an assignment by his ex-wife to work on a survivor style show in a far away tropical Island. Most of the book is about his eventful journey to this island and ends with him fleeing the island after being blamed for starting an international nuclear crisis. He is portrayed as an awful human being but it is hard to not feel sympathy for him as he staggers from one humiliation to the next.
Overall it is a good read but probably not going to be remembered as one of his best. Douglas Coupland seems to be moving away from novel writing to his first love of visual arts. If this book is his last then I feel it would be an insult to his many fans.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 October 2013
Oh Douglas. I wish the book I hurried to read would be the Best. Book. Ever. Well... why not. I love anti-heroes. And who is Raymond Gunt if not an anti-hero perfectly captured in out zeitgeist, also a B-camera man, most of the book trying to get to the location (remote island in the central tropical Pacific Ocean) to be a part of the production team, another part trying (unsuccessfully) to "get laid" (here's the novel where the main [anti]-hero is British, wrote by a Canadian who knows consumerist America and whose attempt to talk "British" is not that successful).

"Worst. Person. Ever" is directs scorn at the 21-century media business, the ridiculous survival (and other) reality shows, and of course, in typical Coupland fashion, obsession with consumerism. In this novel, there is another obsession, somewhat new for the Coupland fiction - obsession with sex.

First dozen of pages of the book I was excited and full of anticipation, then I was mildly bothered, then I decided to embrace it and go on a ride with Douglas and his wild and mean narrative, and then I became disappointed and annoyed. Is the book deeply satirical? Of course! But even so, how many "f**cks" and "c-words" do you need within a space of 300-odd pages to get your point across? Surely, less than a billion. The book is firm in its ambition to gross its reader out, offering a galore of chauvinism, homophobia and body excrement. It is all not that exciting and it is not easy to see the need for all of the above when there is already so much trash fiction and trashy TV. I guess the book achieved its purposes here - I was grossed out.

Of course, the "Worst. Person. Ever." the book is frequently very funny and I absolutely admired the character of Neal, the undercover sex-god living in a Samsung box before being taken on as a slave [strike that] personal assistant to Ray Gunt. Apart from that, the global warming (and the Pacific trash vortex - Google it!), atomic bombs (America's answer to problems), reality shows, cocaine-snorting TV executives, obesity and consumerism and mockery of the old: these are easy targets, and am I repeating myself or is Douglas Coupland recycling ideas one book to the next, for the past few years? There are a couple of Couplan's standard bombs of his own, which he starts to drop towards the end (dysfunctional family in all its glory, yet in comparison it does not come near to the ultimate dysfunctional family of the Drummonds form the All Families are Psychotic). I wanted to laugh more while I read it, but I didn't. Like some things you read, I think it will appear wittier and more amusing in hindsight. Already here, I am thinking of giving it 4 stars.

Reading amazing Girlfriend in a Coma and Eleanor Rigby, I felt like Douglas Coupland knew me and with each page I would fall more and more in love with his writing... But oh, Douglas...The book was announced on Twitter as "filthy, sweary and juvenile". It is. It also feels somehow out-of-date. Or maybe it's my taste in Coupland which is dated and stuck in loving his earlier novels. I refuse to evolve. And let the chips fall where they may.

I wonder, do these people exist? People like Ray Gunt, the W.P.E. Or is it just a what felt to me an experiment by (I hope) still magnificent Douglas Coupland.

Funniest. Novel. Of The Year! It is. Not.

P.S. If you have time on your hands, another thing to Google is the Burgess Shale.
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on 1 January 2015
I came here to warn readers about this appallingly unfunny book. Having read the other reviews, I see there's no need.

Instead, let me focus on the blurb. This book is not 'side-splitting', is not 'an outrageous comic riot' and will not have you 'laughing out loud on the bus to work'. Not by a mile. So where do they get these quotes? Well, 'side-splitting' is the publisher's expression, so that's easy. They're not trying to be truthful, just to sell a book. 'The 'laughing out loud' untruth is from the Irish Times, not a paper I know, or wish to hereafter.

'Comic riot' is from the Sunday Times, however - a paper whose literary credentials one expects to respect. They also call it 'tear-inducing' - (that would be from laughing, apparently). All I wish to say is this: what is going on when a terminally unfunny book is described as the funniest book in history?
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