I'm going to file this one alongside 'The Kite Runner' and 'The Line of Beauty'. It's just unusual enough to satisfy the literary establishment that it's OK to like it, but also pulpy enough in its plot and prose to make it accessible to the rest of us.So VGL, like those two mentioned above and, no doubt, plenty of others, hit the jackpot: a bestseller that also won prizes.But also like the other two, once the dust has settled, it's possible to get a clearer view of the real merits of the work and seriously, this is Steinbeck-lite. Poor old Vernon is such a hapless, helpless fellow that it's really hard to feel he deserves a whole book. The cast of characters are amusing enough, but they don't add up to a real situation. And once the cultural psyche moves past High School shootings, it's going to become no more than a curiosity.