ACCORDING TO POPULAR legend, during the 1999 massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School, the two teen assassins paused to demand of Cassie Bernall, a student of known Christian faith, if she believed in God. When she answered in the aftirmative, they shot her in the head, killing her instantly. If Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had hoved to obliterate their classmates bv their horrendous actions on that April morning, this was a strategic mistake - Bernall has since become a poster child for American innocence. Within a week of her death an evangelical organisation named Teen Mania held a rally in her honour that was attended by 73,000 mourning teens. There are dozens of websites honouring her martyrdom, the Cassie Bernall Foundation rakes in serious bucks. and her mother, Misty, has written a best-selling book about her, entitled She Said Yes.
Douglas Coupland, the slacker generation's reluctant bard since his 1991 debut Generation X, tackles her legend in his eighth work of fiction. Although his story opens in Vancouver in 1988, there is an undeniable whiff of Columbine in the air as three disaffected students at Delbrook Senior Secondary start shooting