Douglas Coupland has the ability to always write about the same thing, yet always end up with something different. As a writer, he is able to talk about life by coming at it sideways through larger-than-life characters in insane situations.
Coupland sets much of the story during the end of the world, but it's not about the end of the world so much as it's about the characters. His impressive voice allows you to immerse yourself and get to know each of the characters. They are all round, three dimensional people who undergo great changes, both prior to the world's end and after it. Coupland doesn't mind invoking the paranormal here, but that doesn't turn this into a paranormal romance. The characters at its core are ordinary. Their lives suck.
Girlfriend in a Coma starts off strange--then gets stranger, culminating in the end of the world. The moral of the story is clear: never stop questioning. Don't accept the world for the way it is. Challenge the status quo and seek to change it. This is a worthy message. As usual, Coupland communicates it in style.
On another level, the book is a character study of a man, his daughter, and his girlfriend. When Karen McNeil slips into a coma at seventeen, the doctors reveal that she's pregnant, and her boyfriend Richard decides to raise the baby. Karen wakes up seventeen years later--which means that she and her daughter are the same mental age. The family awkwardness that ensues is hilarious and heartbreaking