Title: Jennifer Government
Author: Max Barry
Genre: General fiction
One-sentence summary: A near-future dystopia in which the world has separated into US-affiliated territories and non-US-affiliated territories, capitalizm is the supreme governing force, tax has been abolished, and actual government can't do a thing about crime, poverty or anything else without raising private funding to do it.
Why did you get this book? It was a Christmas present, but I Amazon wishlisted it because I'd seen it around in bookstores and it looked funny.
Do you like the cover? Definitely. The barcode on the girl's cheek is awesome, and it almost feels like a copout when you find out in the book that it's an individual person's tattoo and not something the government requires that everyone wear for easy identification. 'Course, once I read the book I figured out the government can't really require that people do much of anything.
Did you enjoy the book? Definitely. Great concept, interestingly executed. My only objection is that although it's funny, there were parts that left me much too horrified to laugh at the satire... though I suppose that's not really a complaint either, since it means the author had me involved.
Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? New to me, yes - I think it's his first book? As far as I know he hasn't written anything else.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? Keeping it. This'll be a reread at some point.
Anything else? This was one of those books that you're just delighted with for the first fifty pages or so because the concept is so fresh and the writing is good and the wit's razor-sharp. Then after fifty pages you start asking questions about this fresh new concept, and then after another fifty you figure out the writer isn't necessarily going to answer your questions. Then, if you're me, you turn to your girlfriend and start asking a bunch of questions about economics and the practical limits of capitalism, and you get sidetracked in a discussion of whether government is necessary to set interest rates if for no other reason, and you never do get a lot of your questions answered. But at the end of the book you're still chuckling over how capitalism is spelled "capitalizm" because spelling words with s's rather than z's isn't the American way; and you note to yourself that the author never explained that to the reader, just trusted you to get it, and how much you like that sort of thing, and overall, how much you liked the book. And... the end.
Scale of 1 to 10: 8/9
Number of pages: 336
Total pages for the year: 1409