Thursday, October 18, 2012
Jennifer Government by Max Berry
Jennifer Government by Max Berry
Paperback: 321 pages
Publisher: Vintage (January 6, 2004)
Taxation has been abolished, the government has been privatized, and employees take the surname of the company they work for. It's a brave new corporate world, but you don't want to be caught without a platinum credit card--as lowly Merchandising Officer Hack Nike is about to find out. Trapped into building street cred for a new line of $2500 sneakers by shooting customers, Hack attracts the barcode-tattooed eye of the legendary Jennifer Government. A stressed-out single mom, corporate watchdog, and government agent who has to rustle up funding before she's allowed to fight crime, Jennifer Government is holding a closing down sale--and everything must go.
A wickedly satirical and outrageous thriller about globalization and marketing hype, Jennifer Government is the best novel in the world ever.
Let me tell you that I love this book. I have read it at least five times. I'm finally getting around to write a review for it. I must warn you now, this will be a long one. Let's go.
The characters in the book can be rather annoying. Most of them have a one track mind. This is actually a book that if you love it you love it for everything other than the characters. In the world of Jennifer Government. Capitalism rules. Everything has a price tag. Why I love this concept is because it as far fetched as one may think. In the book, everything is a sue able offense and let's face it, you can sue for just about any reason now and have a good chance at a payday.
With money being the most desirable item in Jennifer Government that mean having a job ranks as number 2. Everyone is born with a first name only. A person surname is the company they work for or the school they attend. If you do not have a surname then that means you are unemployed and thus looked down on. This part reminds me of slavery in America. Slaves last names were the name of their owner. If they were sold then the name changed to the new master. I don't know if this was intentional by Mr. Berry. I saw it as people being a slave to their jobs.
Hack Nike work as a Merchandising Officer. A position that is pretty low. He signs a contract (he was pressured into not reading it or keeping a copy) and learns that he is now obligated to kill 10 people. The killing is to hype up the new sneakers the company has coming out. Hack unable to do so outsource the job and things go downhill from there. Hack is not a likable character at all. He is a whip, a pushover. At the end of the book he becomes more assertive but really he's just turned into a guy with a chip on his shoulder.
John Nike is all about dollar signs. He doesn't see anything wrong with doing whatever is necessary to make money even if that means killing people. For most of the book, people admire him for this quality as it is having a positive effect on profits. However, John Nike soon learns that even he is only as good as the results he is able to obtain.
By the end of the book, a war between the two loyalty companies break out. And John Nike learns that he really isn't above the law. Jennifer Government is way too consumed with her job but the book doesn't make it seem as if she learned to value her time with her daughter any more than she did in the beginning of the book. In fact, there is no mention of whether or not the world of commerce changes in this book or not. So if you are looking for that they you'll than likely be unsatisfied.
This is perhaps the only book I have read so far where to concept of the story made me love the book because the characters did not. This definitely a book where you have to read it for yourself to see if you would like it or not. If you are the type of reader who want characters you can root for then bypass this.
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