Thought-provoking and original. Also kind of scary in these uncertain times - it made me think of how my family would fare in an economic crisis. This book is not perfect, but it certainly offers a new perspective on what could happen to our country.
Interesting that many of the objections listed below seem to be politically based. The book is not a political screed, it merely posits one possible scenario for America in the future. Lighten up, folks!
The future 2027 financial scenario that unfolds in this book is plausible: the collapse of the US economy due to its gigantic national debt leads to a lack of confidence in the US dollar by other countries and by its main debtor (China). But I don’t think the meek submission of US citizens to confiscation of their assets rings true. The story relies on societal apathy caused by prolonged liberal "nanny state" policies of entitlements that lead to a slow slide into lethargy and denial of reality, similar to the proverbial frog in a pot of water that is slowly heated to boiling. That said, the book certainly drives home the fragility of paper and electronic “wealth” on which our economies are based compared to hard assets like food, fuel, land, and even useful skills. There is humour in the book and it’s quite clever in imagining new words to reflect what’s happening in society 10 years hence like “boomerpoops" for the long-lived baby boomers sucking back Social Security and delaying inheritance to their frustrated descendants. Although the scenario painted is extreme and the characters are given to speechifying, the book makes you think about the world in a different light and is definitely worth a read. If you’re a knowledge worker you may want to brush up on your survival skills!
Interesting and thought provoking. At times a bit
preachy, but generally well written. ( Too bad some
some people didn't bother to finish it before posting
scathing reviews). It is definitely worth a look.
Very disappointing. Having really liked several of her books, "We Need to Talk about Kevin", "The Post Birthday World", "So Much For That", and more, this book was a real let down. The writing and story telling are reminiscent of her early work "Checker and the Derailleurs" which was not that good. Boring characters who have boring conversations. I read just over 100 pages of this newest work and moved onto something else. I hope her next book will be back to the style of "Big Brother" or "Game Control". both of these books made the reader confront some not very nice opinions and beliefs within ourselves that we are not too proud of but, damn, there they are!
I can't believe this book is getting so many recommendations - New York Times?! - without mentioning that it is a full on libertarian screed. Big bad government, xenophobia and the gold standard all wrapped up in a dystopian future. She tells a good tale, but it wasn't a good read because of all the proselytizing. (SPOILER ALERT) I have to admit the part about the wall being built by the Mexicans to keep Americans OUT was pretty funny. Thank god I didn't actually pay for this book - I love the SPL!
Creative, inventive, sometimes bitingly satirical, though the economic theorizing gets a little tiresome.
Well, at least it's well-written! Although the so-called economic theory which the author espouses gets a little tedious after its umpteenth iteration. Libertarians and deficit hawks should be happy, if they read this, that is.
Spoiler alert: Shriver can write, but this novel, while engaging, is a dyspeptic, right-wing rant. It took me a full 24 hours after completing the book to realize Shriver's 'utopia' - where her survivors end up - is a libertarian fantasy world. No regulation, no social safety net, no health care... and a flat tax! Wow, we can all live out our dreams, unfettered by the jackboot of government on our necks! And even better, no more 'affectations;, like eating disorders, ADHD, or gluten intolerance! The polemic overwhelms any attempt at a credible story, and the characters speak in lectures much of the time. One spoiled, privileged 17 year old swings from whining about not getting to go to college to prostitution without batting a false eyelash. and 2/3rds of the book passes - set in NYC, after societal collapse - before a handgun is mentioned. Right.
And far, far to the right is clearly where Shriver thinks salvation lies. Nice to see Ayn Rand-style delusional thinking is alive and well.
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