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Jennifer Government by Max Barry

Jennifer Government

by Max Barry

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2,495822,440 (3.6)78
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» See also 78 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
This book was excellent for what it is.

It is a novel of a "dystopian" future, almost a Communist Atlas Shrugged, where the government is so small people cannot tell which one of these guys is the US Government President.

In many ways this "dystopia" really is a libertarian paradise. Some things are a little unbelievable, like everyone having to take the last name not of their family, but of the corporation they work for, and IBM being the leader in home computers by out rewards pointing Apple, and evidentially the only religion that still exists in the LDS church, but all in all its a good laugh more than anything else.

In the end, however, it may be a sign that we should have listened to the Anarchists...

Highly recommended whether you agree with the socialist author, that capitalism will ruin the world if left to continue as it has, or you agree with me, that government will ruin the world if the market isn't allowed to work, or you happen to agree with most of the world that says we're screwed anyway. ( )
  fulner | May 26, 2015 |
I don't know if Max Berry thinks much about the Tea Party. I don't even know if he's aware the Tea Party exists. Barry, after all, is Australian. But the world he posits in "Jennifer Government" is one in which the Tea Party's dreams have come true. All taxes have been abolished. The government has shrunk to such a size that it could probably be (in Grover Norquist's famous phrase) "drowned in a bathtub." But in a complex society, something must rush into the power vacuum and establish order--and those things have been the multinational corporations. Indeed, war isn't waged between nations anymore, but between business alliances; and employed to provide the "muscle" is the National Rifle Association. Ordinary citizens have come to identify so with corporate identity that they have surrendered individual identity--their last names simply adopt that of the corporation they work for (e.g. "John Nike," "Hayley McDonald's").

Yet "Jennifer Government" is not written as a somber alternative "Brave New World." Instead, it is rollicking satire. It's a fun read. The plot careens, and I was always eager to turn the page to find out what twist was to happen next.

Still, I found myself wishing the book could be written better. I suppose that in such an obvious satire, a reader shouldn't expect the characters to be much more than caricatures, but they all seemed to be a bit too simple-minded for me. Much of the prose possessed a similar simple-mindedness. For instance, what is one to do with a sentence like this: "The sky drizzled light rain"? What other kind of rain could it drizzle?

Still, it was an entertaining read to fill a few evenings. ( )
1 vote kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
Smart - as I first thought about it I paid the most attention to our kick-ass heroine and thought of it as a big step up from such fare as the Aisling Grey, demon-hunter novels. The world it portrays is almost plausible, and scary enough to be distinctly *not* funny imo. Otoh, a reader does have to suspend disbelief over a few implausibilities, too. And indeed it was a little too intense, too graphic, for my taste. All in all, I recommend it and will seek out other works by this author. But I won't say it's a must read because it's smart in a clever way, and I rate smart in a wise way more highly. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
The characters life's are very cleverly interwoven. It's complicated, clever yet easy to follow. I am very impressed with the clear creativity Max Barry holds in his imagination. I can't wait to read another of his books. The story itself reminded me a little of the movie, "Idiocracy", it could very well be the story that fills the time frame between now and then. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Dude, I totally got the point after about ten pages. Talk about beating a dead horse. ( )
  lyrrael | May 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
a funny and clever novel by Max Barry that's set in the ''near future.''
added by mikeg2 | editNew York Times, Rob Walker (Feb 16, 2003)
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With money we will get men, Caesar said, and with men we will get money.
Thomas Jefferson, 1784
... a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.
Thomas Jefferson, 1801
For Charles Thiesen
Who really, really wanted me to call it "Capitalizm"
First words
Hack first heard about Jennifer Government at the watercooler.
Yes, some people died. But let's not pretend these are the first people to die in the interest of commerce. Let's not pretend there's a company in this room that hasn't put profit above human life at some point. We make cars we know some people will die in. We make medicine that carries a chance of a fatal reaction. We make guns. I mean, you want to expel someone here for murder, let's start with the Philip Morris Liaison. We have all, at some point, put a price tag on a human life and decided we can afford it.
Look, I am not designing next year's ad campaign here, I'm getting rid of the Government, the greatest impediment to business in history. You don't do that without a downside. Yes, some people die. But look at the gain! Run a cost-benefit analysis! Maybe some of you have forgotten what companies really do. So let me remind you: they make as much money as possible. If they don't, investors go elsewhere. It's that simple. We're all cogs in wealth-creation machines. That's all.
I've given you a world without Government interference. There is now no advertising campaign, no intercompany deal, no promotion, no action you can't take. You want to pay kids to get the swoosh tattooed on their foreheads? Whose going to stop you?....You want the NRA to help you eliminate your competition? Then do it. Just do it.
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We're pawns; branding and
money-making reign supreme.
The future? Or now?

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0349117624, Paperback)

In the horrifying, satirical near future of Max Barry's Jennifer Government, American corporations literally rule the world. Everyone takes his employer's name as his last name; once-autonomous nations as far-flung as Australia belong to the USA; and the National Rifle Association is not just a worldwide corporation, it's a hot, publicly traded stock. Hack Nike, a hapless employee seeking advancement, signs a multipage contract and then reads it. He discovers he's agreed to assassinate kids purchasing Nike's new line of athletic shoes, a stealth marketing maneuver designed to increase sales. And the dreaded government agent Jennifer Government is after him.

Like Steve Aylett, Alexander Besher, Douglas Coupland, Paul Di Filippo, Jim Munroe, Jeff Noon, and Chuck Palahniuk, Max Barry is an author of smartass, punky satire for the late capitalist era. It's a hip and happening field; before publication, Jennifer Government (Barry's second novel) was optioned by Stephen Soderbergh and George Clooney's Section 8 Films for a major motion picture. However, the level of literary accomplishment varies wildly among practitioners, from brilliant (Di Filippo and Palahniuk) to amateurish (Besher). This field is so hot, its writers needn't be nearly as accomplished as they'd have to become to break into any other form of fiction.

That said, like many of his fellow turn-of-the-millennium satirists, Barry is uneven. He has a lively imagination and a sharp eye for the absurdities and offenses of hypercorporate capitalism. But, with its sketchy characters and slow dialogue, Jennifer Government will disappoint anyone who believes the cover copy's grandiose claim that this is "a Catch-22 for the New World Order." --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In BarryUs twisted, hilarious vision of the near future, the world is run by giant American corporations and employees take the last name of the companies they work for. Hot on the trail of John Nike, an executive from the land of Marketing, is agent Jennifer Goverment, the consumer watchdog from hell.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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