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Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley

Thank You for Smoking (original 1994; edition 1994)

by Christopher Buckley

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1,590354,582 (3.85)42
Title:Thank You for Smoking
Authors:Christopher Buckley
Info:Random House (1994), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Thank You for Smoking: A Novel by Christopher Buckley (Author) (1994)


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This is a great book for the age of Alternate Facts. Watching the protagonist defend the tobacco industry illustrates the techniques by Kellyann Conway and other Trump defenders ( )
  M_Clark | Mar 13, 2017 |
Nineties children beware, Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley is set in a time before D.A.R.E. anti-smoking campaigns, a time when tobacco ads bombarded TV sets and people could smoke wherever they damn pleased. The novel trails the life and career of protagonist Nick Naylor, a sleazy tobacco spokesman in the early 1990s. Rife with irony, dark humor, and exaggeration, this political satire bitingly criticizes the tobacco industry at the height of its fall. While the sarcastic tone and blatant mockery of nicotine peddlers occasionally amuses, there were many elements that felt lacking.

Buckley’s writing style is too clinical and concise to fully engage the reader. For a novel about a man who works in an advertising agency, you would think that Naylor’s thoughts and observations would be more captivating. The less descriptive the writing, the less understandable the satire becomes. Moreover, there is a point where a lack of comprehension results in the absence of comedy. In these moments, I found myself staring at the pages in frustration instead of laughing at the dark humor.

The main purpose of a satire is to expose evil or stupidity, sometimes both, in a humorous manner. As a protagonist, Nick Naylor commits many atrocities that every now and then do elicit laughter. He and his cohorts are obviously depraved and manipulative executives with a monetary agenda. I find no fault in creating a group of nasty characters, but there should at least be someone the reader can root for. Buckley may have been a little too successful at making the reader despise everyone. Too much wickedness does get exhausting after awhile.

Near the middle of the novel, the plot mutates rather abruptly into a thriller. While thrillers are meant to keep you on the edge of the seat (whodunit?), this one produces yawns. Yet again, we run into the problem of not liking or relating to any of the characters, let alone the protagonist. When there is no element of concern for the well-being of a character, everything falls flat.

Christopher Buckley beats you over the head with the depravity of smoking, the tobacco industry, and media theatrics, in Thank You for Smoking. What should have been a hilarious read reaffirming my decision to not smoke, left me surprisingly apathetic. I’m almost upset that I didn’t get more out of this one. Sorry all, this one’s a dud. ( )
  Codonnelly | Feb 13, 2017 |
Funnk Bk @ Tobacco Lobbyist — + his ___ — Merchants of Death Friends.
Tob, Alcohol, guns — every line funny!

Nick Naylor likes his job. In the neo-puritanical nineties, it's a challenge to defend the rights of smokers and a privilege to promote their liberty. Sure, it hurts a littIe when you're compared to Nazi war criminals, but Nick says he's just doing what it takes to pay the mortgage and put his son through Washington's elite private school St. Euthanasius. He can handle the pressure from the antismoking zealots, but he is less certain about his new boss, BR, who questions whether Nick is worth $150,000 a year to fight a losing war. Under pressure to produce results, Nick goes on a PR offensive. But his heightened notoriety makes him a target for someone who wants to prove just how hazardous smoking can be. If Nick isn't careful, he's going to be stubbed out.
  christinejoseph | Jan 1, 2017 |
Watch the film instead. ( )
  ars-poetica | Sep 9, 2016 |
This is a great satirical look at the tobacco industry. The humor is sly and subtle which is the best kind of satire. I needed some humor and this book provided a light touch, with great characters and a controversial topic to boot. I didn't see the movie so I had no pre-conceived notions heading into the story.

Nick Naylor is on the chopping block. He needs to come up with the next brilliant idea to get cigarettes back into the hands and lungs of the public. He has a shady boss who emerged from the world of vending machines and would like nothing better to rid himself of Nick.

Nick conferences with his social group, the Merchants of Death or MOD Squad as they call themselves. The other two in the squad are the reps for the firearms industry and the alcohol industry. He does an end around on his boss and goes directly to the head man in the tobacco industry, a man known as The Captain. He falls in love with Nick and his ideas and Nick is off to the races.

However, a lot of people want Nick gone. There is the Tumbleweed Man – long representing the rugged smoker and now suing the industry that made him famous as he dies of lung cancer; Nick's overheated co-worker and lover of his boss, Jeanette; his boss BR; and a host of unnamed individuals who call in to the talk shows on which Nick appears to threaten his life.

Nick survives a close call and from that point on, a cat and mouse game erupts as Nick tries to figure out who tried to kill him and the FBI tries to pin it on Nick, suspecting that it was all a publicity stunt.

This is a great little read. Satirical, topical and with some really great writing. I enjoyed it and will keep my eyes peeled for more by this author. ( )
  ozzieslim | Jul 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
How often have you heard about flacks from the tobacco industry smoothly insisting that there's still no proven connection between smoking and disease, and asked yourself in outrage, "How can they live with themselves?" Well, Christopher Buckley supplies some answers in his savagely funny new satirical farce, "Thank You for Smoking," a novel so timely that you have to wonder if Mr. Buckley has been orchestrating recent events in tobacco-land, among them a full-page ad in The New York Times on Tuesday that was sponsored by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and called for "an informed debate" instead of a ban on smoking.

Mr. Buckley's fictional protagonist is Nick Naylor, chief spokesman for the Washington-based Academy of Tobacco Studies. He lives blithely enough with the knowledge that he works for an industry that kills 1,200 human beings a day: "More than 400,000 a year! And approaching the half-million mark."

But, as he says to one audience of "health professionals," "It's always been my closely held belief that with an issue as complex as ours, what we need is not more talking about each other, but more talking to each other." After all, the right to smoke is an issue of freedom, and "if we go tampering with the bedrock principles that our Founding Fathers laid down, many of whom, you'll recall, were themselves tobacco farmers, just for the sake of indulging a lot of frankly unscientific speculation, then we're placing at risk not only our own freedoms, but those of our children, and our children's children." . . .
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Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, but until now no one had actually compared him to Satan.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812976525, Paperback)

"Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. But until now no one had actually compared him to Satan." They might as well have, though. "Gucci Goebbels," "yuppie Mephistopheles," and "death merchant" are just a few endearments Naylor has earned himself as the tobacco lobby's premier spin doctor. The hero of Thank You for Smoking does of course have his fans. His arguments against the neo-puritanical antismoking trends of the '90s have made him a repeat guest on Larry King, and the granddaddy of Winston-Salem wants him to be the anointed heir. Still, his newfound notoriety has unleashed a deluge of death threats.

Christopher Buckley's satirical gift shines in this hilarious look at the ironies of "personal freedom" and the unbearable smugness of political correctness. Bracing in its cynicism, Thank You for Smoking is a delightful meander off the beaten path of mainstream American ethics. And despite his hypertension-inducing, slander-splattered, morally bankrupt behavior--which leads one Larry King listener to describe him as "lower than whale crap"--you'll find yourself rooting for smoking's mass enabler. --Rebekah Warren

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:42 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Nick Naylor, chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, undertakes a media blitz to defend the rights of smokers, a job that has unexpected repercussions when he is targeted by someone out to prove just how hazardous smoking can be.

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