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Jennifer Government Paperback – 5 Feb 2004

54 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (5 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349117624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349117621
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.3 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A total blast ... funny and clever (NEW YORK TIMES)

Frightening and funny ... a riotous satirical rant (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY)

Wicked and wonderful (THE WASHINGTON POST)

The most fun you'll find in a book store this year (TIME OUT, NEW YORK)

Book Description

Described by Naomi Klein as 'Brilliant and hilarious', JENNIFER GOVERNMENT is a wickedly funny thriller for the NO LOGO generation.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Bjørn Perlsø on 30 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this book some years back, perhaps because I was at the time of a political outlook not far from what was portrayed in the book.

The backdrop and plot should be known to the readers, but for good measure I will provide a short rehash: the new US (aka The Federated Bloc), *everything* is privatized. The state barely exists and has no noticeable presence or function in the everyday life of the public. Corporations are by far the most visible element in daily life, and some run the functions which government once provided (police, military, courts). People take their surname from their employer. And so on.

A Nike shoes employee, Hack Nike, is tasked to increase the demand for a new brand of Nike shoes (with an extreme sales price and an equally extreme(-ly low) production cost), by having ten teenagers shot when the first store carrying the product opens. He passes the job on (outsourcing) to the Police, which then outsources to the NRA, and from there on, it all goes wrong: The product launch turns into more of a bloodbath than Hack intended, and a mother of one of the victims of the campaign hires a government agent to investigate.

The satirical oppertunity of the book is immense considering its setting in a world where privatization is taken to an extreme; in other words it would be candy for both those pro and anti of the portrayed world.

Unfortunately it doesn't last; you can only go on for so long about describing a radically different political-economic reality without taking an overt point for or against it; the author, wisely so, abstains from this as that would have turned the book into a rant, instead he goes down the humorous road, spiked with satire.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Semioticghost on 4 May 2005
Format: Paperback
Set in a world ruled by corporations more than the increasingly powerless government, everybody takes on the name of the organisation they serve. Jennifer Goverment, the eponymous heroine, valiantly struggles to do The Right Thing while working to exact a spot of revenge on her ex, John Nike.
The National Rifle Association and the Police provide the firepower for a no-holds-barred competition between the only two Customer Loyalty Programmes left in existence after cross-industry mergers and things get ugly. Corporate politics, a real killer marketing campaign for the latest pair of trainers and some hapless idiots add light relief to the plot which bravely embraces the ridiculous along with the scarily plausible.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Harrnacker on 5 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Barry's tale is a brave work of fiction, examining a world where the corporations are more powerful than the government or the family, and where if you have enough power and influence you can get away with murder.
It's a quick read and easy to digest, but it gives a lot to think about. Is this really a direction the world is turning in, where children go to McDonalds schools and employees change their names as they move between corporations?
The plot is simple but follows a number of different characters as they find their lives woven together through the book. Definitely worth a read, and bound to become a very talked about book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andy Millward VINE VOICE on 15 April 2005
Format: Paperback
Jennifer Government is a satirical romp somewhere midway between a zany critique on globalisation and a Whitehall farce with shades of Candide thrown in for good measure.
As John Nike rightly notes, it is also the antithesis of 1984, at least until the government gets its revenge on the wayward Mr. Nike. Capitalism and consumerism have assumed complete control, to the extent that that membership of loyalty schemes spells success, and to continue growth means obliterating the opposition. As the battle lines of competition are drawn, the key corporate marketing liaisons of the top companies are like first world war generals. In this context, John Nike initially gets ahead by being more crazy and delusional. Given the power of NRA armies, he exploits the world like a dictator before the forces of reason - on his own side - catch up, but only because they believe his strategy is not good business.
The inventiveness here is once in a generation - truly inspired. And the satire would lack any bite had he not used real global corporates and brands to illustrate his point - his message is entirely credible.
Like Tom Sharpe, Joseph Heller and other great satirists before him, Barry has created a bunch of eccentric characters worthy of Dr Strangelove, whom he bounces off one another at breakneck speed and tortures with gay abandon to illustrate the madness of marketing. And John Nike is truly the anti-hero of his era. If ever this book is filmed, I can just picture John Lithgow playing Nike in a state of semi-deranged fervour! So why name the book Jennifer Government? She represents the ultimate salvation from destruction, perhaps in a nod to the classic morality tales named after the heroine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
The Plot: In the near future US corporations will dominate the globe and our daily lives to such an extent that people will take on the name of the company they work for as their surname. In this US-dominated world there will be no taxation and no rules for those who can afford to break them. Enter Hack Nike, a Nike employee who has been assigned the task of murdering several teenagers to help advertise the new Nike running shoes....

The Good: This is a novel simply bursting with good ideas. The vision of a corporate-domnianted world is at once bizarre and believeable. The structure of society in the world of the novel is grimly familiar too, with contemporary efforts by the likes of McDonalds and Pepsi to insinuate themselves into every facet of our lives taken to their horrible, illogical conclusion. The central debate in the novel between the forces of naked self-interest and a more egalitarian view of the world make the book at least a cut above the usual airport thriller fare. The plot is amusing and engaging with a number of entertaining twists and turns and it is nothing if not action-packed. 'Jennifer Government' is an amazingly cinematic piece of writing, and I defy anyone to read it without visualising it on the big screen. Humour and satire permeate the story and take the edge off some of the darker and more gruesome elements.

The Bad: Despite the good ideas, humour and fast pace, 'Jennifer Government' is badly written. The dialogue is appalingly bad and the prose is wooden throughout. The characters never rise above being one dimensional cartoons, with the villain 'John Nike' being particularly poor. While it is a satire on the excesses of global capitalism, the characterisation of John Nike as the very incarnation of evil just stretches credulity to breaking point.
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