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Jennifer Government Paperback – 5 Feb 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 58 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: 20 x 2.4 x 14.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
By page 20 of Jennifer Government, I was bitter with envy - why didn't I write this book with all these great ideas? He's the same age as me after all... From the central conceit that the USA has taken over (in a business rather than military sense) almost every other Western country, through the notion that people will be named after their employers in such a capitalizt (sic) future, to the idea of marketing trainers by shooting teens who wear them, to make them seem more desirable - Max Barry just has originality to burn. Even the rhythmically pleasing title had me drumming my heels in merriment.
By page 70 I was looking askance over my shoulder, blushing with embarrassment for the fellow. Full of all these ideas and he can't write for toffee! Goodness me, on a sentence by sentence level this book really is terrible. It started when I got the feeling Barry wanted us to feel emotional at the murder of a teenager, who up until then had been just a selfish spoiled idiot designed purely to make a satirical point. And as the book goes on, it becomes clearer that he does want us to take these characters to heart, even though they're pure cartoons. And the reviewer below who thinks it will make a great film clearly thinks like Barry - it quickly becomes pure Hollywood, with action sequences interspersed with 'character' 'development' and people saying things (I can hardly believe it) like "Goddamnit, Jennifer Government, there may be hope for you yet" with a straight face, and people narrowly escaping death by blazing gunfire then saying quietly to themselves, "Hot damn."
And this is a real shame. Rarely enough, a great conceit comes along and the creator has the intelligence and wit to take it to its logical (or illogical) conclusion - think Being John Malkovich.
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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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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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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim to pass some time while travelling and became instantly hooked. Set in a fictious future where major corporations (e.g. Nike, Microsoft) rule the US (which includes the UK and Australia) and where money can buy anything/everythin, the book introduces the reader to several characters (whose surnames are the companys they work for, e.g. John Nike, Jennifer Government) and gets you gripped with funny edge of your seat action.
I've given the book the full 5 out of 5 and recommend it too everyone, include those not really into futuristic, business or just general books - its a must read.
Before you read the book ask yourself "How far would a company go to sell that dream product?".
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