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Jennifer Government Paperback – Jan 6 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Jan. 6 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400030927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400030927
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.8 out of 5 stars
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By J. Tupone TOP 500 REVIEWER on Dec 2 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jennifer Government is a fictional novel set in a world where free markets have been taken to the extreme & the only rule is: make as much profit as possible. Barry establishes a number of clever & entertaining characters - such as Jennifer Government, the title character, who is a government agent set on bringing wrong-doers to justice, John Nike the egomaniac hell-bent on being number one at any costs & a number of characters who have become disillusioned with the world they live in & their role in it, such as: Buy Mitsui, Hack Nike & Claire Sears. There is even a woman pushing the boundaries of reason named Violet with no last name since she's unemployed. And there's even a Texas hick who finds himself temporarily out of a job before he becomes the unwilling pawn in a international conspiracy to reap chaos; an "innocent" guy in the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time.

Jennifer Government is a highly entertaining novel that pokes fun at the idea that free markets will solve all of our problems. It's highly absurd in most respects, but it's satire & is supposed to be absurd, funny & push the boundaries of what is reason: it's fiction, not fact.

Being a strong proponent of free markets & liberalization myself, I found a lot of humour in this book. It's a fun tale that takes a look at what happens when we let extremists make the rules without any checks & balances. The book is an incredibly fast read despite being a little over 300 pages. I'm a slow reader who often finds myself having to take frequent breaks & can only read or a period of an hour a day. This book was difficult to put down due to it being so entertaining & easy to read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "edanyluk" on Nov. 13 2003
Format: Hardcover
Max Berry must be an idea man because this book certainly begins with a great idea. In fact, the best part of the book was the blurb that I read in the New York Times article listing this as a recommended summer read.
Perhaps Berry wants the readers to realize that it is possible to be more than the ads-on-the-moon style society we seem to be slouching toward. However, such wisdom isn't imparted with weak characters, predictable plot development, and boring dialogue. Another reviewer hit the nail on the head when he/she noted that for all that this is a disappointing book, it will be a great movie.
If you still must read it, do some good and support your local library. Sales of this book will only encourage more mediocrity.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith Whitener on April 4 2004
Format: Paperback
The premise for this book is that in the future business is the most important thing. A person has a first name and their last name is the name of the company they're working for. The NRA is like an army, the government's investigations are privately funded by citizens, and a guy that works for Nike decides that if some customers are killed sales will go up. To me, that seemed enticing. So, I got the book and read 320 pages of someone ruining a good premise. It's almost as though Max Barry came up with this idea just so he can mess it up.

This story is very convoluted. Each chapter is from the third person point of view of a different character. There's John Nike, whose idea it was to kill the customers, Jennifer Government, whose job it is to arrest him, Violet, a tertiary character that's there just to make the book longer, and many other people. There's too much fluff in this book. There are superfluous characters and sub-plots, but the author has a lucid style that makes reading quick. But quick reading doesn't make up for poor content. Some people might read this book just to see how the premise is butchered, but it's not worth it.
Here's a one-word synopsis of the book: bad. ... run away and don't look back because the physical manifestation of this book isn't attractive to the eye.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George G. Kiefer on Feb. 26 2004
Format: Paperback
Anyone comparing this to "Catch 22" should have read both books. Inventive as it is, it remains a one-gag comedy. That George Clooney has optioned it is telling. Will Jennifer stop him before he thrills again?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "mr_reader_x" on Aug. 11 2003
Format: Hardcover
Great idea and quite special. I'll give him that. However, I stopped 2/3 into the book. Characters are mostly shallow and the plot has little to no depth. I kept asking myself why I keep reading this (when I could read a better book). I concluded that this book can't even have a decent ending. Yes, I understand that the depth of the characters serves a purpose (although painting everyone in the world as stupid and shallow as Max Barry did is probably over doing it) - but a little more color, background information could go a long way.... hey.. maybe I would have finished the book? Or do you need to be 20 something to really enjoy this?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 17 2003
Format: Hardcover
This certainly is a cutely updated Orwell, and the ideas are occasionally interesting. For that reason I gave it a star. That was it. The slick marketing and online game, the movie option, and all the hype cannot take away from the fact that the author is a semi-talented amateur. Like a bad puppeteer, you can see the strings here. There is such <effort> in writing that should flow effortlessly, should sing and sparkle with smartass humor but plods in so many places as to turn the mindless, fun read that was promised into way more work than it is worth.
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