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on September 18, 2016
Great ideas, could be longer though.
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on July 19, 2016
The premise of the novel is great; it definitely got my interest when I heard of it years ago, but I kept pushing it down my reading list. Maybe I've been tainted by YA, but I feel like it fell flat with its idea. I wanted revolution! Change! And instead I got an interesting and clever plot that started with plain characters in boring situations and ended in a perfect convergence of plots. Also, the writing reminded me of the Hitchhiker's Guide; not quite as witty, but still direct without reading off as simplistic.

I did read through this pretty quickly so some issues I have are mostly my fault. For example, the characters often left me wondering who they were. I'd start their viewpoint and would completely forget which plot their name is linked to but the author did a good job of reminding me without hitting me over the head with it. The characters themselves are also really well made. They are distinct from each other in not so subtle ways, making it easier to rely on their actions and words to distinguish them instead of their names.

It was great seeing how one small decision a boring office worker made spiralled into a huge debacle, combining all of our characters' efforts and weaving their stories so seamlessly. I wish I paid a bit more attention because I've already forgotten how some characters ended up (mostly minor ones, however), and I wish their stories had more closure, but the ending with John and Theo was perfect; that last line hit it so well. It left the issue hanging, making me wonder if one day someone else will try for my aforementioned hoped-for revolution, yet wrapped up this story about their government nicely.

I could've done without some super direct writing (there are quite a few scenes where someone cries, and usually it's the scene ending with "and NAME cried"), and the story might've done better with a different title (I believed Jennifer Government would be the one to bring down the disestablishment and the story in the end didn't feel like it had one main protagonist - let alone Jennifer), but it was a good read.
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on December 16, 2014
Such a good book! I loved it so much! A society you really don't wanna live in!

Do not read if you are a member of the tea party or work for Koch Industries :P
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on December 2, 2008
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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on June 4, 2007
Jennifer Government is a novel that takes place in the future, but still encompasses many of the social and political issues we face today. The privatized consumer-driven setting of the futuristic society provides an interesting, fast-paced, and suspenseful story. The wonders and horrors of a completely materialistic world are explored and revealed to the rim. The best part, though, are the characters' wit and personality. They represent the extremes of humanity. John Nike's ambition, Jennifer's vengeance, Hack's desire for respect, and Billy's simple urge to ski collide for a comedic and satiric plot. Even in a futuristic world these characters realistically portray the deep feelings, emotions, and shallowness of the challenges we each individually face.
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on August 10, 2004
Forget the overt, pretentious literary criticism of the previous reviews. Imagine a world in which George Dubya Bush, Wal Mart, and Nike actually win (not so hard, is it? You may already be living it.). Now, imagine trying to be a citizen within it. This is a very funny, serious book, from the initial premise (the insane globalisation that permeates everything, is accepted as normal, and everybody's last name is the company they work for), to the ribald, unbelievable, you wish you would do that if things were like that action that makes up the plot, this is a film waiting for a book deal. As it should be. Read it and laugh, and weep.
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on July 12, 2004
Okay. I really don't want to crap all over Max Barry here. But this book was lacking in a lot of areas that I know Max is capable of handling. The thing that got me most is how every time there is a phone conversation, Max still put the dialogue in. How many times can a guy read everybody answer the phone the same way? There wasn't as much cleverness in this one as there was in 'Syrup' either, which would have been cool.
I did like the idea behind this story; I thought it was very original and unique. Everything fits together nicely as far as plot goes, but normally with fiction, when a story has an over-elaborate plot, the characters tend to suffer. Which is what happened. Still, read it. But not while driving.
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on July 7, 2004
Barry's work is excellent. 'Jennifer Government' is an excellent novel in which William Gibson meets Dave Barry. A hilarious social satire about the corporate world, Barry's novel succeeds because he avoids the particular slang that permeates Gibson's work. Every phrase in the novel is clear and obvious,and the marketing euphemisms used will make you laugh out loud. And fittingly enough for a novel about marketing to a generation with incredibly short attention spans, 'Jennifer Government' is a quick and easy read that will leave you smiling all day.
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on June 22, 2004
I picked up this book based on the cover, title, and jacket. Not my usual way of choosing reading material, but all three were striking. I wasn't disappointed with my purchase. This was a joy to read, and is still resonating with me weeks later. Orwell meets Douglas Coupland is the best way to describe this text. This book is not going to save your soul, but it may put you off of wearing corporate logos for a while. Fun, witty, and well-written. Highly recommend.
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on June 15, 2004
I just finished Jennifer Government after finding out about it through It is a fun read if you like economics and political science, and really fast. I read the majority of it in one day. Darkly funny, or I guess funny in an ironic sense it creates loveable characters and ends wrapped up in a nice little package. I liked it. I would reccomend it for a quick summer read by the pool.
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