When Hack Nike signs his new employment contract without reading it, he unwittingly agrees to assassinate teenagers who buy the newest Nike shoe – in a ruthless stealth marketing campaign that catches the attention of law enforcement agent Jennifer Government. Hack & Jennifer live in a satirical near-future world where corporations have run wild, everyone takes the surname of their employer, the world is divided into US and non-US countries and the NRA is a hotly traded stock. God help us.
I originally picked up a copy of Jennifer Government after hearing it described as an interesting dystopian novel with a good environmental message. While I don’t think either of those is false, that isn’t how I would describe it. This is satire, through and through. In one page I frequently went from laughing at the irony of the invented situations to grimacing in horror at the choices made by the characters.
The action was fast and so over-the-top it was almost believable. The novels only downside was part of what I loved about it: dangerously close to cliché with one-dimensional prototype characters, Barry was one mis-step away from losing me through the entire storyline. But he did not mis-step, and had me hooked.
Described as “brilliant and hilarious” by Naomi Klein, and as “is the best novel in the world ever” on its own back cover, Jennifer Government delivers outrageous reading fun, and is sure to provoke some serious thinking.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Jan 6 2004)