Jennifer Government by Max Barry

In this alter-reality novel, where “taxation has been abolished, the government has been privatized, and employees take the surname of the company they work for,” characters are colorful and interesting but (I thought) superficial. I enjoy these types of novels, where companies are the bad-guys, but there was something substantial missing from this novel: depth.

Jennifer Government’s relationship with her daughter is a dichotomy of “I’m here for you” and “I gotta go to the other side of the planet for work,” which she never seems to feel too remorseful about. The person she leaves in care of her daughter was someone she had only met twice. Business people make random decisions for seemingly no good reason. Side characters pop in and out of the story with no inner-development to explain their actions.

Jennifer is literally obsessed with catching a man named John Nike. You know they must have history together for her to break official rules/orders, leave her daughter and recruit/blackmail people into helping her. Once you find out what the reason is in the end, though, it just doesn’t seem convincing enough.

This was a nice, light read for 320 pages but I would have liked this book more if it was heartier: more information, more background, etc.

If you want to read another book along the same plotline, where advertising to the public and sales are number one, try The Savage Girl by Alex Shakar. I enjoyed that book more than this.

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