Like Brave New World and 1984, But Without All the Optimism.
Ken Wheaton's second novel (after The Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival) not only takes on the "nanny state," it takes it out behind the woodshed for a whuppin'. The characters are lively, and the writing itself flows smoothly, and--more importantly--is funny. But the real treasure here is the world he creates. It's dystopian, it's somber, but it's not so unfamiliar that we don't recognize our own world in its lineage. As someone who pays attention to current events, I relished finding every little allusion to them in this cautionary comedy. Like a photoshopped photograph imagining our older selves, Wheaton shows us the over-regulated, over-protective world that Wes lives in, our world, where the nanny state mentality has continued ad absurdum. And like the photograph, we laugh at its ridiculousness, but somewhere, in the far corners of our mind, we also despair of its possible truth.
Great dystopian novels always feature the noble struggle of the individual against the collective machine of society, whether it's R.P. McMurphy, John the Savage, Winston Smith, or Guy Montag. I put Wes Montgomery right up there with the rest of them, because I really, really like bacon.
Buy it. Read it. You won't be sorry.
Seriously, buy it. If you have a Kindle or Nook or even a Kindle app on your smartphone, you can get it for only 99 cents!! Think about it--you can't even get a blank book for that much. And this one has words in it! Plus, just like The Hunger Games, the Harry Potter series, and Game of Thrones, when they make this bad boy into a movie, all the people that read the novels first can be all judgmental and pretentious. Who doesn't want to be a part of that?