Eric's Reviews > 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

2030 by Albert Brooks
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's review
Nov 01, 11

bookshelves: science-fiction, dystopian, humor, book-club
Recommended to Eric by: Nikki Romano
Recommended for: I couldn't in good conscience recommend anyone else read this
Read from October 29 to 31, 2011, read count: Once

There are some interesting ideas about where we are going as a society and what technological advances we will see in the next two decades, but they are lost amid uninspired prose and shallow character development, along with some of the least plausible scientific/economic/political ideas I have ever encountered.

To be specific (some vague spoilers below):

- By following so many characters with opposing goals -- many of them unnecessarily -- it was hard to become invested in, or root for any of them, especially considering how unlikable, one-dimensional, and shallow they all were.

- Brooks' pseudo-explanation of how the cure for cancer worked (amino acids!) made my eyes roll. He wouldn't have lost anything by glossing over the cure without any explanation at all.

- It wasn't made clear enough how the "olds" were draining society to such a degree. Who was subsidizing them to live so lavishly? It seems like their only burden to the government was health care and social security, not programs to make or keep them rich at the expense of the younger generations. And if they were rich, their spending would have been good for the younger generation -- who would have been the recipient of their disposable incomes -- and they would have drained themselves, so I just don't understand this key argument of the book.

- The idea that the U.S. would welcome China as a partner on American soil with open arms and no resistance was even harder to swallow than the generational tension, regardless of the magnitude of disaster. Even if L.A. was clamoring for China's assistance after the earthquake, there is no way the Bible Belt or the AARP would have went along with it. It would have been believable for it to happen, but not without any objections at all.

- I was really looking forward to the civil war that seemed to be building throughout the book between the olds and the younger generation, which I falsely assumed would be the climax of the book. It never happened. Instead, we get the anti-climactic cruise ship scene. The resentment issue never really gets addressed again, as everyone is too busy being enamored with the Chinese -- whose healthcare and logistical solutions would not do anything to solve the generational divide, and hence, shouldn't have tempered the younger generations' rage.

- This was supposed to be a comedy, and I didn't find the book to be funny at all, and the resolution for almost every single character was beyond tragic. Specifically, (view spoiler).
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