Michelle 's Reviews > American Weather

American Weather by Charles McLeod
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's review
Oct 21, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction

This is one of the more interesting books that I’ve read this year but the jury is still out on whether or not I’m in favour of the ending. Jim Haskins, a 40-something successful, wealthy businessman has a finger in every pie going. Literally. Not only does he run what appears to be the most successful advertising firm in the United States – American Weather, known as AmWe in the book – but he also funds, plans and executes (in more ways than one) the American Dream. An orphan, Jim and his childhood friends embark on commercial ventures that bring great fortune to themselves personally and equally catastrophic fates to those in their way. Notably, the plot is set in 2008 against the background of the presidential election and involves a ruthless attempt at ‘change’ in Jim Haskin’s own world and his attempt to realise his biggest financial venture yet.

The book begins very much in the style of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, and for this I found it lacking in originality initially. However, the inclusion of letters from the central characters son to his father make the story much more accessible than Patrick Bateman’s narration in American Psycho, where one is left unsure as to whether or not the events taking place are real or figments of Bateman’s imagination. There are moments throughout where the protagonist reveals layers to his thought processes that are as frightening as they are believable and thus, make this book very memorable. Acknowledging his own nonchalance and ruthlessness, Jim Haskins becomes a character that the reader will either have tremendous hatred or overwhelming sympathy for by the end, depending on the interpretations of his last venture in the book. In this reviewer’s opinion he is ultimately to be pitied, as his existence personifies the greed and corruption of modern, corporate America.

I’d advise people to read this before Hollywood gets its hands on it, as large sections of it sound like it was written with the specific intent of making producers chomp at the bit for rights to the work. It is well worth reading, but the ending was slightly deflating and after a few days of digesting the whole story, it ended on a lazy note that is not to my liking. If you like well-written American fiction that keeps you turning the page, this is for you. If you have no interest in the realities of corporate, commercial advertising and the effect it has on the rest of the world, this is also for you but a warning, you may not like it.

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