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Jennifer Government

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  13,638 ratings  ·  1,191 reviews
In Max Barry's twisted, hilarious and terrifying vision of the near future, the world is run by giant corporations and employees take the last names of the companies they work for. It's a globalised, ultra-capitalist free market paradise! Hack Nike is a lowly merchandising officer who's not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives fr ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published February 5th 2004 by Abacus (first published October 17th 2002)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,638 ratings  ·  1,191 reviews

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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
A marketopia populated by the rabid people, surnamed after the companies they work for. An inane world-for-profit. Tongue-in-the-cheek market worshipping leading to perception of capital and enterprise as the pinnacle of human achievement. And don't forget your constitutional rights, fraud included.
Add to that all the nice touches. The gun of sentimental value. The Nike hype. The John guy assaulting a gal and all the way threatening to sue her for damages! Wow! Consider me a Max Barry convert!

✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Jennifer Government maths:

This is one of my favourite books EVER and I don't give a fishing damn if:

① Some people say it's overhyped and overrated.

② Some people say it's predictable.

③ Some people say it's pure, badly written crap.

④ Some people say all the characters in the story are stupid, flat and unlikeable.

And I certainly don't give a fishing damn about the book snobs who compare this book to the supposed greatness of novels written by Huxley, Orwell, Stephenson and the like. The reverse
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A satire about neoliberalism leads to its ultimate goal that shows the immense flaws and unlogic of this fairy tale.

Imagine the opposite of a state dictatorship like communism or state communism with state-owned companies and directed market economy. Instead, companies own everything and the state belongs to them. One may ask, where there is a difference to our actual situation. Well, in this case, it is official and no farce is held all few years and called a democratic election.

In this gritt
Oct 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Can I get a Diet Stephenson, please?"
Recommended to Rob by:
Shelves: 2008, science-fiction
If asked to write the foreword to some 20th anniversary commemorative edition, I would say that Max Barry's Jennifer Government is like a bottle of Diet Neal Stephenson served with a twist of Christopher Moore (or perhaps a dash of Tom Robbins?) There is something uncannily similar between Snow Crash and Jennifer Government: in the comic book pacing; in the hyperbolic and impossible but chillingly familiar geo-political climate that he illustrates; in the characters that reek of auto-erotic ...more
Sep 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like JJ Abrams
In a word, Max Barry is overrated. He has no ear for dialogue and his characters are completely flat and forgettable. He has an annoying habit of making his female characters drop-dead gorgeous and going on at length about just how gorgeous they are. And exactly what they’re wearing. That being said, he’s got a good enough sense of pacing and enough satirical bite (though it never breaks the skin) to keep a person reading. I mean, there has to be some explanation for the fact that I read three o ...more
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
I gave this book 2 stars, because I thought it was a good ride, but honestly it's only good at all if you can get past the fact that all of the characters are completely one-dimensional, poorly thought out, do things that are totally unrealistic, and have little to no motivation to do anything but do things that are completely bizarre. Seriously, Hack, the main character if there is one, is like Tess of the D'Urbervilles. He practically sleepwalks his way through the book and then when he grows ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, satire, 2020-shelf
Back a few years after the turn of the century, the world was brand crazy. More than that, it was murderously brand crazy. Remember the debacle around Nike? Murders in gangland over shoes? Or how about the whole stink surrounding the marketing departments who not only capitalized but doubled down on the policies that made this?


Well, this novel truly capitalizes on THAT. :)

And Max Barry takes it all to its natural conclusion. Governments are gutted, corporations rule everything. Do you want
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
There is so much I want to say about this book. It is so jammed packed with interesting ideas and characters that there are a million places to start. Perhaps I’ll just get the crude and vulgar out of the way first.

The world of Jennifer Government reads like an Ayn Rand wet dream. Corporations have free reign in what is called the United States of America but actually comprises North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and the British isles (or, for you George Orwell fans out there, Ocean
This was really fucking good. Not quite five star read, but I'm giving it 5 anyway. Because.

Review might come. If I ever do the other 5000 I've been promising.
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Jennifer Government' by Max Berry is pure rock-'n'-roll satire turned up to ten. In the fictional world of the novel, American corporations run the world. But if you think that means we have the peace of pushing around grocery carts and walking around stores looking for the best sales and visiting strip malls on the way home to pick up a hot dog, think again. Corporations have always been murderously competitive. Think Jack in the Box vs. McDonald's. Think Nike vs. Adidas. Think of corporate ma ...more
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
In some ways, Max Barry's Jennifer Government is like the inverse of Orwell's 1984. It's set in the near future where things have gone loopy, but instead of an out of control, totalitarian government oppressing everyone, it's uncontrollable megacorporations and hypercapitalism (or, one could argue, hyperlibertarianism) that's ruining everyone's day. Unfortunately, Jennifer Government is unlike 1984 in that it's not particularly well written.

The hook, like I said, is that Barry has created a near
Jun 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010
Aw, this was kind of disappointing on the second read. I remembered it being really clever and fast-paced and fun, and it was fast-paced and a little bit clever, but also much cornier and flatter than I remembered. The characters were very one-dimensional, and the plot was fairly original but totally predictable. Honestly (and I feel like this is a terribly back-handed compliment), I think this would be a great action movie.
An enjoyable satire on the concept of unfettered capitalism.

This story delivers a lot of interesting ideas: America as a franchise, the NRA as a mercenary army, corporations ruling the world, government as a vestigial organ. Unfortunately, the reader tends to be so far ahead of the characters in understanding the mystery that it is hard to be patient with them and really empathize.

Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
You know how it seems like certain American corporations have wormed their way into practically every market overseas (McDonalds, Pepsi, Coke, etc.)? This novel takes it to the extreme as it supposes what would happen if corporations and capitalism took over the world and government was minimized into an underfunded major crime (e.g. murder) prevention body. There are no longer family take the name of the company that you work for like Bob Nike or Cathy McDonalds. You have to give ...more
Kevin Kelsey
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It isn't fantastic writing, but it's so much fun it makes up for it. A little dated now, but it's biting satire of the late 90s/early 00s brand obsessed America. ...more
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: babble-added
entertaining. female heroine who kicks a**. frightening future possiblity. your last name is determined by your corporate affiliation. everything is commercialized, even emergency services. if you can't pay you won't be 'care' is already there in America.

amoral corporate marketing executives concoct a new advertising campaign - create hype by murdering the initial buyers of their new shoe line. other executives, disconnected from real appreciation for human life, see it as "proact
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it
I was currently reading another book, but stupidly left the iy in the car. It was rainy out, and I was in my jammies. Having no desire to get wet, I pulled Jennifer Government, by Max Barry, off the shelf.

I started reading.

About the author...interesting. Dedication- ok. Two quotes by Thomas Jefferson- nice touch. Then an author's note:

"There are a lot of real company names and trademarks in this book, most in situations you are unlikely to see on the covers of any annual reports. That's because
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comic-novel
Jennifer Government is a novel that tries to have its cake and eat it. On the one hand it is an obvious satire on corporate power and greed and the inability of states to control these wayward creatures, on the other the story highlights individuals who by either opposing or aspiring to be major players in this selfish corporatism quite frequently espouse the self-same macho values that got corporatism where it is. While castigating the whole set-up Max Barry also revels in the rogue survivalist ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
I’ll have to be honest with you, I really am not sure if this novel was set in some kind of futuristic, dystopian society, or if it was set in an alternate reality of our current society. At first I thought it might be futuristic, but in one scene two people are fighting “Black Friday” style for a VCR on sale. Now this book was written in 2002 and so VCR would have still been a viable medium at that point, so this has me leaning towards alternate reality.

Not that it matters in the slightest whe
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Jennifer Government poses the most humorous "future gone wrong" I've encountered in the many of the other books of its kind that I've read. I've kind of been on a dystopian kick lately, and Barry's world of tomorrow isn't quite as grim as some other authors have dreamed up, but there've been some big changes.

First, 75% of the planet is now part of the United States, with only pockets of foreign countries still rooted in democracy and free market. The parts of the world governed by the US are und
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
There is a lot I liked about Jennifer Government. Thematically a few things hit really close to home right now. The merging of private industry with government functions, the availability of lifesaving services (such as EMS and police) to only the wealthy, and schools being for-profit run by corporations all come to mind. It was an easy read, a bit too popcorn for my tastes (or my tastes at this moment). I would probably read more Max Barry.
A simple lightweight read. Near future corporate dominated world but basically an almost slapstick bit of silliness with all the characters intertwined and yet it kind of works. But definitely not high art.
Siobhan Bejr
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this book to be quite a good, cruisy read that was perfect for an easy afternoon. I didn't find it to be particularly in depth in many areas such as character building, plot etc but it was still quite enjoyable.
I like how the characters were introduced individually and had their stories told and past constructed and then have them all intertwined as the book went on. Barry did a very good job on that part and made it highly enjoyable.
Overall I found 'Jennifer Government' to be definitely
Even though the author and I have different views about economics or the free market, this is one of my favourite books ever. People just need to read it and stop politicising everything.

I don't want to post any spoilers, but my favourite part was the battle between McDonald's and Burger King.

A kind of comedy (but not funny) vision of the future where consumerism, marketing, branding and international corporations, along with the government absolving itself of any responsibility for anything comes to its ultimate fruition. Some of the things that go on may seem laughable, but also a little chilling. Recently it feels as though these seeds are being sown now. I'm not saying we're heading off to this world, only that this has a depressingly realistic background.

The USA has pretty much
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny Maloney
If McDonalds ruled the world: it would look like this book.

Or, rather, if Nike owned the world.

The Low-Down Dirty:
Welcome to the not-so-far-away future, where everyone is identified by the company they work for. Hence, our trigger-man (in every sense of the word, sort of) is Hack Nike. Hack Nike works for John Nike and John Nike. **No, that wasn't a typo. There are two John Nikes in this book. One is prettier than the other.** John Nike has decided that the greatest marketing scheme of all time
Christopher McKitterick
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really like this book, which is saying a lot because I read it expecting to be able to put it down in a hurry. A really vicious satire on modern global consumerism, sort of a SPACE MERCHANTS for the 21st century.

The story follows a handful of apparently random characters whose lives meet and part weirdly, in a world where everyone’s last name is the company they currently work for or the corporation running the school they currently attend. Jennifer Government is a Jennifer who works for the
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I started this book once or twice, and decided to add it to this year's book challenge. I just now finished it, and I have thoughts about it.

I liked the way Barry used his characters to drive the story. It reminded me a little bit of Big Trouble (the movie. I haven't read the book). He starts with these seemingly disparate characters and then throws them all into a roiling pot of conspiracies, assassination and kidnapping.

I've often heard as a person having a "cinematic" writing style, but I th
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This story takes place in an alternate universe where corporations are way stronger than the government, which is essentially its own company. The characters lack a family name, using their employer instead. How various individuals named John Nike or Mike McDonalds aren't often confused is not explained.

Max Barry has created an interesting world, as least in the places he explored. The rest feels like a thin facade with no internal logic. The nonexistent character growth is barely overshadowed b
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