Thomas Edmund's Reviews > The Overton Window

The Overton Window by Glenn Beck
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's review
Aug 20, 2010

it was ok

Like my other Glenn Beck reviews, I feel it would be unethical not to begin by saying that I am not a fan of Mr Beck nor do I agree (for the most part) with his opinions.

In saying that I tried to take his work of fiction The Overton Window with a grain of open-mindedness, and plunged right in...

Or tried to. Unfortunately Glenn decided to introduce his novel with the old “some people won’t like this, but others will look past the politics” type spiel. One questions the decision to do this as obviously any non-fans will likely just get more annoyed (judging from my reaction) and fans don’t need any encouragement, and generally speaking, even if it is in a foreword an author must be cautious with what material they present within their product. Beck’s apologetic introduction succeeds only at reminding us that he is a political commentator with what many consider extreme (if only in irritation value) views and not in fact a fiction author.

Anyway once you get past the foreword we get onto the real fiction. Beck spins a tale of Noah, the son of a Public Relation’s trillionaire who stumbles into a relationship with a rebellious, maybe terrorist, activist.

Beck doesn’t do too bad with this tale – the tension formed by Noah being caught between his scheming father and revolutionary girlfriend is well done, that’s even with the worst dialogue since the 80’s. While it is fairly clear in Beck’s writing that Noah’s father is the villain, there is also good drama in trying to determine whether Noah’s GF is on the side of right, or at least actually interested in Noah beyond manipulating him for personal gain.

Not too shockingly there are many downsides to Beck’s novel. To say his prose was stilted would be like saying Edmond’s Cookbook lacked flair – Glenn takes American plain-speak to another level (perhaps appealing to his fans again). Gunfire is described as sounding like a paper bag being popped too close, everyday incidence is used as comparison in analogies and by far too much of the story was told in summary rather than really happening to our main character.

In terms of plot – Overton Window could have been a short story if you cut all the political ranting out (you could probably just insert links to Glenn’s youtube and get the same dialogue), it was pretty obvious Beck was trying to reach Orwellian 1984 greatness, especially with his “the enemy won, but we fight on” feel good ending but ultimately the plot felt to unlikely, too exaggerated, and with two pointless characters thrown in like forgotten edit outs.

Overall Overton was better than I expected – while much of the premise was ridiculous, and some scenes like when Noah's love interest pretends to be Natalie Portman were similarily stupid, there weren’t quite as many caricatures as I predicted there would be and there was some genuine drama in the plot. Reading the book didn’t leave me wanting to claw my eyes out. (why I am risking my eyes by reading such books? Don’t ask)

Still the book is an absolute hack job of writing – fair enough, if I already had fame I would capitalise on it through writing, I might take a couple of courses first though...
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07/06/2016 marked as: read

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