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

2030 by Albert Brooks
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's review
Jun 21, 2011

did not like it

This is one of those books that will give you the confidence to write one of your own. Simply take 30-40 minutes out of your day and scribble out several 2-page chapters where you exaggerate all the scare tactics you hear on the nightly news and voila!!! you'll have your very own dystopian novel before you know it! What you won't have is the promotional blitzkrieg that Mr. Brooks had to promote his novel on The Colbert Report, various NPR shows, including "Talk of the Nation," "All Things Considered," "Market Place" and enough other respected media outlets to dupe someone like me into reading this tepid tale. It's not that this book is hard to get through. It reminded me very much of the film "Greenberg," where a bunch of ultimately worthless characters pleasantly hold your attention for an extended period of time only to leave you wondering, "what was the fucking point?" And at the risk of sounding anti-Semitic, I must admit that I found it somewhat absurd for him to paint his president character as being persecuted for his Jewish heritage. His narrative makes no mention of any bigotry that exists 20 years from now towards African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or any other ethnic group other than that of his own ethnic background (as well as bigotry towards the elderly- which is the lone provocative theme of the novel.) To be fair, antisemitism may very well exist 20 years from now (especially if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved.) My main beef with this book is that Brooks is just so short-sighted in his vision of the future. He merely amplifies his own personal fears and frustrations rather than imagine some more unique possibilities. Ironically, a Brooks author with a much more thoroughly thought-out vision of the future would be Max Brooks' "World War Z" and that has zombies in it!
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 19, 2011 – Finished Reading
June 21, 2011 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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M0rt0n Essentially, you don't find it remotely realistic. Which I suppose is fair given that we actually can't project ourselves into the future to see if he's right. But isn't it interesting that a Hollywood insider (a skilled screenwriter and comic, mind you--not some hack who just started pecking on a typewriter) wrote a cautionary tale about the threat of a federal spending addiction instead of falling into a stereotype of what many expect from Hollywood. While it's not 1984 or Atlas Shrugged, Brooks is an entertainer...maybe chalk his novel up to him giving into his desire to write something people want to read, but packaging a message that is important to hear. Whatever one's politics are, federal spending is an absolute threat to our national security. THAT'S the point you missed.

Kaalomai i agree with you mike. i didnt even finish it because i was too depressed by his vision of the bleak future. i dont see the point of harping on worst case scenarios unless it offers something more. and i didnt find more in the brief time i gave it to even out.

message 3: by Mark (new) - added it

Mark And another thing about the president being Jewish -- I found it disappointing that Brooks had to paint him as ultimately a weak leader and beset by his own (anti-Semitic?) self-doubts.

Audrey It's meant to be fiction, not prediction! Sheesh!

message 5: by Mark (last edited Aug 11, 2014 02:30PM) (new) - added it

Mark I grant you that, Audrey, but isn't one of the things that make it work as fiction, the plausibility of the scenario? (and you seem to think it does work, judging by your review)

message 6: by Mer (new)

Mer Love this review! Thank you for saving me some time

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