Jennifer Government / Max Barry

Jennifer Government by Max Barry
Jennifer Government by Max Barry

This was not a book I specifically picked. I found it laying around at home a couple of months ago; I guess my brother had bought it. I’d been feeling a bit burnt out with work and needed a change; any change. And when I found the book, I picked up and leafed through it. At first glance it seemed to be a run of the mill future science fiction novel and I was starting to feel a tad skeptical. But I dove in anyway and I was hooked within the first 30 pages.

Wikipedia summarizes the setting accurately: “The novel is set in a dystopian alternate reality in which most nations (now controlled by the United States) are dominated by for-profit corporate entities while the government’s political power is extremely limited.” In that world, a person’s last name is that of his/her employer and people, effectively, seem to be slaves to their employers. I’d recommend reading the Wikipedia entry in its entirety if you’re the kind of person that like all the details before diving into a book.

Things kick off with the forced murder of teenagers to promote a new Nike product. Involved in the murder are the NRA and the (privatized) police. The protagonist, Jennifer, who is a government agent, starts investigating the death and things begin to slowly but surely unravel for the masterminds behind the murder. The story involves a number of characters, I think eight or ten and I found it a little tedious to keep track of the interconnects between them and auxiliary arcs. There’s a small bit of romance towards the end. Unlike the one between Neo and Trinity in The Matrix, this one isn’t jarring nor does not feel forced.

Verdict: Recommended

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