Sunday, February 24, 2008

Boomsday, a book review

Thanks to the wonderful idea of Melissa at Taking What Is Left, I read the book Boomsday for her Virtual Book Club live blog coming up on February 28th at 8:30 CST. I decided to write a brief review of this book. I confess this is the only book I have ever read by this author.

When I was in elementary and middle school, I used to love creative writing assignments. I always wrote some tale of adventure, often involving myself and my best friend having to fight some force of evil. Each such story generally included a grandiose beginning explaining in great detail the peril of the main characters, the eminent need to achieve some goal, or the amazing scope of some epic war. I would expound on the tale, feeling it out.

Then the deadline loomed. And I tacked on a quick ending, sometimes as brief as a paragraph or two at the end of a multi-page story. The story was destroyed by the deadline, and I hated it. So what does this have to do with Boomsday?

Buckley has a very interesting style. He builds up his tale, and he sidebars a lot. Each character, by the end, has become somewhat clear in the mind of the reader, and the main characters each have some fascinating back-story that gives them life and intrigue. Then comes the end. He has a lot of pomp without much circumstance, a lot of cute ideas he presents but never brings to fruition, he takes you to the door of a new world, then closes the book. I like his style in a way, but his ending drives me to distraction in the way a Vonnegut story would. I doubt I would read him again, barring definite knowledge the book had a clearer ending.

I realize the purpose of the book is to provoke thought and discussion, and I am thankful for having read it in that light. Social Security absolutely needs a complete change to save it, and he draws the reader's attention very well to the extremes that might seem sensible if things continue much longer as they are. Here's hoping his book becomes laughable one day, when Social Security has undergone a drastic change well before something even close to his story could ever seem reasonable.

I look forward to the discussion on this book.

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