Saturday, April 14, 2007

Book Review: "Boomsday"

Christopher Buckley's first novel since Thank You for Smoking hit the big screen is Boomsday, just out from a new Warner Books imprint, Twelve. In a brilliant satire reminiscent of Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal," the plot of Boomsday revolves around a blogger's idea to provide incentives for Baby Boomers to kill themselves (er, "voluntarily transition") in order to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security. Outrageous, yes ... but wait'll you see what happens to the idea once the "American political system" gets ahold of it (no spoilers here, go read the book).

Buckley's at his best with the creation of characters who seem caricatured almost beyond belief and yet still seem oddly plausible. From bitter blond blogger Cassanda Devine to ambitious Congressman Randolph K. Jepperson IV (MA, of course) to Gideon Payne, self-righteous leader of the Society for the Protection of Every Ribonucleic Molecule (acronymize it, you'll see) and beyond, Buckley's cast fills the bill perfectly. Nobody comes out smelling like roses, but hey, that's politics.

Boomsday's portrayals of the DC media feeding frenzy, the high-level political shenanigans and that bizarre moment when politics, policy and personality all collide to create a perfect storm of utter ridiculousness had me laughing out loud several times. An enjoyable read, and recommended.