Saturday, July 5, 2008

Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley

This will probably be the last Christopher Buckley novel I read. It was laugh-out-loud funny at parts, but he's better at interesting plot lines than at writing good characters. At the end of the book, all of the characters annoyed me, which wasn't enough to redeem the 318 pages.

You have to hand it to him--he's good at creating interesting situations. The "heroine" of the novel becomes a disaffected cynic when her father blows her Yale tuition money on a dot-com startup. She then joins the Army to get money for college, but then is bounced out after a visiting senator takes over her jeep and almost gets killed in a mine field in Yugoslavia. He feels badly enough to get her a new job in a Washington PR firm. By this time, she's so angry at everyone older than she is, she angrily blogs away. (I'm guessing the author thought frequent mentions of blogs would make him more relevant.) She blames the Baby Boomers for all their selfishness and indulgence, and encourages others under 30 to commit acts of vandalism against golf courses and segways. The movement gains adherents and notoriety, and she develops a plan: "Voluntary Transitioning." Baby Boomers get tax breaks if they agree to kill themselves at 65, so young working people no longer have to fund the massive social security debt passed on to the next generation.

All the characters are two-dimensional, although the president was funny. The most irritating character was the southern Christian who acted as the self-appointed right-to-life expert. Of course, he ended up being a a loser and a hypocrite--so surprise here. Between that and the language, I think I'll pass on future Christopher Buckley novels.