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2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

Average Rating 4
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(92)

4 Star

(49)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(17)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

I connected with the younger generation of this book.

I'm in my early 30's and have an above average job. I still send a check out every month for my student loans. I have paid thousands of dollars to medical loans because of the ridiculous cost of health care in this country. I don't own a home nor have any children. I do...
I'm in my early 30's and have an above average job. I still send a check out every month for my student loans. I have paid thousands of dollars to medical loans because of the ridiculous cost of health care in this country. I don't own a home nor have any children. I don't feel like America is stable enough for my generation to really feel comfortable with settling down in one spot. I sat at the same desk and worked for 3 different companies from 2004 to 2011. I know there will be no retirement for my generation. I know nobody is going to start making the rich pay their fair share. I know corporations will continue to monopolize the market place. I know there are almost no outlets for true journalism (Amy Goodman and Democracy Now does the best she can). I know as long as the elected leaders put before me are a multiple choice test of preselected candidates nothing will change. Great book though.

posted by NMUwildcat on May 24, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Ho-Hum

This is not a work of literature. The author (whose main credits are screenplays) writes with the economy of words one expects in a screenplay, and this work reads more like a book-length treatment than anything else. I expect to see fairly soon that it will be made i...
This is not a work of literature. The author (whose main credits are screenplays) writes with the economy of words one expects in a screenplay, and this work reads more like a book-length treatment than anything else. I expect to see fairly soon that it will be made into a film.

Brooks' dystopian future is filled with gadgetry he describes in detail but which has little use in the story. Excepting the video-phones and the concept of retirement communities on cruise ships, there's entirely too much attention given to things. Had the author spend more time developing characters and locations, we might actually have a nice work of fiction here.

Instead, we have an overloaded cast of characters, some of whom are invested with an entire story line and many of whom are ignored when the author no longer knows what to do with them.

The basic story is this: The man who cured cancer gets into a shouting match with a young man (Max) who wants the older generation to understand how badly they're taxing their children. The failed encounter spurs Max to lead a small gang which briefly takes over a retirement community. Max and his gang are killed by a SEAL team, but not before about 15 retirees die in the process.

The other story lines -- the Los Angeles earthquake, the rebuilding of LA by China and the ensuing partnership, the plans to put a foreign-born man into the White House as president, the current president's need for emotional intimacy that alienates his wife, etc., etc. -- aren't needed in their current, bloated form, to advance the basic story. Even the story of Kathy (who is saddled with debt after her father dies and who is briefly considered an accomplice of Max) would have been interesting had it been treated as something other than padding.

Is it comic in places? Darkly so, and that wears thin in short order. Does it present a cautionary tale of the high price (financially and emotionally) of the USA taking on more debt? Perhaps, but it gets lost in the author's fascination with technological advances.

Don't waste your time. This book isn't worth all of the hype that has gone into it.

posted by Elishka on June 20, 2011

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    I connected with the younger generation of this book.

    I'm in my early 30's and have an above average job. I still send a check out every month for my student loans. I have paid thousands of dollars to medical loans because of the ridiculous cost of health care in this country. I don't own a home nor have any children. I don't feel like America is stable enough for my generation to really feel comfortable with settling down in one spot. I sat at the same desk and worked for 3 different companies from 2004 to 2011. I know there will be no retirement for my generation. I know nobody is going to start making the rich pay their fair share. I know corporations will continue to monopolize the market place. I know there are almost no outlets for true journalism (Amy Goodman and Democracy Now does the best she can). I know as long as the elected leaders put before me are a multiple choice test of preselected candidates nothing will change. Great book though.

    11 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 27, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    It certainly makes you think and quite possibly lose sleep!

    2030 is science fiction but alarmingly plausible, entertaining and thought provoking. Brooks' story of what the U.S. will be like in the year 2030 is more terrifying than any monster movie, sociopath psycho murderer or doomsday portrayal out there. The major issues of the book are of the issues we face today, what ever-increasing life-spans and ever-increasing government deficits will inevitably do to our children and grandchildren in the next twenty years and bringing hopeful solutions. Good things too, cancer is a thing of the past, and no on gets fat. Most of the plot revolves around the growing stresses between generations, a tension that is intensified when the long-predicted major earthquake devastates Los Angeles, and the government realizes it could no longer borrow its way out of disaster. This is somewhat comical, but, sarcasm, political humor, and doom and gloom also present themselves. All told, I really enjoyed it! It certainly makes you think and quite possibly lose a little sleep.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Very Highly Recommended

    I was not familiar with this author but I love stories that take place in the future and simply fell in love with this book. The characters are great as are the ideas. What a pleasant surprise to find a new author that I like so much.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    WOW! Right out of the gate Mr. Brooks writes a winner!

    I may have a significant bias for Mr. Brooks' works (I love every single film of his, and can only wait until Blu-Ray versions are released someday), so when I bought 2030 I fully expected to see some standard Brooksian takes on society. Does he deliver, and more! A prescient take on what America could be like in less than two decades, Albert Brooks takes the lives of about a dozen characters through their trials and tribulations of life - whether it's survivors of a world-changing earthquake in LA, a parent's death, an aspiring Bill Gates cum politician, or our first Jewish President. Each storyline is interesting in its own right, but how they tie together (and are tied together so well by the writer) is magnificent. I know we'll probably never see the book turned into a movie (as the writer as noted in an interview or two - especially when you consider the costs of producing a film with so much to tell), and I'm fine with that. Mr. Brooks has done such a great job in writing a thought-provoking, if not slightly scary, book that I am satisfied with the visuals I've created in my own mind. I'm just a little torn, though, regarding what could be next from Mr. Brooks. I would wish we'd see more films (in the line of Defending Your Life or Mother, his two best in my view) written/directed by the artist, but at the same time I would love another novel or two. For now, though, I can live in the satisfaction of using all waking moments in a single weekend to plow through 2030, coming away fully satisfied in my choice of reading material.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    GREAT FICTION

    If you like fiction with a great imagination and great characters I can't think of a better read in the last few months. Really enjoyable. Thanks to Lori at Barnes and Noble for the recommendation.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2011

    Couldnt put it down

    Read it at the gym, plane, at night... funny yet serious and thought provoking

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    See what the future holds...

    Surprisingly good! What a great imagination. But I can really see a lot of that happening in the near future.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    Funny And Scary

    If you like anything about Albert Brooks you will love love this book. He has always had one of the great imaginations and it is all here on the page. A MUST read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    excellent read

    excellent projection of future based on current events

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    Highly Recommend!!

    For fans of World War Z will love this book. Instead of zombies, we have robots

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  • Posted November 14, 2011

    If you only read 1 novel this year, this should be it.

    A page turner. Not as well written as Super Sad True Love Story. But highly entertaining and thought proving no matter what your politics might be. 2030 is a thoughtful projection of where the USA might be just 19 years hence if life spans lengthen, wealth continues to concentrate among the aging, and national debt spirals out of control. What kind of world are we creating for our children and their children? How would the USA pay for a natural disaster of epic proportions? What do advances in medicine really mean for us when coupled with population explosion? Brooks creates characters of all ages and both sexes who struggle with these issues in ways both small and large. 2030 might scare the heck out of you, but will certainly get you thinking about all sorts of things going on today, how they all interrelate and what our future might bring.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Very good book!

    Brooks is very much in tune with the state of our country and world today and moving forward....very plausible storyline. Highly recommend!

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Interesting

    Could get a little deeper but definitely an interesting what if scenario.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Brilliantly Thought Provoking

    I loved this book. It is really thought provoking. The idea of curing cancer is awesome ... the idea of paying Medicare for all those seniors is not. I'm not making a value judgement. The financial impact can not be ignored.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    ONE OF THE BEST

    This is one of the best books of the year. The only thing is it is more scary than funny and I believe everything this author says is going to come true, INCLUDING the ending!

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Best First Novel Ever

    I am familiar with Brooks as a filmmaker but this was beyond anything I was expecting from him as a novelist. This is a must read for anyone who likes to put down a book after they finish it and think about it constantly. Great. Just great. Write more please!

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    Best Horror Story of 2011!

    This is not a horror story; instead it's a novel that uses savvy prognostication skills in imagining the future of this country. The story line is presented with efficiency in writing that is rarely seen in other contemporary writers. Think of how Dean Koontz will spend 15 paragraphs describing the rain or how Dan Brown will lay out the architectural detail of a building then compare it to the sparse but engaging writing style of Albert Brooks, and I'm sure you'll agree, Brooks story-telling style is a refreshing change of pace. Other reviewers have done a good job of providing a plot synopsis. My review is purely reactionary. I seldom write reviews but this novel compelled me to recommend it to other readers for its following qualities: the story is riveting; the predictive aspects of our country (curing cancer, "fat pills", debt, debt and more debt) are all so wholly believable that the fiction feels like news headings from the future; the dark, dry humor will make you howl. By the end of the novel you'll be wondering why The Sunset hasn't already launched - just one example of the things I felt to be an inevitable reality within my lifetime. Anyone who watches science-fiction and/or political thrillers will be familiar with the concept of plausible deniability. This novel excels at presenting Implausible Possibility. The idea that this country would ever partner with China in rebuilding an earthquake-damaged-beyond-belief Los Angeles is implausible but Brooks sets the story up in such a way that the readers doesn't have to suspend disbelief to accept that such a thing could come to pass. Same goes for the idea of passing a constitutional amendment allowing foreign-born naturalized citizens to become presidential candidates. The horrific aspect of this story, brilliantly told, is simply this: a lot of this story might just be in the process for coming true for America, but in real life there will be no Shen Li to save us.

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    BEST SUMMER READ

    Summer is only a few days old but I will bet money this will be my favorite summer read. The realism of what can happen in the next 20 years will grab you and not let go. Sometimes it looks like the author got a hold of a newspaper from 2030.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    I Hope He's Not Right

    Although the book reads like a page turner I hope Brooks is not right about his predictions. Although, I don't see any miracles. I loved the characters and the ending.....well I won't give anything away but I am still thinking about what if his ending came true. I this really our future? I hope he writes 2050!

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    GREAT GREAT

    Great novel by Albert Brooks. This reads like he has written novels his whole life. To think this is the first one is mind-blowing. Keep it up Mr. Brooks!

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