Customer Reviews for

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

Average Rating 4
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(92)

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(46)

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(27)

2 Star

(16)

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(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 June 19, 2011

    MUST CHECK THIS OUT

    This was recommended by my friend Carla and everything she said was true. I read this in a few days because every time I put it down I wanted to continue reading which is the highest praise I can give. Highly recommended!

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN

    A very very impressive first novel from Albert Brooks. If we don't change our ways in the next few years this book will one day read as a news story. Wonderful characters and wonderful writing.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    You Laugh But You're Panicked

    By the time you finish this book you don't know what to feel. There is a small bit of optimism buried in a very stark warning of what is going to happen to this country and the world. It is very interesting to read about near future, instead of robots taking over. I much prefer this kind of "science fiction."

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Page Turner

    I started this book three days ago and couldn't put it down. It reads somewhere between a novel and as if someone was recalling real events from 2030. The characters were very interesting and the plot lines were very well drawn. I will make my son read this book!

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    EXCELLENT EXCELLENT

    I consider myself a tough critic but I couldn't put this down. I can't stop thinking about the olds and the resentment gangs and the world twenty years from now painted in this novel. It is truly frightening but funny as well. An excellent book.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    Although this story is set in the future, it is relevant to today's America. Brooks, who is by his own definition an "old", clearly sets forth the monumental fiscal difficulties with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These programs, while noble in their design, will continue to be divisive long after we "baby boomers" are dead and gone. Hopefully, a solution which continues to benefit the lower classes will be found sooner than later. The wealthy can fend for themselves; the rest of us need these programs to varying degrees.

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

    Compelling and Believable

    Excellent effort on the part of Albert Brooks. A novel that should stick around for a long time. You will love it.

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

    GENUINE PAGE TURNER

    I hate that expression but I found myself reading this book over a period of two days and I rarely do that. I wouldn't call it Science Fiction, I would call it Realistic Fiction or something like that. Well drawn characters and some ideas that I have not seen presented before. Very highly recommended.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Funny and Frightening

    Near fiction is risky because the world changes so fast but nothing in this book seems impossible or unlikely. It's very interesting to enter a world that is only 20 years away and do it through many characters that are living today. Well written and well conceived.
    This goes in my library. And a well designed cover, which is always nice when you like a book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2011

    I cancelled social engagements to finish this book.

    (There's probably a fair amount of irony in that, but I digress...)

    This was an astounding first novel. I could hardly stand to put it down and actually woke up in the middle of the night to keep reading it; I can honestly say no other book has ever compelled me to do that. Brooks's prose is fresh and lucid, and he manages to weave several complex storylines together without confusion. This novel might well break your heart, but it's absolutely worth the ache. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Great ending

    The ending of this book is the strangest combination of emotions. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be serious or ironic or both but I have to say I loved it. I was wondering about half way through where the author was heading and I didn't see it coming, which I love.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Excellent novel

    Great characters and very intriguing story. Very good purchase. I Just hope it doesn't come true!

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    A MUST READ

    I don't think Science Fiction is the real description of this book. It almost could be called Near Future Fiction as what is presented is not only believable but feels inevitable. Great read with great characters. A very high recommend.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Highly recommended

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    YOU MUST READ

    I'm 35 years old and I think even though I'm too old I am in the resentment gangs Brooks talks about. This novel has its share of laughs but is SCARY as hell!

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    JUST GREAT

    I don't like spoilers but I would love to recount all of the plot points in this book that I think are so unusual. To use a corny phrase I was blown away.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    SOMETIMES IT ALL WORKS

    Sometimes you pick a book because you heard about it and you hate it and sometimes it all works. This one worked! This is a book you will think about long after you have read it. I think people in Washington should read this before they can even get elected.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    ENDING WAS GREAT

    Sometimes a book is a wonderful read but the ending lets you down. I think the ending is one of the strongest parts in a very good novel. Unique ideas and good characters. Would like to read something more from this author.

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  • Posted June 3, 2011

    REQUIRED READING

    I would say that as a warning alone this is required reading but it is also great fiction with great characters and plot. Well done!

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Great Book

    Just finished reading off my new nook and it was an amazing story. Although, one thing was odd. I thought even if the US would allow someone to be president from outside the country, wouldnt they still have to have already lived here for 8 years? Owell, still a great book.

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