To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel

To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel

by Scott Semegran

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To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
HeathEnjoysToRun 8 months ago
Semegran's best book by far, funny and heartfelt. When I first read it was about some government employees, I was skeptical. But their time in and away from their office is fascinating. I found myself rooting for all of them, especially after getting sucked into the slimy world of the ruthless politician, Governor Bennett. If you're looking for a fun read, this book is for you. ARC provided by author and publisher for review. Thank you to Mutt Press for allowing me to get an early look at this wonderful book!
Amys_Bookshelf_Reviews 9 months ago
Interesting story I must admit I was a little put off by Semegran's cover for To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel, but I know to never judge a book by its cover. And I don't. I read, and I read. The story was good, has come interesting characters, and was blended with humor, satire and dramatics. Semegran tells the story of JD, and he's a likeable character, and mixed with the chemistry of his co-workers, the story comes to life. I like the premise of this story, and I look forward to reading more by this new author.
brf1948 9 months ago
To Squeeze a Prairie Dog is an entertaining and heart-felt novel. It is hard to set aside, filled with humor, comradeship, and the keys, despite politics, to finding the connections that make life sweet even in the hard times. The title stems from a quote made by George Wilkins Kendall in the Texan Santa Fe Expedition - "If any animal has a system of laws regulating the body politic, it is certainly the prairie dog." And politics do play a roll, but only a minor one. Like all big, spiraling entities, the State of Texas, despite checks and balances, sometimes loses sight of efficiency in the pursuit of the workload of government. J. D. Wiswall is a young man coming straight to the seat of Texas government in Austin, Texas, population of 950,715, from the pastoral lands of Brady, Texas, population of 5,298 (2017 population figures). He brings with him a sense of artless innocence, a new job with benefits as a data entry clerk with the Texas Department of Unemployment and Benefits, a sports bag filled with pecan based treats from Brady - and his much adored bicycle. In Brady a bicycle is a perfectly adequate form of transportation. In Austin it is considered another form of suicide. Many of the things that make Austin and the Texas Hill Country a magnet for young adults of all backgrounds are present in this novel. The user friendly, convenient closeness of the University of Texas, County and State Government, downtown shopping and partying on 6th Street, museums and parks, restaurants of all ethnicities work to keep natives, students and visitors happy. J.D. is able to find an affordable place in Hyde Park not too far from work, and his three co-data keyers at the Department of Unemployment and Benefits are all helpful and instant friends. Deborah is a long term employee with Texas State in the data entry department, grey infiltrating the red in her hair. She is fully versed on the antique DOS system used by the state to keep track of the unemployed and their benefits. She is a touch maternal, a good teacher and very sweet. Deborah's son is a mixed up lazy kid in his thirties, still living with Mama and is, despite having a nice dependable car, usually unemployed. Rita has also been a state employee for many years, often bringing home-baked goodies for break times, keeps track of the workplace lottery tickets and talks often of her very busy children, most working night shifts, and her many grandchildren who spend much of their time at her home. Like Deborah, Rita dreams of retiring but she fears she would have to win the lottery to do so. Conchino is, like J.D., in his early twenties, and he doesn't speak if he can text. His passion is his 1999 Honda Prelude, mechanic-oriented chores and despite his shy and retiring personality, illegal road races. Conchino usually drives the ladies to and from work, as neither have a dependable vehicle. From day one the crew sail along comfortably. J.D. joins in the office Lottery system - donate what you can afford and split wins five ways - and they all are dreaming of ways to save the Texas government money in the system for the $10,000 reward which they would also split 5 ways. Unfortunately turning in their boss, Brent Baker doesn't seem kosher despite the fact that he is a millstone around their necks, usually beered up even in the daytime and a classic abuser of the perks of government employment with his two hour lunches out of his five or six hour work days. This
Anonymous 9 months ago
Not much of a plot, not much character development, not much of a denouement. Basically we are presented with four people working in mind numbing data entry state jobs. Zany developments and rich character development do not ensue...this book had potential ( how about more exposure of the girl reporter with the briefly mentioned Adam’s apple). In general my recommendation is take a pass on this book.