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Boomsday

Cover of Boomsday

Boomsday

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In BOOMSDAY, Christopher Buckley envisions the nation's next brouhaha-generational warfare between Baby Boomers and younger Americans who don't want to be stuck paying the bill, and how this conflict provokes the most outlandish presidential campaign ever.

Cassandra Devine, a straight-A student, was like any other seventeen-year-old Yale hopeful until was forced to join the army because her father spent her tuition money on a dotcom start-up. Years later, Cassandra has become a Washington spin doctor and blogger who rails against the "Un-greatest" generation's mishandling of the Social Security debt. When she learns her father remarried and bought his dim-witted son's way into Yale, she suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75.

This proposal catches on with outraged citizens and a senator seeking the youth vote for his presidential bid. With the help of Washington's greatest PR strategist, Cassandra and the senator try to ride the issue of euthanasia to the White House. Their opposition includes the president, who's running for reelection; a pro-life preacher, who may have killed his mother; and, of course Baby Boomers.

In BOOMSDAY, Christopher Buckley envisions the nation's next brouhaha-generational warfare between Baby Boomers and younger Americans who don't want to be stuck paying the bill, and how this conflict provokes the most outlandish presidential campaign ever.

Cassandra Devine, a straight-A student, was like any other seventeen-year-old Yale hopeful until was forced to join the army because her father spent her tuition money on a dotcom start-up. Years later, Cassandra has become a Washington spin doctor and blogger who rails against the "Un-greatest" generation's mishandling of the Social Security debt. When she learns her father remarried and bought his dim-witted son's way into Yale, she suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75.

This proposal catches on with outraged citizens and a senator seeking the youth vote for his presidential bid. With the help of Washington's greatest PR strategist, Cassandra and the senator try to ride the issue of euthanasia to the White House. Their opposition includes the president, who's running for reelection; a pro-life preacher, who may have killed his mother; and, of course Baby Boomers.

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  • AudioFile Magazine The acting talents of Janeane Garofalo and the satirical prose of Christopher Buckley combine in a send-up of politics, public relations, and intergenerational relationships. Garofalo perfectly captures the dry wit and sarcasm of Gen-X public relations professional Cassandra Devine, who is trying to warn her blog readers that the economy is about to collapse due to the impending retirement of millions of Baby Boomers. Garofalo also delivers the highbrow accent of a Massachusetts senator and creates a hilarious portrayal of a Southern Baptist senator. Buckley's novel is a delightful mix of strong characters and plot twists, and Garofalo's performance more than does it justice. R.F. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 26, 2007


    Reviewed by
    Jessica Cutler
    It's the end of the world as we know it, especially if bloggers are setting the national agenda. In his latest novel, Buckley imagines a not-so-distant future when America teeters on the brink of economic disaster as the baby boomers start retiring. Buckley takes on such pressing (however boring) topics as Social Security reform and fiscal solvency, as does his protagonist. And get this: she's a blogger.
    Buckley's heroine is "a morally superior twenty-nine-year-old PR chick" who blogs at night about the impending Boomsday budget crisis. Of course, "she was young, she was pretty, she was blonde, she had something to say." She has a large, doting audience that eagerly awaits her every blog entry. And her name? Cassandra. And the name of her blog? Also Cassandra. Of course, Buckley doesn't let his allusion get by us:
    "She was a goddess of something," another character struggles to remember, which gives his heroine the opportunity to educate us about the significance of her namesake.
    "Daughter of the king of Troy. She warned that the city would fall to the Greeks," she explains. "Cassandra is sort of a metaphor for catastrophe prediction. This is me. It's what I do."
    So Cassandra, doing what she does, starts by calling for "an economic Bastille Day" and her minions take to destroying golf courses in protest. Cassandra grabs headlines and magazine covers, and the president starts wringing his hands over what she might blog about next. Her follow-up: a radical but tantalizingly expedient solution to that most vexing of issues, the Social Security problem—Cassandra proposes that senior citizens kill themselves in exchange for tax breaks.
    Buckley, author of Thank You for Smoking
    , shows great imagination as he fires his pistol at the feet of his straw women and men. In 300-plus pages, though, it would be nice if he had found a way to endear us to at least one of his characters. Yes, we know that Washington is "an asshole-rich environment," as one puts it, but some Tom Wolfe–style self-loathing might be good for characters who use the word touché.
    Full disclosure: I'm a blogger of Cassandra's generation, and at times the totally over-the-top, relentlessly us-against-them scenario reminded me that I was reading a book written by someone not
    of the blogging generation, someone who Cassandra would want put down. Oh, the irony in these generationalist feelings. Then again, maybe that's exactly Buckley's point.
    Jessica Cutler is the author of The Washingtonienne.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 25, 2007
    Despite the technicality of her birth at the tail end of the baby boom in 1964, comedian and actress Janeane Garofalo embodies a unique combination of edge and sincerity perfect for Buckley’s tale of Generation X activism. At 29, Washington “PR chick” Cassandra Devine launches a grassroots entitlement reform movement but quickly determines that only shock can break through people’s fog of apathy, so she floats a plan for baby boomer suicide—dubbed “voluntary transitioning”—as a means to preserve Social Security for future generations. Garofalo effectively portrays Cassandra’s angst amid the absurd scenario of her macabre treatise—inspired by Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal
    —entering the public policy mainstream. Garofalo also demonstrates tremendous vocal range with male characters, especially prolife leader Rev. Gideon Payne and Cassandra’s love interest and ally Sen. Randolph K. Jefferson. Yet, like his protagonist, Buckley seems compelled to address the topic at hand only through the boldest possible strokes of the satirical brush. Garofalo certainly does the colorful characters justice, but listeners may ultimately feel weighed down by the tone and scope of the overall experience. Simultaneous release with the Twelve hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 26).

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Boomsday
Boomsday
Christopher Buckley
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