Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President

By Josh Lieb

If you saw 12-year-old Oliver Watson, you might write him off as a big loser. He fat and dumb and has no friends. But that is all an act, except for the no friends part. That part is true. He probably has no friends because he actually despises everyone in the world, including his own parents. Because Oliver is a genius and sees through all the nonsense with which most people surround themselves.
Oliver has made himself the third richest person in the world. He has secret bases, a blimp he rides in when ever he wants, and an extensive spy network set up in the school he attends, Gale Sayers Middle School in Omaha. His influence is pervasive and completely covert. Even his own covert bodyguards have no idea that Oliver is their employer. All they know is they are supposed to protect him.
Oliver plays the fool at school and at home. Although he does love his mother he also has little respect for her, dismissing her as a vapid dunce. But it is his father that he really hates. An incident when Oliver was little has earned his undying enmity for his father.
As a joke, a fellow student nominates Oliver for class president. And Oliver declines the nomination, naturally. It's a waste of his time and a meaningless position and he knows it was just a cruel joke against him. But when his father hears about the nomination, the father goes on and on about how he ran for and won class president in high school. So, to spite his father, Oliver changes his mind and runs for class president. And all his massive resources and penchant for dirty tricks will come into play, in an effort to show up his father. Oliver really has some "daddy issues."

This was an ok story. I didn't find the Oliver character particularly believable, though. It strains my credulity that no one noticed that this kid has fantastic resources at his beck and call. The story is mildly amusing, not the laugh-fest I was hoping it was. Maybe the humor is a bit too juvenile to appeal to me. I also thought Oliver's speech at the end was very cynical and made me wonder if the author really feels that voting is a waste of time and that the government is only after your money.
By the way, Captain Beefheart is a real musician, something I did not know until I read some reviews of this novel.

For another review, see

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