- Pennington, Maura.
Great Men Are Free Men.
Seattle: CreateSpace, 2011.
This is so bad it is scarcely worth remarking upon. Hey, the
Kindle edition is (at this writing) only
a buck eighteen, but you also have to consider the value of
the time it'll take you to read it, which is less than you might
think because it's only 116 pages in the print edition, and much
of that is white space around vapid dialogue. This is really a
novella: there are
no chapters (although two “parts” which differ little
from one another, and hardly any character development. In fact, the
absence of character development is only one aspect of the more
general observation that nothing much happens at all.
A bunch of twenty-something members of the write-off
generation are living in decadent imperial D.C., all cogs
or aspiring cogs in the mindless and aimless machine of
administrative soft despotism. All, that is, except for Charlie
Winslow, who's working as a barista at a second-tier coffee
joint until he can get into graduate school, immerse himself
in philosophy, and bury himself for the rest of his life in
the library, reading great works and writing “esoteric
essays no one would read”. Charlie fashions himself a
Great Man, and with his unique intellectual perspective towering
above the molecular monolayer of his contemporaries, makes
acerbic observations upon the D.C. scene which marginally
irritates them. Finally, he snaps, and lets loose a tepid
drizzle of speaking truth to poopheads, to which they respond
“whatever”. And that's about it.
The author, who studied Russian at Dartmouth College, is a
twenty-something living in D.C. who styles herself a
libertarian. She writes a
blog at Forbes.