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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reading List: Great Men Are Free Men

Pennington, Maura. Great Men Are Free Men. Seattle: CreateSpace, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4664-4196-5.
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.

Posted at March 8, 2012 21:37