Summary and book reviews of Boomsday by Christopher Buckley

Boomsday

A Novel

by Christopher Buckley

Boomsday
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2007, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2008, 336 pages

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Book Summary

One of America’s most hilarious novelists and the bestselling author of Thank You For Smoking returns with a biting comedy about generational warfare.

Outraged over the mounting Social Security debt, Cassandra Devine, a charismatic 29-year-old blogger and member of Generation Whatever, incites massive cultural warfare when she politely suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75. Her modest proposal catches fire with millions of citizens, chief among them an ambitious senator seeking the presidency. With the help of Washington’s greatest spin doctor, the blogger and the politician try to ride the issue of euthanasia for Boomers (called “transitioning”) all the way to the White House, over the objections of the Religious Right, and of course, the Baby Boomers, who are deeply offended by demonstrations on the golf courses of their retirement resorts.

Chapter 1

Cassandra Devine was not yet thirty, but she was already tired.

“Media training,” they called it. She’d been doing it for years, but it still had the ring of “potty training.”

Today’s media trainee was the chief executive officer of a company that administered hospitals, twenty-eight of them throughout the southeastern United States. In the previous year, it had lost $285 million and one-third of its stock market value. During that same period, the client had been paid $3.8 million in salary, plus a $1.4 million “performance bonus.”

Corporate Crime Scene, the prime-time investigative television program, was doing an exposé and had requested an interview. In her negotiations with the show’s producers, Cass had learned that they had footage of him boarding the company jet ($35 mil) wearing a spectacularly loud Hawaiian shirt and clenching a torpedo-shaped—indeed, torpedo-size—cigar in his teeth while hefting a ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

After a slightly slow start during which Buckley introduces his characters, provides them with motive and generally lays the groundwork, Boomsday develops into a mischievously farcical tangled-web of generational warfare and political backstabbing, set against the background of the failing Social Security system and the general collapse of the American economy.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (602 words).

Media Reviews

New York Observer - Charles Taylor

There can be no astonishment in writing when the main goal is to convey to the reader that the writer is onto everyone else’s bullshit, above being surprised by any of it. Like a mom making sure all the kids get the same number of cookies, Mr. Buckley carefully parcels out his jibes among left and right.

Houston Chronicle - Allen Barra

Since Social Security is the most boring subject in the world, we probably owe Buckley some kind of debt for putting the subject in front of us in the form of a highly readable novel with flip-page howlers. But the idea that such a movement could be a hot-button issue in a presidential race is so silly that Boomsday's momentum begins to dissipate before the midway point.

The Washington Times - Sonny Bunch

Mr. Buckley's complete and utter contempt for his generation is startling and hilarious. "You know what the Boomer concept of sacrifice consists of?" Cass asks her boss (who just so happens to be a Baby Boomer himself). "Three-day ground instead of overnight air delivery on your fifty inch plasma screen high-def TV."

Chicago Sun-Times - Roger K Miller

The ideal review of a Buckley novel would consist simply of a string of his witty, biting, insightful comments and dialogue (politicians, he says, are "born with Original Spin"), and if that's what this turns out to be, don't blame me, blame Buckley's wicked sense of humor. Still, we must take note of the equally funny plot, which is as convoluted as Social Security financing and as outrageous as mass suicide.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin

Bingo. Again. Mr. Buckley has a worrisomely tough time laying the groundwork for this premise, but his idea soon yields the exquisitely dizzy, Wodehouse-style mischief that is his specialty.

Library Journal

Though the plot loses steam toward the end, the premise is original, the dialog crackles, and Buckley doesn't disappoint in the humor department.

Booklist - Donna Seaman

Starred Review. With delectable, smart-talking characters and a devilishly clever story line, prizewinning humorist Buckley...has created a scrumptiously shrewd and hilarious political satire that takes bold measure of the newly widening generation gap and politics even worse than usual.

Reader Reviews

Breanna Farrell

judge a book by its cover :))
Many say "Don't judge a book by its cover", but when I was wandering through the aisles of the library and saw this brightly covered book I thought to myself " I can read this.". Now I'm not an avid reader, I don't read a lot or of freedom ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

A Short History of Social Security in the USA

  • The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935.
  • In the 1960s the age when men were eligible for retirement benefits was lowered to 62 and health coverage was extended to Social Security beneficiaries aged 65 or older.
  • One in six Americans (45 million) receives a Social Security benefit, almost 1 in 3 beneficiaries are not retirees.
  • About 98% of all workers ...

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