In light of the recent political upheavals, I am delighted to review a novel by Morgan Hunt We the Peeps: a Political Caper and Wish Fulfillment.
When seven ordinary citizens are unreasonably detained by the TSA, they
bond over their upset with the government and decide to launch a second
American Revolution. Instead of horses and artillery, they rely on
media distractions, scams, and hacking. They take on green energy,
deregulation, Citizens United and other issues with whimsical yet
hopeful results. We the Peeps is a fun read for all who are interested
in politics, civics, democracy and the American experience.
Writing an effective political satire takes the right balance of factual
awareness, sense of humor, contempt for humanity and healthy
detachment. If the author is too passionate about a particular political
movement, the work of fiction turns into a manifesto or a piece of
propaganda. Fortunately, Morgan Hunt, the author of We the Peeps
dodges that bullet. Intuition tells me that in her daily life she is
leaning towards the left (don't ask me how I know it), she has no qualms
about ridiculing the extremism of the phenomenon known as Social
If you you take wicked pleasure in
trivializing and lampooning "human
suffering" (aka First World Problems), this is the book for you! The
novel features an ensemble cast of misfits from various walks of life,
brought together by fate and united in a cause. Lovers of Sartre will
instantly think of the set up of No Exit, where you have incompatible individuals trapped within one hell circle.
any good satirist, Hunt employs word play. The president's name is
Peabody. (Peabrain is more like it!) A sensitive, ineffectual,
sentimental, ethnically confused, borderline metrosexual, p-whipped (there comes the letter P
again), by his philanthropic ex-fiancee Demetra, who rejects
traditional family in favor of providing medical care to third world
The author resurrects many common questions that are on
everyone's mind but cannot be raised in politically correct society.
Does having an Algonquin great-grandmother allow you to claim Native
American roots? Does a privileged Indian career woman have a right to
speak on behalf of "women of color"? Can a man continue to serve as a Methodist minister even if he comes out of the closet? People massage their heritage and
history to their advantage. The cover features a cute yellow baby chick,
implying that in the world of social media, even puny, squeaky voices
can make a lot of impact.
My only concern is that this clever
book has a shelf life - like all political satires. The novel takes
place in a near future, 20XX. The author makes references to political
figures that are still alive and in power, like Putin. Some
thinly-veiled political runners make cameo appearances, like a certain
billionaire named Hrump (gee, I wonder who that is ...) Ten years from
now these people could be ancient history. But that's the risk that all
writers of political satire take. Their work is biting and catchy and
relevant while the figures are alive and in the spotlight. The "good"
news is that the problems outlined in the book are not likely to go away
any time soon. Terrorism, school shootings, energy crisis are here to
stay. Regardless of where you stand on the political scale, you will
find We the Peeps poignant and witty.