Everybody Shrugged, by Walt Pilcher: #BookReview.


354 pps
Genre Fiction/Political/Literary humour.

Humour in any book is a gamble. We don’t all see with the same eyes. Whilst this novel rarely made me laugh out loud, I did smile and grin a lot, so it was a positive experience. That it managed this while dealing with such issues as government incompetence (this in a fictitious USA, rather than the ongoing real incompetence currently occurring there and in UK), narcissistic leadership, the corrupting power of leadership, and the proliferation of dangerous substances that have never been checked for safety, is testament to the author’s skill in writing.
The story moves at a good pace and covers a lot of ground. Often, as I read US novels, I’m confused by jargon. Here, apart from the obvious military acronyms, I was rarely lost.
The characters are wonderfully crafted. I loved the frustrated and repressed Leticia and her forlorn would-be lover, George. Dr Lavager, the criminally insane scientist on a mission to ban everything in the cause of his own glorification, is a warning to all academics who care more for their careers than for humanity. The sad figure of Wong Lee, a man of mixed Irish and Chinese descent, could hardly be other than he is, given his speech problems and upbringing. And the dreadful, arrogant, vain and deluded Tony Farina is a scream. I enjoyed the fact that he was far more worried about the potential use of foul language from his soldiers, substituting ‘nuts’ for all known expletives, than he was about the potential deaths of millions on the success of his mad scheme.
There’s a lot going on in this story. It sheds a darkly humorous light over the machinations of both politics and the military mind. Relationships are amusing and varied, with some romance among the many other groupings. The incompetence of the many secret agencies at work in the world is highlighted with great humour, too.
I enjoyed this book. It’s a great read; a funny book with an underlying serious message or two.


[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]