I named this post a tentative book review because I confess that I haven’t yet finished Albert Brooks novel “2030”. I am a little more than 3/4’s into the book and though I find it to be very well written and engaging, I haven’t reached the punchline yet and I am still waiting wondering when and how it will appear. I say punchline because I have always associated Albert Brooks with comedy, not fall down laughing comedy, more a thinking man’s comedy, but comedy nevertheless. Albert Brooks has had a varied body of work. He has written and directed several films such as Modern Romance and Defending Your Life. The last one is one of my favorite movies of all time; not only is it an optimistic view of the hereafter, but it also informs you that in heaven you get to eat what you want and never gain weight and everything tastes as the most phenomenal bite that you could ever imagine. The whole point of defending your life isn’t about not going to heaven; rather it’s about entering heaven only when you have become the best possible you and not a second before. Essentially your flawed life allows you for a do over until the day when you finally get it right. As I said optimism in all of its glory.
I associate this vision of the world with everything that Albert Brooks does so when my sister gave me his book “2030” for Christmas. I was first and foremost excited and second I was intrigued as to how he was going to weave a story in the future. As I said it is very well written, the characters are interesting and the themes are universal. You would imagine that a medical miracle, the cure for cancer, would be cause for monumental celebration but after some time it is no longer just a celebratory occasion. The cure starts to produce issues and devastating problems the world over and the issues aren’t what I had expected. The quandary revolves around the resources pie and who gets a share of the pie and what to do when there isn’t enough pie to go around. Another question is when do you outlive your usefulness to yourself and to others? Is there a point that if you aren’t set up for longevity economically, you shouldn’t be allowed to continue living on the government’s dime? As I said, I am still waiting for the punchline and I have a sinking feeling that there isn’t going to be one.
I am enjoying this book because I appreciate the questions and issues Albert Brooks raises throughout the book. It is thoughtfully written even when it is pitting the young ones against the “olds”. Within the book, I can’t help but feel empathy for the younger generation who are born into a society that no longer has any opportunity left unless you are already from a wealthy family. In my opinion it’s showing what has happened throughout the industrialized world but depicted as if on steroids.
I am not the book reviewer that my dear friend Jackie Paulson from getreadingnow.org is and I’m sure that if she read this her review would be far superior. I am essentially simply airing out my thoughts and impressions on a very well written novel by an interesting man.