Meet Jim Haskin. He’s forty years old. He’s worth around thirty-five million. He runs his own San Francisco ad firm, American Weather. AmWe’s image is green and forward-looking: if your product is upcycled or hydro or vegan, they’ll make you an ad. Behind the scenes, though, Jim supports the old captains of American industry; bleach, beer, guns.
But all is not well: Jim’s wife, Denise, is in a coma induced by a drug Jim helped promote. A live-in nurse and former Salvadorian gang member helps him care for her. And Jim’s only child, Connor, has been sent to a boarding school three thousand miles away after assaulting another student.
Orphaned at 14, Jim and his three closest friends grew up at Mr Hand’s Home for Well-Behaved Boys. All have profited from the American Dream. In 2008, on the brink of the Presidential election, the quartet finds themselves short on cash and look to Jim for a solution. The scheme he devises brings together a Death Row inmate, pay-per-view television, and most of America’s major corporations. Everything is set for it to be his greatest achievement yet.
Jim Haskin – what aman! When I first met him in American Weather I was not too sure whatto think – I hated him, then admired him, pitied him and by the endwas so confused that I had to read the book again and ended up mixedup between loathing and admiration!
American Weather is abook I have read, not once or twice but three times – in a row! This is something that has not happened to me for well over a decade!
Jim’s amoral journey is countered by the letters from his son Connor, who is kept far from trouble at boarding school. We never meet Connor and only hear his voice through the letters he writes to his father. As much as I love Jim’s single-minded push for all that is unclean in the world, it is his son’s journey told through letters that provides a glimmer of light.
This book is full of gems, my favourite four pages started on chapter two with Jim introducing who he is and what he does – it is six pages of perfection, at least he is honest about treating the public with the contempt only an advertising genius can muster!
I will just say that you have to pay attention whilst reading this book if you do you will be rewarded with a brilliant read – a pure, vicious satireon the American way of life. I enjoyed it more with each, subsequentreading, this book has it all, hypocrisy, amorality, a vicious senseof humour and a true anti-hero who is so fascinating and funny that Icould not help but cheer him on.
Go on buy a copy and read it – it will make you feel guilty for loving it and you know what? There is nothing wrong with that!