Archive for January 17th, 2012

January 17th, 2012

Taft 2012 by Jason Heller

by Gwen

Taft 2012


Taft 2012 by Jason Heller

  • Can you allow yourself to totally suspend disbelief?
  • Are you as tired of the Presidential Rat Race, I mean election, as I am?
  • Let’s go back to that suspending disbelief question, can you really let yourself go?
  • Do you enjoy alternative history or mash-ups?

If you are still with me, welcome to Taft 2012.

On March 4, 1913, when President Wilson was being inaugurated, outgoing President Taft just up and vanished without a trace. They never found him and he never was the Chief Justice of the  Supreme Court or anything. They ended up burying an empty casket and moving on.

Fast forward to the Fall of 2011 and the big man himself suddenly appears out of nowhere. What ensues is a light political satire that is enjoyable only if you totally let yourself go and have fun with it.

History is re-written, small barbs are thrown at real political figures and the media, real problems are treated in a light-hearted and often flippant way and a few classic movies are totally mangled in the process.

Yes folks, I finally learned that I do have a line in the sand when it comes to fiction and mash-up like books. You can mess with Pride and Prejudice by adding zombies, you can turn Kakfa into a kitten for all I care, but there is one little thing you can not do. You can not mess with Citizen Kane or Meet John Doe, two of the best movies ever made. That made me angry in an irrational way that is hard to admit and even harder to explain. So, I won’t try.

I like Taft 2012, or maybe I liked the idea of the book and where the author was trying to go. The problem was I had to constantly tell my brain to let go of each and every rational brain cell and I think that good satire can be made with creativity, not by stealing plot lines from old stories and movies. Yes, somebody said that every story has already been told, but that doesn’t mean you can just change the names and call it your own. You have to make it your own. (and FYI, this is where me calling it a mash-up comes in, the book is a mash-up of a lot of borrowed plot lines.)

So, for some light reading and to see what it might be like if a progressive Former President was to step up to the microphone today, read Taft 2012. If you can turn your brain off, it will be a short fun romp. If you can’t…you too can write a totally murky post about not messing with Gary Cooper, Orson Welles, and Frank Capra like I did. Taft came out as a good guy though and that’s nice. The poor man is often overlooked or put down when it comes to Presidents, when really he was just a victim to bad timing and the juggernaut of Teddy Roosevelt.

Disclosure: The moment I heard about this book, I started bugging Quirk Books to send me a copy. They did and I hope we can still be friends after my review.