A secret underground city at the border, a preacher that can raise the dead, and a drug dealer with a new product that let's you speak to god. Everything's free, but everything has a cost. NEVER WORK, NEVER DIE.
To be honest, this is less likely to be a review, and more me just trying to see how many different ways I can say "I love this, buy it, borrow it, read it, love it with me" because damn. It managed to be everything I wanted it to be, yet went further, and did more than I had even hoped. It gave me those same feelings of excitement I had the first time I read Orwell, Vonnegut, and Burroughs, but possibly even more so because it's contemporary, it's here, and it's now. UNAMERICA takes the American Dream to the absolute limit that even at it's most bizarre, still feels too familiar for comfort. Capitalism run rampant, overflowing prison systems, immigration, and drug culture all collide and merge creating an environment where a revolution is unavoidable.
The characters are a fascinating and eclectic mix, and the writing is incredibly sensory and readable. I was constantly full of questions and curiosity, but never so much that I felt lost or frustrated (which can be a tough balance to pull off successfully). Thematically, it has it all. So much so trying to think of where to even begin is overwhelming, but in the best possible way. It's the kind of book my mind doesn't want to stop mulling over and examining--it's got serious meat on it's bones and I don't want to stop chewing. One of the elements that I really keep returning to is that it takes the classic "culture vs. counter culture" idea, and exposes them for the same thing, just with two different marketing campaigns. While that's not new in the real world, it certainly feels fresh in dystopian fiction. I honestly didn't think I'd see a book like this published in our era, and this could just be me being an ass (and most likely is), but I just assumed that stories like this were left in the days of A Brave New World and A Clockwork Orange. So to have that spirit here and now, with it's own style and it's own message for our current environment--I can't overstate just how happy that makes me.
The term "instant classic" gets thrown around so much as to be rendered essentially meaningless, but for me, UNAMERICA is truly deserving of it. Read this book!
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