I was recently given a copy of the novel Off the Reservation by Glen Merzer. While the book was complimentary, this review contains my own thoughts.
The promotional material for the book asks, Is the country ready for its first vegan president? The book is about Evan Gorgoni, a vegan congressman who runs for president.
I was prepared for veganism to be the focus, but it really wasn’t. That Gorgoni and his family are vegans isn’t overtly mentioned until well into the book. Instead, descriptions of their meals (delicious sounding meals, by the way) are slipped in throughout the book. As a nice bonus, 20 recipes for those same vegan meals are included in the book!
The main focus of the book is Gorgoni’s unique political stance. He is against everything we all hate about politics—the empty promises, the meaningless rhetoric, the focus on politics instead of real issues. In fact, he is ready to leave politics because he feels nothing is ever really accomplished until a medical incident results in an epiphany that leads him to run for president. He takes a unique angle for his campaign—truth and decency. He refuses to say anything negative about his opponent, even when something major is revealed to him about his opponent that would seal Gorgoni’s victory. He refuses to make empty promises and admits he doesn’t know how to solve some of the biggest issues, like overpopulation. But he does give solutions that would indeed solve many problems, as in this excerpt:
“President Clinton said, ‘it’s the economy, stupid.’ I say, it’s the food, stupid. We need to eat healthier food, and stop being the sickest, fattest population ever to walk the face of the earth….The elegant solution is always the simplest one. Eat healthy food….Health is more important than health insurance. I will do my best to lead our government towards policies that maximize health, health insurance be damned.”
Yes, it’s true that study after study has revealed the health benefits of whole, quality foods like fruits and vegetables, but can you imagine a presidential candidate saying that? His campaign is met with both enthusiastic optimism from those fed up with politics and anger and outrage over a presidential candidate who doesn’t fit the typical mold.
The book is funny, witty, and very enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down.
Amazon.com is currently offering a Kindle Countdown Sale, with the Kindle version selling at only $0.99, and the paperback price is reduced as well.