Taft 2012 (Jason Heller) – Review

Taft 2012.Taft 2012 by Jason Heller
Age: Adult
Genre: Fiction / Alternative History
Source: Kindle e-book / library loan
Publisher: Quirk Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781594745508 / 320 pages
Find this book at your local library

Howard Taft has lost the 1912 presidential election to Woodrow Wilson. On Inauguration Day, Taft mysteriously disappears and is not seen or heard of again until he reappears in the fall of 2011, nearly 100 years later. As his rebirth sparks controversy and dialogue throughout the nation, he is sudden pulled back into politics as he runs for 2012 presidential election.

For a book with such an interesting premise and a concept with so much potential, this book really flopped. The execution of ideas was not well done at all. The writing is very amateur hour, riddled with cliché scenes and cliché speeches. There is no character development, in either Taft or any of the supporting characters in the book. I did like that the format is in mixed media, ie – news blurbs, interview transcripts, e-mails, Craigslist, Twitter, Secret Service reports, etc. I thought that format gave it more of a real-life take on the modern-day attention span and our modes of information.

I found Taft’s reentry to the world to be seamless and perfect, which just didn’t seem right. Although Heller brushed upon a number of contemporary topics comparing modern society to Taft’s society in regards to:  manners, food, politics and technology, this book felt like nothing more than a thinly veiled jab about the GOP and former President George Bush in particular. There was a nod to the Tea Party in form of the Taft Party (a grass-roots organization of disgruntled Americans) but the story somehow evolved into a rant against processed food and the Fulsom corporation (Monstanto maybe?)

I don’t know if it was because this is first book I’ve read on Kindle, or if its just the style of the book, but it was written more in the vein of fan fiction, than actual fiction. I liked the history elements, it did make me research a few historical points. The concept was intriguing, but the lack of direction and the lack of character development really negated all the potential of this book.

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