Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review - The Global War on Morris by Steve Israel

The Global War on Morris: A Novel by Congressman Steve Israel
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (December 30, 2014)

When a member of Congress pens a book, it usually means that they are running for higher office, mainly President.  This is not the case for Steve Israel.  Instead, he writes a political satire that isn't just witty but also ripped from the headlines.

This is a guy that's met the characters and heard the conversations, not to mention the government dysfunction, too.

In The Global War on Morris, Israel takes us back on a time machine to 2004 when George Bush was running for re-election against Democratic nominee John Kerry.  President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Scooter Libby play a big role in the novel.  It may be fiction but I could certainly see them using such dialogue.

The principal character in the book is Morris Feldstein, a pharmaceutical salesman that lives and works on Long Island.  He loves the Mets, Turner Classic Movies, and his wife, Rona.  Morris prefers things stay how they are.  He's not a guy who prefers to watch the news and he hates to argue.  His wife, Rona, may want to change the world but he prefers life as it is.

"If Morris clung to any philosophy," Israel writes, it is "'Don't make waves.'"

Seduced by a lovesick receptionist while making a visit to a doctors' office on his sales route, Morris succombs to a moment of weekness and ends up charging a non-business expense on his company credit card.  It's easy to see how this isn't a big deal.  Not in the eyes of the government.  It's a very big deal and changes Morris' life as he knows it.

NICK, the giant supercomputer that is part of a top-secret government surveillance program, has other plans for Morris.  NICK puts Morris' life together--friends, family, friends' friends, traffic violations, his daughter's political activism, his wife's patients, and even failures in romance--and suddenly, Morris is the target of every federal agency with an acronym.

This debut novel from Congressman Israel is hilarious and the rights have been acquired by Rob Reiner and Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and they will develop it as a cable comedy series.

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