Friday, September 14, 2012

Twenty Thirty by Albert Brooks

Read while home alone? sure
Tissues needed? nope
Overall rating: 3 stars

It’s 2030 in America and cancer is cured. New medical breakthroughs help people live longer than ever before—seeing age 100 and beyond is not unusual. Sounds perfect. Except all those “olds” are on government assistance and the “youngs” have to work harder than ever before to pay for the olds. Resentment grows, along with despair. Then “the big one,” the biggest earthquake ever, hits Los Angeles. National debt is beyond control; how will the country rebuild?

I liked the idea of Twenty Thirty and I mostly enjoyed reading it, though it wasn’t a quick read. I always think about how great it would be to have a cure for cancer, along with other medical problems, but the ramifications were interesting to consider.  There were many characters in the book, so their various perspectives were represented, including some employees of the all-powerful AARP. I felt like their stories could have been intertwined more cleverly. I was also disappointed in the incompleteness of some of their narratives. Overall a thought-provoking book, but not as well-crafted as I would have liked.

Growing up, the “Jetsons” influenced my thinking about the future; what influenced you?  If medical advances are building blocks for some of the problems in the book, should we work toward those ends? How would you feel/what would you do if you were an old? A young?

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