Official Review: Independence Girl by Matt Lambert

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Tomah
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Official Review: Independence Girl by Matt Lambert

Post by Tomah » 19 Nov 2019, 12:01

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Independence Girl" by Matt Lambert.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Kevin Allen Faye is a political consultant and lobbyist who goes on a trip to Belize with Teddy Rose, his friend. They meet Terra Nicholas, a charismatic woman who happens to be the first-born citizen of independent Belize. Lacking opportunities in the US, Kevin suggests that Terra run for president, with him managing the campaign. Though Terra has no relevant experience and Kevin barely knows anything about Belize’s laws and politics, that doesn’t stop the gang from trying. Will our protagonists win the election despite having the entire political establishment against them?

Matt Lambert’s Independence Girl is best described as a tragicomedy. Its absurdist view of contemporary politics makes it one of the oddest books I’ve read this year. Whether this oddity is a good or bad thing will depend on the reader. Even now, I’m struggling to find words to properly convey my feelings about it.

If you enjoy character-driven narratives, this novel is likely not for you. The characters aren’t particularly deep or even all that likable, but they’re not supposed to be. Kevin, in particular, is a caricaturesque political strategist whose schemes are as questionable as they’re hilarious. At one point, he even invades a school just to use the chalkboard. The other characters are also quirky and amusing, even if not exactly relatable.

The book thrives on dry and dark humor, as well as political satire, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Some of the main themes are the rising wave of populism and the influence of social media on politics, both of which Kevin loves to exploit. Another point of contention is the novel’s ending, which is quite dark and seems to come out of left field.

Besides following the characters’ shenanigans, Independence Girl also spends a lot of time introducing the reader to Belize and its culture and history. We learn about historical spots, the country’s political structure, and much more as the story progresses.

There are two things I disliked about the novel. The first is that the plot takes a while to start; the first few chapters are more of a travel diary than anything else. The second is the unfortunate number of errors in the book, ranging from misplaced punctuation to run-on sentences and extraneous words.

I rate Independence Girl 3 out of 4 stars. Even though it was a very different reading experience, I ultimately enjoyed myself aside from the poor editing and the slow beginning. I don’t recommend the book to readers who dislike politics or prefer well-developed and likable characters. If you like the sort of unique sense of humor present in the novel, you might have a great time, especially if you’re interested in Central America. There are a few profanities and some sexually suggestive content (though no sex scenes per se), so the novel is unsuitable for young audiences.

******
Independence Girl
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Ekta Swarnkar
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Post by Ekta Swarnkar » 22 Nov 2019, 11:38

This book is not for me as I'm one of those who falls in love with the characters. Thanks for a wonderful review!
You live your dreams in the characters of the books you read. :techie-studyingbrown:

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Post by Deepa09k » 22 Nov 2019, 13:20

Very informative review! I'd probably enjoy the book because of politics genre and the other things you mentioned! I will definitely give it a try once I find the chance to do so!

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Post by unamilagra » 22 Nov 2019, 23:27

I don't usually go for political books, but this one sounds strangely intriguing to me. Thanks for a very thorough review!

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Post by La Cabra » 23 Nov 2019, 06:03

Good characters are very important to me, underdeveloped ones drive me a bit mad honestly. But your description of Kevin really intrigues me, doesn't everyone love a quirky, hilarious character? The only 'political' books I've read are fantasy novels like Game of Thrones; I think I'd like to check this out some time.
Great review as always, Tomah!

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Post by Tomah » 23 Nov 2019, 10:41

Deepa09k wrote:
22 Nov 2019, 13:20
Very informative review! I'd probably enjoy the book because of politics genre and the other things you mentioned! I will definitely give it a try once I find the chance to do so!
unamilagra wrote:
22 Nov 2019, 23:27
I don't usually go for political books, but this one sounds strangely intriguing to me. Thanks for a very thorough review!
La Cabra wrote:
23 Nov 2019, 06:03
Good characters are very important to me, underdeveloped ones drive me a bit mad honestly. But your description of Kevin really intrigues me, doesn't everyone love a quirky, hilarious character? The only 'political' books I've read are fantasy novels like Game of Thrones; I think I'd like to check this out some time.
Great review as always, Tomah!
Ekta Swarnkar wrote:
22 Nov 2019, 11:38
This book is not for me as I'm one of those who falls in love with the characters. Thanks for a wonderful review!
Thanks for the comments! I can see why fans of character-driven narratives wouldn't like this very much, but if you're interested in political satire, it can be worthwhile.

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Post by Aniza Butt » 24 Nov 2019, 11:45

Surely not my kind of book as i am not a fan of political novels but i am glad you liked it.
Thanks for the review Tomah ☺
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Tomah
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Post by Tomah » 24 Nov 2019, 12:52

Aniza Butt wrote:
24 Nov 2019, 11:45
Surely not my kind of book as i am not a fan of political novels but i am glad you liked it.
Thanks for the review Tomah ☺
Thanks for the comment! It's certainly not a novel that everyone will enjoy.

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Post by AvidBibliophile » 24 Nov 2019, 15:24

The dark humor and odd shenanigans do seem like they'd make a quirky blend, and while I am not one that generally enjoys stories about political strategists or politics in general, I certainly enjoyed your review of it!

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Tomah
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Post by Tomah » 25 Nov 2019, 10:35

AvidBibliophile wrote:
24 Nov 2019, 15:24
The dark humor and odd shenanigans do seem like they'd make a quirky blend, and while I am not one that generally enjoys stories about political strategists or politics in general, I certainly enjoyed your review of it!
Thanks for the comment! Yes, quirky is the right word to describe this novel.

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Post by kdstrack » 02 Dec 2019, 11:38

The culture and history of Belize would interest me. On the other hand, this type of humor and the dark ending make me think twice about picking up this one! Thanks for your honest review of this book.

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Post by Tomah » 02 Dec 2019, 13:30

kdstrack wrote:
02 Dec 2019, 11:38
The culture and history of Belize would interest me. On the other hand, this type of humor and the dark ending make me think twice about picking up this one! Thanks for your honest review of this book.
It's not for everyone, that's for sure. Thanks for the comment!

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