Hate Book Club: The Overton Window


This edition of Hate Book Club, Brian and I decided to read The Overton Window: A Thriller by Glenn Beck. Shockingly, it was not particularly thrilling. As with other celebrity-authored novels I’ve read (except for yours, Tyra, MODELLAND 4EVER), Beck seems to have looked at the most popular books in his chosen genre, and then just made a kind of bland half-assed version of one, relying on his celebrity status to sell copies. To me, this was worse than usual, since so many of the most popular books in the thriller genre are ALREADY so bland and half-assed. Like, this book was no James Patterson or John Grisham, and I already think those books are only readable on a 12-hour plane journey if all of your other books have committed suicide. So there’s that.

But, as always, before I delve into all of the hilarious quotes I found for you

And there were many

And there were many

The rules of Hate Book Club dictate that I have to say three nice things about it so:

1) The dialog often made me laugh. It wasn’t supposed to, but I’ll take my enjoyment where I can find it.
2) The cover isn’t horrible

Pictured: Not horrible

Pictured: Not horrible

3) Glenn Beck actually provides a lengthy list of citations in the back where you can go for more information about some of the things he references. INCLUDING a restaurant where his protagonists eat once. I wish more novels did this, because I’m a scientist and I love a good bibliography.

You don’t really need to know much about the plot. I bet you could give me a plot outline yourself with just the guidance “Glenn Beck thriller”. Basically, Noah is 28 and content to work in his dad’s evil empire PR firm until he meets Tea Party activist Molly, who uses him to access his dad’s secrets and then decides she loves him. Also there’s some drama about a fake nuclear attack the government is staging to justify a power grab, but that has shockingly little to do with our main protagonists, and gets resolved without their help at all. The real star here is, of course, the terrible writing, starting with main character Noah, who is an amazing attempt at writing a believable 28-year old. Here is how Glenn Beck introduces him to us:

Noah had all the bona fide credentials for a killer eHarmony profile. (7)

Because eHarmony is where you kids are hanging out to find hookups these days lololol. Also, in his first scene he takes a trip to the vending machine and:

Noah’s opener… was punctuated by the thunk of his Tootsie Roll into the metal tray of the candy machine. (10)

I’m sorry, it’s only page ten and I can’t suspend my disbelief anymore. A TOOTSIE ROLL? I can’t. Of course, Noah’s dialog conforms more to the middle aged man child authoring him than anything real 28-year-olds would actually say:

“I think I got the whirlies there for a second.” (170)

Not that lady protagonist Molly is written any better. Here’s how Beck introduces us to her:

Something about this woman defied a traditional chick-at-a-glance inventory. Without a doubt all the goodies were in all the right places, but no mere scale of one to ten was going to do the job this time. (10)

ALL THE GOODIES IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES. I hate the world that caused this phrase to be.

Naturally, Molly’s appearance is fixated on as often as possible, and I guess it’s instructive to see Glenn Beck’s idea of a perfect woman:

The next picture seemed more recent. Molly was alone, wearing aviator sunglasses, a backward baseball cap, cut-off Daisy Dukes, and a camouflage tank top. In her hands was what looked like a military-grade automatic rifle with a drum magazine, held as if it were the most natural accessory a pretty young woman could be sporting on a bright summer day (200)

So put these two hot young things together, and you’ve definitely got some spicy action, right? Oh you ignorant peasant. Here’s how they flirt at their first meeting:

“So Noah comes home after he finally got all the animals into the ark, and his wife asks him what he’s been doing all week. Do you know what he said to her?”
“No, tell me.”
Molly patted him on the cheek and pulled his face a little closer.
“He said, ‘Honey, now I herd everything.'”(14)

Swoon. They also spend more than a page laboriously doing a crossword together, which is just as boring to read about as it sounds. Naturally the sexual politics are hella fucked up. After a traumatic night in jail, Molly asks if she can sleep in Noah’s bed:

“Do you mind?”
“No, not a bit. It’s just like that time my aunt Beth took me to the candy store and then wouldn’t let me eat anything. I didn’t mind that, either.”

“Suit yourself, lady. I’m telling you right now, you made the rules, but you’re playing with fire here. I’ve got some rules too, and rule number one is, don’t tease the panther.”(114)

YOU’RE PLAYING WITH FIRE, MOLLY. STRETCH THE WRONG WAY AND I WILL RAPE YOU. I WON’T BE ABLE TO HELP MYSELF because I am a manchild and you are a candy store or some sexist bullshit.

Of course, the Tea Party gathering they visit is an idyllic utopia of diversity:

The diversity of the gathering was another surprise; there seemed to be no clear exclusions based on race, or class, or any of the other traditional media-fed American cultural divides. It was a total cross section, a mix of everyone–three-piece suits rubbing elbows with T-shirts and sweat pants, yuppies chatting with hippies, black and white, young and old, a cowboy hat here, a six-hundred-dollar haircut there–all talking together, energetically agreeing and disagreeing (51)

And all the people there who seem belligerent or racist or in any way terrible are really government plants trying to start something.

But the best scene in the entire book is when Noah and Molly are trying to flee the city, and Noah decides the easiest way to board a plane is for Molly to pretend to be Natalie Portman.

“It’s perfect. She’s an A-lister but she’s done mostly art-house films so the average Joe probably couldn’t pick her out of a lineup.” (229)

Yes, who would recognize THE Natalie Portman from such obscure art-house films as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and V for Vendetta. Unfortunately, Noah notices a problem with their plan as they attempt to go through security and he notices a particular guard:

“Are you kidding me? That’s a Star Wars geek if I ever saw one.”
Maybe it was the Luke Skywalker blow-cut, his mismatched socks below the nerdish cut of his high-riding uniform trousers, or the soul patch and horn-rimmed glasses, but everything about this man was screaming king of the fanboys, and that was really bad news.
“I don’t understand–”
Noah lowered his voice even more. “Natalie Portman is in all three of the Star Wars prequels.”
“You’re remembering this now?”
“I guess I hated those movies so much I’d blocked them out of my mind. But I’d bet my last dollar that dweeb knows Portman’s face like the back of his hand. You don’t understand these guys; he’s probably got a candlelit altar in front of her picture down in his mother’s basement.” (233)

Yes, because only friendless losers who conform to some 1970s stereotype of nerdom like Star Wars. Glenn Beck has clearly never been on the internet or interacted with anyone under 40. If you’re curious, they get out of this by quoting Star Wars at the guard until he completely believes that Tea Party drifter Molly is Natalie Portman. They do have a lot in common:


Overall, my reaction to this book is:


Don’t forget to read Brian’s review!!!!

Previously: Grinding in Greenville

2 responses to “Hate Book Club: The Overton Window”

  1. […] It’s time for a new installment of Hate Book Club! If you need a refresher, Patricia Ladd and I are reading books we think we will hate, and then reviewing them. Each post has to include a graph, a summarizing GIF, and at least some positive comments (sarcasm is allowed). I’m also doing little report cards at the end. Here’s a link to her write-up. […]

  2. Wow this book sounds almost AGGRESSIVELY stupid

Site and contents are © 2009-2018 Patricia Ladd, all rights reserved. | Admin Login | Design by Steven Wiggins.