Glenn Beck has written a novel. Or, more accurately, he's written a second novel. His first, The Christmas Sweater, tells the story of a 12 year old boy who gets a sweater for Christmas. His second, The Overton Window, which hits bookstores June 15, is a bit more complicated. A kind of Ayn Rand lite, Beck's novel tells a political parable about a Tea Party-like conservative group that saves America from a secret liberal plot. The book's trailer -- yes, it has a trailer -- has been compared to "a cross between 'The Cat in the Hat' and 'Left Behind.'"
Reviews of "The Overton Window" are scant, but liberal media watchdog group Media Matters was able to secure an advance copy and proffer a review. The 3,000 word review, full of lengthy excerpts from the novel, is probably not much shorter than the book itself, which is very short. It's no surprise that Media Matters didn't like the book, but their review, which singles out "ten moments that define The Overton Window as the truly and remarkably awful novel that it is," pulls no punches. They write in one instance:
As we've already seen, Molly was hired on as a temporary mail clerk at the Gardner PR firm, a position which, at first glance, wouldn't seem to enjoy a high level of security clearance. It turns out, however, that this particular PR firm sends and receives all its super-secret and highly classified memos via the U.S. Postal Service. So by that strange quirk, Molly was given the opportunity to steal a classified government memo detailing a nefarious plot to put Americans into concentration camps.
They also reproduce some choice excerpts, including the love scene below, which they introduce, "I don't know about the rest of you, but after I kiss the girl of my dreams for the first time, the very next thing I want to do is discuss with her the virtues of the flat tax."
He bent to her, closed his eyes, and her lips touched his, gently, and again more urgently as he responded. He felt her arms around him, her body yearning against his in the embrace, a knot like hunger inside, heart quickening, cool hands at his back under the warmth of his jacket, searching, pressing him closer still. With everything to see and hear around them there at the very crossroads of the world, soaring billboards, scrolling news crawlers, bright digital Jumbotrons that lined the tall buildings and blotted out the whole evening sky, it all disappeared to its rightful insignificance, flat as a postcard. That place was left outside their small circle, and if asked right then he might have stayed there within it forever. But he felt her smile against his lips as they were brought back to where they stood by the brusque voice of a passing man, who advised in his native Brooklynese that maybe they should go and get a room.
A light drizzle had begun to fall, and down the block they found a coffee shop with two seats by the window where they could wait out the patch of rain. When he returned from the counter with their cups he found her sitting with a folded newspaper, not reading it but lost somewhere in her thoughts. It was a while before she spoke.
"I was starting to worry you'd forgotten I was here."
Molly took a deep breath and seemed to collect herself for a moment.
"I need to ask you something."
"If we hired you, your company, what would you tell us to do?"
He frowned a bit. "You mean if you and your mom hired us?"
"It's more than just the two of us, you know that. A lot more."
"I don't know," he said. "What is it you want to accomplish again?"
"We want to save the country."
"Oh. Okay. Is that all?"
"That's where we start, isn't it? With a clear objective."
"Okay. Let me think for a minute."
Molly had become deadly serious; this wasn't party talk. She didn't take her eyes from his as she waited.
"I guess;' he said, "I'd begin by sitting down with all these different groups and trying to focus everyone on the things they agree on -- the fundamentals. A platform, you know? Make it easy for people to understand what you're about. Propose some real answers."
"Give me an example."
"I don't know-start with the tax code, since your mom is so passionate about that. How about a set of specific spending cuts and a thirteen percent flat tax to start with? Get that ridiculous sixty-seven-thousand-page tax code down to four or five bullet points, and show exactly what effects it'll have on trade, and employment, and the debt, and the future of the country."