I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A group of state employees discover who they are and dream big in author Scott Semegran’s novel “To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel”. Here is the synopsis:
This is the story of J. D. Wiswall, a sincere young man from a small town, who joins a state government agency in a data entry department comprised of quirky clerks. Quickly endearing himself to the diverse group in Unit 3, J. D. learns his coworkers have a pact to share the $10,000 prize if they win a cost-savings program for a suggestion that could save the government money, in turn helping them rise above their own personal struggles. A multimillion-dollar cost-savings suggestion is accidentally discovered by J. D.’s supervisor, the goof-off alcoholic Brent Baker. This lucrative discovery catches the attention of crotchety Governor Dwayne Bennett, a media-hungry demagogue, who turns the coworkers of Unit 3 into props for his selfish political reasons. The publicity surrounding the clerks piques the interest of a newspaper reporter, Esther Jean Stinson, whose investigative reporting threatens to reveal the governor’s career-ending secret, as well as jeopardizes the prize that the clerks so desperately desire.
Along with J. D. and Brent, the lives of the amiable coworkers in Unit 3 are revealed. There is Rita Jackson, the kind matriarch of her large brood, who spends her time outside of work caring for her five struggling children and thirteen wily grandchildren. Then there’s Deborah Martinez, a single mother to a felonious son, who struggles to keep her head above her sinking financial woes. There’s also Conchino Gonzalez, a quiescent giant of Mexican and Japanese descent, who street races at night to relieve worries about his ailing grandfather in Japan. Finally, J. D. has dreams bigger than his small hometown can provide, and Brent wants nothing more than to drop the bureaucratic routine to become a rock star with his bar band.
A few blocks away from the agency that houses Unit 3, Governor Bennett, a smarmy politician who whizzes around the Governor’s Mansion on a gold-plated wheelchair, parades the unwitting clerks in front of the local media in an attempt to raise his sagging poll numbers. But reporter Esther Jean sees through the governor’s bald-faced motives and uncovers secrets not meant to be revealed. Will her revelations keep Unit 3 from receiving their elusive prize?
From award-winning writer Scott Semegran, To Squeeze a Prairie Dog is an American, modern-day tale with working-class folks—part fable, part satire, and part comedy—revealing that camaraderie amongst kind-hearted friends wins the day over evil intentions.
This book was very well done. A classic literary tale filled with humor and down to earth characters, readers will instantly connect to the characters that make up the book’s core group, Unit 3. The struggles and personalities of each character were both relatable and recognizable, making the story feel real and personal to the reader in a unique way. The story was not only funny in many spots, but also was a great story of greed, dreams and hope for a better tomorrow, all themes explored throughout the novel.
The novel also does a great job of exploring those in power who use everyday people to get ahead in their own personal goals. Politicians, state employers and those enchanted with greed all seek to further their own gains, but this book does a wonderful job exploring what happens when a makeshift, dysfunctional family works together and stays true to themselves to overcome the odds. The writing in this book was real, honest and funny, and did an incredible job painting a picture of these individuals and the life they led.
This is a must read for anyone who enjoys classic, American literature. A real world look into the life of state employees in the state of Texas and the everyday people who come together to make the system run smoothly was a fascinating read. Filled with humor, wit and relatable characters, there was something for everyone in this book. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel” by Scott Semegran today!
About the Author
Scott Semegran lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, four kids, two cats, and a dog. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English. He is a bestselling, award-winning writer and cartoonist. He can also bend metal with his mind and run really fast, if chased by a pack of wolves. His comic strips have appeared in the following newspapers: The Austin Student, The Funny Times, The Austin American-Statesman, Rocky Mountain Bullhorn, Seven Days, The University of Texas at Dallas Mercury, and The North Austin Bee. Books by Scott Semegran include Sammie & Budgie, Boys, The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood, The Spectacular Simon Burchwood, Modicum, Mr. Grieves and more.
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