Is everything a coincidence? Is change as simple as flipping a switch?The novel Jennifer Government starts off showing the title character investigating the murder of 14 teens at a Nike Store.Upon investigating, Jennifer finds that the liaison of Nike, John Nike is pulling the strings.He uses, murders, and manipulates people such as Hack Nike and Violet ExxonMobil to get his way in a world where big corporations rule. We witness what happens when a person is subjected to our current society.
Max Berry shows in his novel how people change through the actions of others.’ Jennifer Government has multiple storylines that intertwine that come together to create a compelling novel. Two main storylines are Hack and Violet. The very first person we meet is Hack Nike. In this future world, the retail companies have so much power that the employees adopt the corporations name as their own last name so since Hack works for Nike, his full name is Hack Nike.
Due to the water cooler breaking down in his department, Hack finds himself getting a drink of water in a different department. He ends up being tricked into signing a contract that says he’ll do anything the Marketing Executives, both by the name John Nike, want him to do. As his first job, he must go into a Nike store and kill a minimum of 10 people as part of a marketing campaign. Being the shy, timid, person Hack is, he goes to the police and pays them to do the killing. Hack may have avoided personally killing 14 people, but he still feels responsible for it and wants to do anything he can to get back at Nike. Hack revolts.
Through Hack, we also meet Violet, his girlfriend.She creates a computer program that can hack a network through their security programs (e.g., Avast! antivirus database, Mcafee, etc.).
She sells her program to the software company ExxonMobil for three million dollars but first must hack U.S. Alliance’s database. US Alliance is a group of companies such as Nike, Mcdonalds, Pepsi, and others. When John Nike realizes where the attack is coming from, he goes after Violet and ExxonMobil.
John Nike murders Violet’s employer right in front of her, which effects her. Violet goes crazy; partly from the trauma, partly from greed to get her three million dollars. Eventually, she stoops to kidnapping Jennifer Government’s daughter. Jennifer is a government agent who is in charge of “The Nike Murders” investigation that Hack initiated. For the government to investigate crimes, they must find funding through other means. In order to do this,Jennifer goes to a victim’s parents who agrees to fund the investigation.
With her funding, she pursues John, who is gaining more and more power and is getting harder and harder to catch. All of these different story lines come together to create a complex novel, and to illustrate how lives intertwine to create everyone’s individual storylines. Change can come through maturity, experiences, or a change of attitude. In the beginning of the book, the characters are innocent people going about their lives. “Hack was a Merchandise Distribution Officer.
This meant when Nike made up a bunch of posters, to caps, or beach towels, Hack had to send them to the right pace. Also, if someone called up complaining about missing posters, or caps, or beach towels, Hack had to take the call. It wasn’t as exciting as it used to be.”(2) Hack seems to be simply existing. After dealing with the contract between him and John Nike, and realizing how much he hates being pushed around by people such as John, he gains a confidence. Though he was once timid, he gains the confidence.
He first starts noticing this while looking for his car and being forced to confront a receptionist. “‘Can I use your phone?’ asks Hack. She looked at him doubtfully. Hack resisted the urge to drop his eyes. Instead he met her gaze with what he hoped was force and natural authority.
‘Um… sure,’ the receptionist said. She slid the phone across the desk. ‘I really shouldn’t let you though.’ She smiled… He tried not to show his surprise. Hack had never gained such results in his life.” (157) When Hack decided he wasn’t going to be some pushover, he gained a confidence that enabled him to stand up for himself.
Hack is changed through a change of mentality. Berry uses Violet as a symbol of what our current shark tank society’s actions can stress out, enrage, and almost completely destroy a person. Violet is starting to break down mentally and emotionally due to the trauma placed on her; “‘I am calm!’ she shouted. ‘For me, this is very f***ing calm.'” (281) Like many people, her stress causes her to lash out and make rash decisions.
That very stress starts showing physically. “She spat again and again. When she was done there was a sticky red pool [of blood] on the kitchen floor. Violet stared at it.” (261).
Due to the actions of others in such a cutthroat, greedy society, Violet becomes stressed and that stress destorys her physically and mentally as a person. A single action has the power to change the course of people’s lives. When all is said and done, even after the consequences of those actions have been faced, people are never the same in the end. Actions make change inevitable.