Love is Not the Answer

A Novel About America

Fiction - Social Issues
342 Pages
Reviewed on 05/14/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

In Scott Mackey's Love is Not the Answer, retired Julia Connor, unassuming in her ambitions, finds herself thrust into an unexpected presidential bid amidst a viral sensation fueled by her and her proteges' call for love and compassion in politics. Both major parties opportunistically vie for the "Love Vote," prompting disillusioned supporters to draft Julia as an independent candidate. Her message of spiritual growth resonates widely, propelling her to unprecedented popularity. As the entrenched political establishment faces upheaval, a motley crew of characters, driven by conflicting motivations, launches a ruthless campaign against the rising tide of love. Caught in this ideological conflict, Julia navigates the turbulent waters of presidential politics, battling for survival against those determined to maintain their grip on power, while the fate of the nation teeters on the brink.

Scott Mackey offers a sharp satire of contemporary political landscapes, dissecting themes that are eerily reminiscent of real-life corporate dominance, political polarization, and the commercialization of activism. Through Julia's proposed policies and impassioned debates, Mackey leans into discussions on systemic reform and challenges besieging American democracy. Still, Julia is a character we want to root for not just because she champions a message of love, compassion, and environmental stewardship, but because she feels like a flesh and blood person in how she tries to wade through conventional power dynamics. Mackey does an exceptional job in fleshing out even ancillary characters, the standout to me being Pastor McMillan, who might just have the best character arc of the year so far, and who can ignore Nancy and her amazing earring choices? Well-written and deeply engaging on multiple levels, Love is Not the Answer is definitely the answer to a reading slump that requires revival. Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Love is Not the Answer: A Novel About America is a work of fiction in the social issues, contemporary politics, and satire subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Penned by author Scott Mackey, the plot follows 72-year-old Julia Connor, an unconventional presidential candidate advocating for love and compassion in politics. Alongside her allies, former special forces operative Jonathan Robinson and influencer Melanie Pedreira, Julia sparks a nationwide movement challenging America's corrupt political systems. As they gain momentum, political parties and corporate interests declare a ‘War on Love’ to maintain the status quo. Amidst the onslaught, Julia navigates the turbulent landscape as election day looms, with the fate of the nation at stake.

Author Scott Mackey has crafted an accessible and enjoyable political tale that weaves together a narrative filled with pressing questions about the nature of power, the role of love in society, and the possibilities of political transformation. Julia Connor's character, with her unique blend of wisdom, idealism, and resilience, serves as a compelling focal point for exploring these themes, and she is wonderfully well-realized thanks to the author’s bold narrative presentation, strong dialogue, and those little nuances of adorable-old-lady-hood that really let her shine. The novel's exploration of love as a force for change in the face of entrenched systems of power is both timely and inspiring, and the levels of ridiculousness that the humor rises to really leave a lasting impression on your mind about how silly people get when power is at stake. Overall, Love is Not the Answer is a thought-provoking journey into the intersection of politics and humanity and I would highly recommend it for fans of intelligently penned satire everywhere.

Gaius Konstantine

Politics do make for strange bedfellows, and Love Is Not The Answer by Scott Mackey offers no exception to this rule. However, it does far more by exposing the faults of a political duopoly that has been reduced to slogans and empty promises, all while catering to the highest bidder. When Julia, a kindhearted woman of years, joins forces with Mel P (a young social media influencer) and Jonathan (a veteran suffering from PTSD), what starts as a publicity campaign for a novel quickly evolves into a political movement that disrupts the status quo. As a result, the entrenched political class and its cronies attempt to co-opt or destroy this new movement. In a society where the media focuses on our differences instead of our commonalities, the choice between a stagnant actuality and a better paradigm sets the stage for a showdown that will determine the future of the United States.

Love Is Not The Answer is a borderline satirical work of fiction that presents an improbable plot but one that becomes more plausible by the day. It's a fast-paced book where the events depicted trigger actions and consequences that spiral to a crescendo. The portrayal of a fickle and disgruntled electorate would be amusing were it not so accurate. Some characters garner empathy, while others, particularly the politicians and their backers, are shown as stereotypical, extreme caricatures. In the process, the author clearly illustrates the buffoonery that some of these partisan hacks embody, creating a feeling of disgust toward them. Delightfully absurd at times, Scott Mackey has crafted a novel guaranteed to ruffle some feathers!