Mini-Review: Wolverton Station, Joe Hill (2014)

December 3rd, 2014 12:32 pm by Kelly Garbato

Cheeseburgers and Entitlement

five out of five stars

“I knew by the smell of you. You Americans have different accents – your southern accent, your California-surfer accent, your Noo Yawk accent.” Affecting an atrocious faux-Queens accent as he said it. “But you all smell the same.” […]

“What do we smell like?” Saunders asked.

“Like cheeseburgers,” said the wolf, and he barked with laughter. “And entitlement.”

When Saunders, aka “The Woodcutter” – a hatchet man for global coffee company Jimi Coffee – spots a wolf on the platform as his train pulls into Wolverton Station, he’s hardly surprised: his London trip has been plagued by protestors angered by the expansion of Jimi Coffee into British borders. Saunders’ M.O. is as ruthless as it is simple: find a quaint mom-n-pop store, set up shop nearby, and slowly but surely drive them out of business, even if it means running at a loss for months or even years. First Main Street, then the world. For this he earns a seven-figure salary, even as black and brown children labor in Jimi Coffee’s factories for mere pennies. The giant Uncle Sam effigy, complete with a larger-than-life, pink-as-a-baby’s-bottom penis? It comes with the ribbon cutting.

While the Wolverton stop includes some other rather alarming hints (chaos, mayhem, screams of terror from the rubes in general pop), it’s only when a well-dressed businesswolf plops down next to him in first class that Saunders realizes that the wolves are actually wolves, not just well-meaning but naive hipsters decked out in rubber wolf masks. With this, Saunders enters a fairy tale universe, where predator becomes prey – and suddenly he’s the little guy, going up against a whole pack of Big Bads.

“Wolverton Station” is a rather cheeky and enjoyable tale that’s two parts politics, one part horror – a commentary on commercialism, cultural imperialism, and the exportation of the American diet, punctuated by the occasional evisceration. There’s actually quite a bit less blood and gore than I anticipated, but in a good way.

The best part: there isn’t a whole lot of back matter in the ebook, so no abrupt surprise ending to leave you feeling cheated.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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