The President's Secret IMs

Danielle Crittenden, Author Simon Spotlight Entertainment $9.95 (269p) ISBN 978-1-4169-4749-3
Culled from an ongoing series at Huffingtonpost.com, author and blogger Crittenden (Amanda Bright @ Home) crafts a hilarious, eerily realistic behind-the-scenes online world where heads of state use instant messaging to discuss everything from world events to what's for lunch. Arranged as a series of ""chats"" between Kickass43 (George W. Bush) and a host of newsmakers like Ben16 (Pope Benedict XVI), Sxybritguy10 (Tony Blair) and Ladeezman42 (Bill Clinton, one of Bush's more frequent chatting partners), nothing is off limits. Holding IM meetings with his staff, Kickass43 discusses the Middle East (telling Condeleeza Rice ""hi 5 GF!!; U ROCKD the Mideast!""), the State of the Union address (""we need sum 1 liners rite off the top"") and the Harriet Miers nomination fiasco (""I wuz sposed 2 b nominatin u 2 the IRAQI supreme court""), among other prescient topics. Sharp throughout, Crittenden gives her targets full, consistent characters and keeps several running gags going; for example, vulgarity, emoticons and butchered spelling are reserved for world leaders, while underlings do their best to respond with poise. The premise (that these IMs have been ""leeked"" to the press) and formatting (computer-like graphics, extremely casual text) are clever, but can be hard to understand, and could grow tiresome for readers who aren't up-to-date on IM shorthand or current events.
Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 07/01/2007
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