Review: “Bellwether” by Connie Willis

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Bellwether by Connie Willis. Science fiction.

A comedy about a statistician trying to figure out the genesis of fads (specifically, 1920’s hair-bobbing). Plus a little bit of romance. This book seemed like it was made for me! And it was enjoyable, but…I wanted to be charmed more than I was. Academic/office politics satire is…well, it’s been done quite a bit, hasn’t it? I’ve read these jokes before – in everything from Dilbert to Terry Pratchett – and they were funnier. It was Bellwether’s not-comedy parts, about the history of fads, which kept my interest. I don’t know; I’ve read another of Willis’s comedies, and I have to admit her humor might not click with me. Next time, I’ll have to read one of her bleak traumatic tearjerkers and see if that suits better.

I thanked her and went over to the stacks. I picked F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” and a couple of mysteries, which always have simple, solvable problems like “How did the murderer get into the locked room?” instead of hard ones like “What causes trends?” and “What did I do to deserve Flip?” and then went over to the eight hundreds.

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