Book Review: The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfeld

The Subprimes by  Karl Taro GreenfeldThe Subprimes : What it is about

From the publishers: “In a future America that feels increasingly familiar, you are your credit score. Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have-nothings: Subprimes. Their bad credit ratings make them unemployable. Jobless and without assets, they’ve walked out on mortgages, been foreclosed upon, or can no longer afford a fixed address. Fugitives who must keep moving to avoid arrest, they wander the globally warmed American wasteland searching for day labor and a place to park their battered SUVs for the night.

Karl Taro Greenfeld’s trenchant satire follows the fortunes of two families whose lives reflect this new dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-financially-fittest America. Desperate for work and food, a Subprime family has been forced to migrate east, hoping for a better life. They are soon joined in their odyssey by a writer and his family—slightly better off, yet falling fast. Eventually, they discover a small settlement of Subprimes who have begun an agrarian utopia built on a foreclosed exurb. Soon, though, the little stability they have is threatened when their land is targeted by job creators for shale oil extraction.

But all is not lost. A hero emerges, a woman on a motorcycle—suspiciously lacking a credit score—who just may save the world.”

The Subprimes : What I thought

This was a great read, very funny, even though a lot of the story was so unpleasant. People thrown out of their houses and moved on from place to place, because their credit rate is “subprime”. A man arrested for playing football with his son and some other boys. A big, big fracking machine en route to start digging in a housing estate where a group of subprimes have started a new life.

The story follows both a group of subprimes and two families that are well off. I found it sometimes hard to distinguish between the men in those two families and ended up mixing them up every now and then. But the story lines nicely interact and this story ends with a very satisfying Grand Finale in which all the main characters are present and work towards solving a major problem.

One mysterious woman with incredible powers keeps saving people, by handing them money, solving their problems, healing them. This made the story supernatural. But only as far as that one woman was concerned. In all other respects, most of the story could really happen, unfortunately.

A quick, fun read about injustice and the power of the government and of big corporations. But also a story of people wanting better for themselves and starting a new life outside society.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages: 320

First published: 2015

I got this book: for review from the publishers, Harper Collins

Genre: science fiction, dystopia

Also read by this author: Triburbia


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

4 Responses to Book Review: The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfeld

  1. BookerTalk says:

    it does sound strange to say a book about people losing their homes is funny but then, thats why we need creative writers

    • Leeswammes says:

      Booker, it’s more about after they leave their home than the process of losing their home. Even so, it’s not a good situation to be in.

  2. amberlinde says:

    Just found your blog! You’re Dutch, right? (Me too, he he!) This books sound interesting. I’d love to read it!

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