Book Review: "Pharmacology"
It follows aspiring writer Sarah Striker,a young woman who moves from Kansas City to San Francisco after she finds out that her father has cancer. She leaves her home life behind in order to pursue a writing career and hopefully make enough money to help her family with her father's medical bills. Soon after her arrival, she moves into a large house with several druggies and vampires and soon begins working at a hip cafe. At around the same time she begins producing a 'zine called "Luddite" an underground magazine about adventures in the city.
Everything begins to come together once Sarah loses her job at the cafe and begins working at an advertising agency. The agency represents pharmaceutical companies and its aim is to market the newest drug for the epidemic of the time: Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD). The agency aims to market the new FDA drug to a younger audience and views Sarah as the perfect person to help meet its goals. Here Sarah is introduced to the internet where she finds outs its advantages and its faults. She begins to discover the intentions of the agency and begins revealing the truth of the corporate world in the "Luddite."
Herz creates a first-person style that allows the reader to enter a time that is widely unknown to many of today's younger audience: a time where the internet is in its initial stages. It gives a gritty look at life on the streets of San Francisco and the troubles that abound in a city of that size. It introduces different kinds of eccentric characters at the same time revealing the turmoil of the youth culture in the early '90s.
"Pharmacology" is a bold and edgy dive into a world dominated by corporate greed that eventually consumes the person who seeks to expose it.
Although set in the early 1990s, its theme of the impact of the role of technology, the internet and corporate greed on the youth seem to be more relevant now than ever.
Reach reporter Denise Gonzalez here.
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