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Book Review: I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President - by Josh Lieb

Updated on April 3, 2010

I recently finished reading one of the oddest books, I have ever read... I am a GENIUS of UNSPEAKABLE EVIL and I want to be your CLASS PRESIDENT. This quirky and original tale by Josh Lieb (executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) keeps the wheels turning, and the pages as well, from start to finish.

It is the tale of young Oliver Watson, of Omaha, Nebraska. Oliver, a middle school student, struggles with his image as a slow, overweight, dork-ish boy.

He loves grilled cheese, his Mom, and his dog, Lollipop. He hates his "Daddy" (his self-proclaimed "arch-enemy"); and in order to ruin his father's most pleasant teen-aged memories of being Class President, Oliver decides to win his own school election.

At this point, the half dysfunctional/half average layers are stripped away and we learn that Oliver has a lot more to be concerned with. Not only does he want to win the role of eight grade class president, he has designs on world domination. He is secretly, afterall, the 3rd richest person in the world.

As this story unfolds, we learn more about Oliver's everyday life as a general dweeb at his middle school and about his secret, underground empire. For the first few chapters, I was honestly.... confused. I wasn't sure if I loved the book, or hated it. It was certainly off-kilter, much like the majority of the characters we meet inside its colorful red, white and blue covers. But, even as I exclaimed to my husband "so WEIRD! this book is just SO weird!", I couldn't stop turning the pages. By the time I finished my first night of reading, I was hooked. I had to learn more about Randy Sparks, "the most pathetic boy in school"; Tatiana, "the meanest girl in school", Mr. Moorehead, the struggling, if passionate, English teacher who starts living his life based on secret messages typed on the papers of his cigarettes (placed there by Oliver's minions, of course.) I wanted to see if Principal Pinckney, would ever get his coveted, rare Boba Fett action figure and if the African dictator who currently owns it would have his revenge. And, as daft as I find the concept... I really wanted to know whether or not Oliver would win his election.

The off-beat humor in this book had me laughing my way through each chapter, and, despite his obvious short-comings and his purely evil schemes to rule the world, I found something so very universal and basic about Oliver that I actually started rooting for him. Halfway through the book we begin to wonder... is Oliver really looking to crush his father, or simply to find acceptance? The book itself is remarkably insightful, and peppered with humorous anecdotes, gutter-themed one-liners and even nuggets of wisdom, like my personal favorite below:

"Important days don't look like anything special when they start. Invariably, the sun rises and people wake up. Coffee is swilled and eggs are swallowed. Everybody goes about the business of acting like their lives matter and then, no matter how important the events of the day end up being, the sun invariably sets. The sun rose before the soldiers stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day, and the sun set after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed. Sunrises and sunsets are real jerks about putting things in perspective."

[I might even make that last line a tshirt.]

Jon Stewart says about the book: "If War and Peace had a baby with The Breakfast Club and then left the baby to be raised by wolves, this book would be the result. I loved it."

Judd Apatow says about the author: "Josh Lieb is on one of the great brave journeys in American literature. Or maybe he just signed my name to a blurb he wrote. Either way, you have to admit he's brave. And the book is hilarious."

And, I say: "Read this book. Go click the Amazon links, and purchase it immediately. You won't be sorry. (Although, you may be sorry if you don't... Oliver Watson's mercenaries may be waiting for you later.)"


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    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from PA

      Thanks for the input Mboy. It is quite a good read!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have read this book. I think that this is one of the best books I've ever read. I love the thought of a seventh grader being he third (later in the book fourth) richest person on earth. Keep posting good hubs thoughtfulspot!

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from PA

      kyBlue - Thanks! Please stop back and let me know what you thought.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You have peaked my curiosity. This will be the next book I read.

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      Thanks MinnTwin, and I'm glad you enjoyed the review. If you read the book, check back and let me know what you think!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      This book sounds like something I would enjoy. It sounds very differen't and creative. I really liked your write up on this. You did a fantastic job.

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      Thanks Cheeky Girl! Glad to find someone else who enjoyed this book. I read the movie rumor recently as well, I'm interested to see how this would play out on the "big screen."

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      I read this book! The character in it is quite amazing - shades of South Park's "Eric Cartman" character there I think. Obnoxious and wants to rule the world, except he's a total "Doosh" according to those who know him! I hear there is a movie being planned! It has some neat one-liners in things like "Don't taze me, Bro" and "The maternal instinct is strong in this one", a passing nod to the Star Wars one-liner spoken by Darth Vader, when he said darkly, "The Force is strong in this one." Great hub! Nice to see a great book recommendation in Hubs. Cheers!

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      Ralwus - If you do, let me know what you think. I'm dying to talk to somebody who has read it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      May have to pick that one up. Thanks

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      Thanks Origin. If you are looking for "different" this book is the way to go. Glad you enjoyed the review. I'd also suggest the book series by Gregory Maguire if you haven't read them. (He puts a new spin on old fairytales and is the author of Wicked [WAY different than the musical storyline, but its based on his book.])

    • Origin profile image


      8 years ago from Minneapolis

      I've always liked books that go off in a new and refreshing direction, and I would say a book about an young boy plotting world domination would be one of them haha. Good write up!

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      It certainly is Paradise. It was a definite departure for me, and now I'm seriously considering some of the books in the Amazon links above that are in the same vein... I think I've found a new genre to enjoy!

    • Paradise7 profile image


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Wild and strange, and it really does sound like it's worth a read. Thanks!

    • ThoughtfulSpot profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from PA

      laurel - If you check it out, I do hope you enjoy it. I picked it up because it was discounted at the grocery store, and the blurbs amused me... I really wasn't expecting anything of it. It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hi, ThoughtfulSpot! I am looking for a book to read at this very moment, and this sounds fantastic. I love 'odd,' and humor would be very welcomed in my life at the moment.

      Thanks for your insight!


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