“…there’s no denying that we’re attracted to the dark.”
Imagine if you read a book about a magician’s career, in which the magician refused to divulge the secrets behind any of his tricks. Well, that’s similar to the feeling of reading this short nonfiction account (the equivalent of a novella), in which two political opposition researchers tell us they’re going to take us behind the curtain of their trade but then never so much as lift it. And yet, they tell us that, “Our hope is that by illuminating the process of opposition research you will be better prepared to cull the good from the bad.” Well, there’s virtually no illumination here.
Instead of telling us exactly how they perform “oppo research,” the team of Huffman and Rebejian take us along on a travelogue. They describe numerous interesting – and sometimes frightening, sometime humorous – experiences they’ve had in places that house official records, like courthouses, city halls, tax buildings, college and public libraries, etc. But they critically (in both senses of the word) fail to tell us how they go about conducting the research in question. What is likely just as big a failing is that for a “tell all” account, they never name the names of the persons they worked for, nor name the candidates they were paid to investigate. What’s left is like the hole in the donut, and it’s not very satisfying.
The account has no structure to speak of; it’s as if the two individuals (who each wrote different chapters) simply dictated random thoughts. I read someone’s comment to the effect that she liked not knowing where the book was going… Yes, and for me that was hardly something positive.
“…we’re being paid to take someone out, literally.”
For me, $16.00 is too much to pay for a book that’s less than a couple of hundred pages in length. I think that We’re With Nobody could have used an editor to provide it with some structure, and who might have prodded the authors to add 125 pages or so to justify the price. Finally, that editor might have insisted on naming the political candidates referenced in this journal, giving the doubtful or skeptical reader (present company included) a chance to do some fact-checking. Who wants to read a non-fiction, supposedly factual account of politics, when the authors won’t tell us who they’re writing about?
A review copy was provided by the publisher. We’re With Nobody was released on January 24, 2012.