Jack Sullivan is perturbed by a “diabolical” prank. Someone keeps replacing toilet paper so it rolls backward instead of forward, and he’s determined to identify the provocateur. But what unrolls in Joe Barrett’s DAISY IN THE DOGHOUSE is a satirical diatribe about greed that is meant more for adults than kids.
Jack is an internet start-up success taking time off to write a book about “the rigged world of high finance.” However, writer’s block makes him nap a lot. Jack preaches to his children about the economy’s ills and answers questions such as, “What do corporate lawyers and investment bankers do?” (Nothing good, he answers.). The characters of DOGHOUSE seem over-the-top and unreal, but they make the novel’s ideas easier to swallow. Also, it’s important to note that it isn’t just the corporate “parasites” that are at fault in the gospel of Jack. “Don’t you think that the people who get taken advantage of should be doing something about it?” Jack asks his 12-year-old daughter Daisy not realizing what he is setting in motion.
Unlike her dad, the written word flows freely for Daisy. She has a secret blog about her parents’ responses to strange tests she sets up (the toilet paper). The blog, Daisy in the Doghouse, has garnered more than 30,000 followers with the help of her 10-year-old brother, Sam, a programmer, hacker, and website designer extraordinaire. With encouragement from Dad, Daisy turns to talk about America’s financial imbalances, including corporate abuse of pension funds. An economics professor who follows her blog provides plentiful data to fuel unrest. Other readers give Daisy’s blog and its ideas a boost by planting red plastic doghouses on their front lawns. It isn’t long before Amazon is marketing the doghouses for what has become a nonprofit movement for social change.
DAISY IN THE DOGHOUSE is a tour de force—a demonstration of the internet’s ability to brand and expand a social movement into a viral marketing frenzy. Barrett has plentiful, real-life experience with such matters through creation and management of media companies involved in retail branding. And he possesses a snarky wit that is fun to watch unroll.
Joe Barrett’s DAISY IN THE DOGHOUSE is serious about America’s social ills, and it wraps up its message in a dark, yet witty send-up of the digital age.
~Alicia Rudnicki for IndieReader