Frederick Ellis,
with Carl Frederick,
The Oakland Statement
(Synergy International, 2000)

I don't usually detest books. Even if a book is bad, I still admire the author for actually finishing it. The Oakland Statement changed all this. For the first time in my life, I have found a book that is a complete and utter waste of the paper it was printed on. Everything about it reeks; the writing, the dialogue that makes me want to take out my own eyes so that I can't read it anymore, the story that just won't end.

I suppose there's a chance that I just don't get it. Perhaps the authors intentionally wrote this way, aiming for a new way of sharing their story. Unfortunately, at least for me, the result ranks as No. 1 on my list of Worst Novel Ever.

The Oakland Statement is the story of a group of revolutionaries determined to force a Constitutional Convention, the first in more than 200 years. After many discussions over pizza and beer, while smoking joints (these people smoke a lot of marijuana) and watching belly dancers, the "Oakland Statement" is born. Their goal is to add two amendments to the Bill of Rights: the right of the public to "the most equitable methods of a representative electoral system" and the right of the people to "participate in the creation of the national wealth." In order to fulfill their objectives, they call on their fellow Americans to form small brigades and inflict as much damage on the nation's electrical power supply as possible in order to force a Constitutional Convention.

Having decided on a mission and a means to accomplish it, our heroes get to work. While fishing, they learn how to break the entrance codes to gain access to their first target; they start surfing the Web to learn how to build bombs. Using stolen dynamite, they blow up the transformer station and knock out power to the entire state of Arizona. The town only 8 miles north of the power station wasn't affected, somehow, but that might simply have been so the heroes could go to the bar and have some more beer.

These attacks (I lost count at 230) continue, and support for the Oakland Statement grows. The politicians grow increasingly nervous. Over the course of the book, Colin Powell, General Schwartzkoff and Al Gore make appearances. Eventually, a Constitutional Convention is called. To make a long and very tedious story short, the revolutionaries get everything they want.

I've judged 3rd-grade writing competitions that produced better prose (no offense intended to those young authors). I would highly suggest that the authors find a decent copy editor before their next publication to try to stop the flow of grammatical errors. I would also highly recommend that the authors learn how to write coherently, create interesting characters and develop a story that doesn't wander aimlessly for more than 300 pages.

My recommendation for those who are actually thinking about paying money for this book is this: take your $20, tear it up into little pieces and flush it down the toilet. You will be much happier for it.

[ by Crystal Kocher ]
Rambles: 6 April 2002

Buy it from