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

March 30, 2010
By Fiona Kelly BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
Fiona Kelly BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

What if one of the most powerful and influential people in the world was secretly a twelve-year-old in middle school whose top priority was running for Class President? What if this particular seventh grader was the staple class idiot? These questions are answered in the hilarious book "I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President". The combination of unique plot, various settings, and relatable characters makes this book a worthwhile read.

In this story’s universe, seventh grader Oliver Watson from Omaha, Nebraska is the third richest person in the world. He owns land and companies world wide and has hundreds of thousands of employees under his control. Even though he is the self-proclaimed smartest person in the universe, Oliver finds himself desperately trying to scrounge up a decent amount of support so he can win the title of Class President—a title that his father won in the tenth grade and now desperately clings to. Throughout the book, Oliver has to learn where he places his priorities. He feels himself becoming more and more like a twelve-year-old as his focus shifts from his six year plan of world domination to being a seventh grader. Oliver claims that winning the class presidency means nothing to him and it is merely part of his plan to seek revenge on Daddy, proving to him that even his son (whom he believes to be dim-witted) can be voted Class President as well. However, Oliver often gets close to the breaking point throughout his campaign and despite advice from the few who know his true identity to back out while he still can, he ignores them. This allows the reader to decide where on the spectrum of love and hate his feelings for Daddy lie. Though the story is fiction, everyone has a side to his or her personality that is like Oliver. Everyone has a malevolent side that wishes he or she could rule the world and have the power to smite those that they loathe. It is because of this that the story is relatable and can manipulate the reader’s emotions as easily as Oliver can manipulate the world.

Most books about middle school bring up painful memories of going through awkward physical transitions and the ever dreaded superlative labels placed on the most absurdly gauche of the socially clumsy. The book "I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President" is set in a middle school, but has a saving grace of being able to separate its main character from the dirty under-belly of junior high. Although Oliver is a middle school student, he is often in places other than his school. When Oliver is at school, he is frequently in secret passages or rooms within the school that he has created for himself. By putting this separation into the setting of the story, the author not only adds a factor of fantasy to the book, but allows the reader to escape to places he or she wanted to run away to during his or her middle school years.

The characters in this book are seen only from Oliver’s point of view. Whether he has a vendetta against one person or enjoys the personality of another, Oliver always has strong opinions and feeling about the other characters. However, the character that Oliver has the strongest feelings for is his dog, Lollipop. Though Lollipop is nearly one of Oliver’s many employees, he also treats her like most people treat their pet dog. Two other prominent characters are his parents, Mom and Daddy. The most interesting relationship in the book is between Oliver and Daddy. Oliver names examples throughout the book of Daddy resenting and only pretending to love him. Although this would normally make Oliver set a sadistic plan of revenge against the perpetrator, the reader sees Oliver desperately trying to win Daddy’s attention by winning the class presidency. Oliver does like his mother, though, believing he is not capable of love, claims to not love her. Nevertheless he does truly care about her and manipulates the world with his money and industry so she can get everything that she wants—including a son whom she believes loves her. Other characters in the book have varying relationships with Oliver that change throughout the book. The people in this book (classmates of Oliver’s in particular) are people that everybody who has grown up knows or once knew. Reading about and meeting the characters is the equivalent of paging through a yearbook (the experience is enhanced by also being an evil genius).

By reading "I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President", a person (evil genius or otherwise) can revisit seventh grade in a way they never have before. This quirky book takes the reader on an adventure that has him or her laughing and enjoying the book all while feeling everything that Oliver feels. It’s the type of book that through the characters, storyline, and situation has the reader constantly turning the page.

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This article has 1 comment.

Parent said...
on Nov. 20 2012 at 2:45 am
  Shame on teachers...if that's you, shame on you! Ok, so I couldn't answer the above question correctly because they did not give me the choice of not appropriate or under age content. I chose language but honestly let's face it...morals is really what I wanted to pick. My daughter is being made to read this book as part of her grade 8 English class curriculum and I am disgusted that a teacher would choose this book to teach English. Seriously. Need I say more. As and adult I can search to find the humor in this story, however in our day and age of cyber bullying and anti bullying causes do we really need to teach our children with content like this. The author may think this is funny however the situation I find myself in with my 13 year old daughter being subjected to this without choice is unspeakably evil.  

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