No Good Deed is another title I picked up at the Ottawa Book Blogger Meetup. It seemed like it would be a funny look at the faults and missteps of would-be activists. With all the marches and protests happening in recent months, I thought it might be a good one to pick up.
Gregor Maravilla wants to feed the children of the world. When he gets in to a summer camp for activist teens spearheaded by his hero, tech king and philanthropist Robert Drill, he thinks it’s his chance to really make his mark. But when Drill announces a prize for the best activist at camp, the would-be activists turn on one another. To make matters worse, the only camper who doesn’t think Gregor is a loser is the famous (and rather weird) actress Ashley Woodstone. With an internship at the Drill Foundation, his social life, and his Feed the Children campaign on the line, Gregor faces a chaotic camp that challenges everything he believes about activism.
Let’s get into it…
Goldy Moldavsky introduces us to protagonist Gregor Maravilla on his way to camp. Among his apparently over attentive family members, he certainly comes off as the idealist of the gang. However, he’s also a bit naive and things don’t often go the way he wants them to. His good intentions backfire on more than one occasion and he finds himself a social pariah. But if you’re a fan of an underdog, who perhaps makes some questionable decisions, Gregor might be for you.
There’s a lot to be entertained by in this book. The causes of the various campers, for example, range from the admirable (End Hunger), to the silly (S.P.E.W), to the misinformed (Men’s Rights). To top them all off is Ashley Woodstone’s Eat Dirt campaign (a seemingly deliberate jab at celebrity diet trends). The vast array of causes at Camp Save the World and the campers’ cut-throat pursuits of them form the backbone of Moldavsky’s satire.
Though there’s definitely an edge to the humour in this novel, No Good Deed isn’t overly dark. There’s some optimism to be found in the bond Gregor and Ashley form.
Final verdict: No Good Deed is an amusing satire that pokes fun at social justice warrior mentality while remaining lighthearted.