There’s so much in this book.
First, it feels so incredibly real because it’s reworked on existing history. I want to look up the events on Wikipedia, even though many never happened. Roth weaves his own coming of age into the story, and the characters feel so incredibly real. Each character unique — brought alive in details from accent to body language. It’s Roth’s father, his mother, Alvin and Sheldon, and Phil himself.
As a story itself though, The Plot Against America is somewhat disappointing. The first quarter is fantastic, but after that, it falls flat and doesn’t fulfill the hype that lived in me. The ending felt like an afterthought, rushed and sudden.
But like many of his books, Roth plays with the question of “What is the American Identity?”. Here, topics are woven together such as global politics, identity, antisemitism, and the way rhetoric is used in the media. Despite this being alternative history, reading this book I learned so much about real history too. It is a harrowing read — especially after the 2016 US Election and the 2021 Storming of the Capitol.