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  • Syrup
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on July 23, 2001
Syrup is the kind of book that surprises you. Not only was it a new type of fiction for me (corporate politics), but it grabbed my attention from the very start -- two things that I didn't think would go together. I enjoyed the entire concept and laughed and got fired up with every turning page. So, yes, a book that I thought would only be a pleasant time-passer has surprised me. Never again will I look at marketing in the same way.
Scat, an unemployed marketing graduate, has come up with a million-dollar new soft drink idea. Immediately taking the reigns, Scat embarks on a mission to make his idea become reality. He markets his idea to the Coca-Cola Corporation, who in turn is very interested and willing to pay big bucks for the trademark rights. Well, if it were only that easy.... Trouble comes in the form of his roommate, Sneaky Pete, who vies for a position on Coke's corporate ladder, sending Scat roadblocks at every turn. New Products Marketing Manager, 6 (her actual name), befriends Scat in his time of need. Sparks begin to fly as revenge is played out in full-force.
Reading this book was like the best rollercoaster but without the long lines and unstable equilibrium. Chapters are interspersed with clever marketing snippets that can definitely change the way you think about the products you see advertised on television. Syrup was chock-full of behind-the-scenes scoop of the corporate world and all the dirty tricks that can be played in order to get ahead. Very juicy and hip. Read this novel and be enlightened....
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on January 17, 2005
After reading Jennifer Government and being completely and totally enthralled with the no frills look at the corporate world, I was hooked on Maxx Barry's writing. I set out to find his second title, which actually was written first, Syrup.

From the moment I picked it up, I was hooked. The book is organized in a way that the story is told in a series of events that daisy chain upon one another and the plot never stops. Scat and 6 are well formed characters that exploit various facets of the personas in the book with great flair and subtle charm. Their defiance of all odds keeps you routing for their sucess even in the bleakest of situations.

This book is a quick read and a whole lot of fun. You're reading the story of Scat and 6 before you're actually processing the corporate dance in which they are so entwined.

I really enjoyed reading this book and can see myself reading it again in no time.
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on October 4, 2010
I read this book not knowing what the plot would be. I found it randomly while reading a site for literay quotes, and I loved Barry's quote about "gorgeous women." The quote alone was enough for me to purchase, and the second I received it, I started reading.

I have not read a novel that I didn't like in some way. "Syrup" is no different, but it was lacking in a few areas for me. First, I feel that the characters have only one dimension. Scat himself is a man who does not change, and I felt very little for his character. Meeting 6 made his character even more difficult to follow. 6 herself was someone that I found no connection with, even at the end. Barry could have kept her flaws, which in turn, are great strengths in the world of Coca Cola and made her more identifiable (oh no, I'm using their jargon).

Secondly, the transitioning was... awful. I think the reason this was such a quick read is because there was absolutely no authentic transitioning. One minute Scat is with Cindy and the next, he's with 6 again, and there's no moment of reflection for him. This is just what pleases me aesthetically as a reader. Although Scat explains what he's going through, I don't feel that it's authentic. This is the main reason I didn't fall in love with the book. It's too ironic for its own good.

Some of the dialogue was clever, and I did laugh out loud a few times. I would recommend this novel to someone in high school, but for someone who's looking for a very quick read. I read this within a day and found it to be enjoyable, but it wasn't the novel that I was hoping for.
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on July 17, 1999
Not only did Syrup manage to make me laugh out loud in the first chapter, I read it with a permanent smirk and certainly didn't want to put it down.
Having been a victim of advertising many a time, I gained great satisfaction at this comical and satirical look at the lengths Scat, '6' and Sneaky Pete go to in order to create the ultimate consumer product. Especially amusing are their antics to try and stay a step ahead of their knife-you-in-the-back peers.
While fun was poked at the marketing industry by often showing the stereotypically shallow side of marketing execs, the eccentricities of each character added to the humour and entertainment value of the novel.
All in all, a fantastic read!
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on December 12, 1999
This is the kind of book that high school seniors and college kids should read, whether they're stoner slacker waiting to get asked to the prom or 4.0s at MIT. This is the kind of book that will make these kids, whoever the hell they are -0 change their majors to marketing in an instant after reading. It's true to life, the situation are nothing but pure REALISM in it's most base contexts, this book has it all - well except tons of sex, but if it makes you feel better it has a teeny bit. And the charcaters in this book fits pretty much all the people in the world, so no one that reads this book can say, "Well, if it's so real how come I couldn't identify with just one situation in here! ". It's got it all, it's flaunting it all, Maxx Barry's debut is pure genius. PLEASE WRITE ANOTHER ONE ASAP
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on May 23, 2013
Perception is reality. But the reality is that this is a very good book. I admit that I liked Jennifer Government a little better, but this is still a great read. At times the main character, Scat, is a bit of a irritation, but Sneaky Pete is a good bad guy and I'm in love with 6. Great job Maxx Barry.
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on April 26, 2012
Having first read Machine Man, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I chose to read Syrup after reading several favorable reviews. I found the premise of the book and the cynical view of Marketing and big corporations enjoyable. I also liked the naming of the Characters: Sneaky Pete, Skat, 6, @. How could a book with character names like that miss? But I found the climax of the book a little disappointing. After a huge buildup, the ultimate defeat of Sneaky Pete was a little too easy. And the characters didn't seem to have much depth. What was Sneaky Pete's back story? How did he get to be Sneaky Pete? Why was 6 so closed about feelings and relationships? We will never know. I did enjoy the book, just not quite as much as Machine Man, but I will be reading more Max Berry.
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on September 22, 1999
I was determined to find a novel, one that I would actually read. So I read the blurb of every book that's cover caught my eye until I came to this one. I opened up the jacket and there were the words, in big bold letters, I WANT TO BE FAMOUS. From that moment the book just got better and better, capturing every single part of me. Usually it takes about 50 pages for me to even somewhat enjoy this book. But from the first sentance i was hooked. This book is excellet, i coudln't put it down, I would read during breaks at work and on days when I would normally sleep past ten, I would wake up at eight o'clock with an urge to grab my book find a place to sit and just read. It was amazing, never before had a read such a compelling novel.
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on June 4, 2001
Every once in a while a book flies in under your radar. Usually, it's been recommended by a friend, or worse, an acquaintance who thinks you'd just love it. You've never heard of it, the cover looks suspicious and you just know that, if it were any good, the publisher would have spent more money and effort marketing it. But to be a good friend or acquaintance you just have to read the darned thing, especially since you've shoved at least four "great" books down this person's throat over the course of the last couple of years.
"Syrup" by Maxx Barry is just such a book. A friend gave it to me because I studied Marketing in college, thinking that I would find it more hilarious than might the average Joe. I was going to do my usual book-borrowing routine (read a chapter in the middle, then hand the book back saying "It was great, but I especially loved the part where...", then quote chapter on verse on the small part I actually read),but something terrible happened...I became interested. I actually laughed. Out loud.
As has been mentioned, this is the story of Scat (who changed his name to "Scat" in order to become wealthy, powerful and famous), developer of great Marketing ideas, his partner and object of unrequited love, 6, and their arch-enemy, Sneaky Pete. The three wage war on the landscape of Coca Cola Corp. in LA.
The trouble with just about any novel in which the characters must come up with brilliant ideas is that the ideas are generally only good within the confines of the novel, where the writer can edit out any realists who might claim, "Um, that couldn't possibly work in this context." But that's a small suspension of disbelief to make when the payoff is this much fun.
Scat, frankly, is an idiot. But an idiot with charm. 6 is unkind, but crafty, and warms up. Sneaky Pete is...well, nothing. He's a cardboard villain with no real personality. But that's okay, he serves his purpose well.
There's no real depth to this book, but that's okay, too. It's hilarious and warm and sweet and worth a good look. If you get the chance, buy the hardcover, as the cover on the trade paperback is absolutely distracting and ridiculous.
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on March 20, 2004
I read this book in 4 frickin hours. That's how good it is. Seriously. It is amazing. It's a hilarious, outrageous, fast-paced satire that doesn't require a lot of thinking but the social commentary on the absurdities of capitalism and the followers of it, i.e. marketers, is in-your-face. By the time I read the first page, I was hooked. It is fun, intelligent, and unpretentious and that's why I will recommend this book to anyone who can read.
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