Disclosure by Michael Crichton

Posted January 28, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Disclosure

Disclosure

by Michael Crichton

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf on January 13, 1994
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Target Age Group: Adult

Rating: ★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

A brutal struggle in the cutthroat computer industry; a shattering psychological game of cat and mouse; an accusation of sexual harassment that threatens to derail a brilliant career…this is the electrifying core of Disclosure.

At the center: Tom Sanders, an up-and-coming executive with DigiCom in Seattle, a man whose corporate future is certain. Until: after a closed-door meeting with his new boss — a woman who was his lover ten years before, a woman who has been promoted to the position he expected to have — he is accused of sexually harassing her. Now he finds himself trapped between what he knows to be true and what he knows others will assume to be the truth. And, as he uncovers an electronic trail into the company’s secrets, he begins to grasp just how cynical and manipulative an abuse of truth has actually occurred…

 

Disclosure is a tricky book.  Early on, I almost put it down because I was truly afraid it was about to be a train wreck.  Historically, I like Michael Crichton.  Or, at least, I enjoy his Jules Verne-esque ability to zero into science aspects of science fiction and create an intriguing, unique thriller.

I own a bunch of Michael Crichton books, largely because there was a library book sale and they were all there and I plucked them up without abandon.  Disclosure ended up being one that I would not have read if it was not there for a dollar and I recognized the author.  The book was so far out of my wheelhouse – there’s corporate manipulation and sexual harassment and just… it’s messy.  It’s messy.

At the beginning, I was worried it was going to turn into one of those pompous dialogues about how women are entrapping men with sexual harassment claims and how it’s a biological “fact” that men and women are wired differently and blah blah blah.  You know the talk.  I put down the book at one point and googled “Michael Crichton sexist” because honestly?  I didn’t want to read a book where the story was a thin veil for a lecture about how men are the real victims here.

Ultimately, I stuck with it.  Google reassured me, and I took a leap and decided to trust it. I’m going to take a biota an unpopular opinion here… the book was not misogynistic bullshit.  It was a gender swapped situation with good arguments realistic obstacles.  It wasn’t perfect, and could benefit from some education, but it wasn’t the worst.  And, since it was written back in 1994, this was before the #MeToo movement.  That also gave me pause… but it was handled okay.  Not perfect.  But okay.  It was over the top in many ways, but it does show a side of the story seen less frequently, from a victim far less often believed.  As far as the issues contained here, both sides have something to say about Disclosure.  Some readers will feel it’s anti-feminist.  BookRiot actually talked about this last year, so it’s worth checking out their article.  I agree with a lot of their points and I think this could have been an effective narrative, but it certainly comes off as defensive.

Let’s move past the sexual harassments themes and talk technical stuff.

All that said, I felt like Disclosure was rushed.  Crichton claims in the afterword that the novel was based on a real court case, but I’m not sure which one.  The beginning of the book positively dragged, with over a hundred pages of set up for a tech company and a whole lot of drivel about CD-ROM drives.  While CDs were progressive in 1994, they are quaint artifacts these days.  The book relies so heavily on this up and coming technology that it dates itself horribly. Even the “advanced” tech of the VR world – which we are still growing and developing in 2020 – has flaws.

So much of the story is told in dialogue that it’s difficult to relate to the characters.  I’m not totally convinced that Tom is a good guy although Crichton goes above and beyond and way out of his way to make sure the reader identifies Meredith as a villain.  Her actions are so over-the-top that it’s almost cartoonish.  The aspects that make this a thriller came off as convenient to me and I was not impressed with the “twist”.

Generally, while I will still recommend many of Crichton’s books, this one really feels like a soapbox money-grab to me.  It’s not enough for me to boycott him (Jurassic Park, c’mon) but it’s also just… not… good.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting:
Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★
Writing: ★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★

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Disclosure will be donated

This is my first book of 2020 where I have to give it a hard pass.

I kind of knew going in that I really wasn’t this book’s ideal audience (see: middle-age white male) but as I often enjoy Crichton’s science, I still wanted to see what was in store.  Ultimately, as you can see from the review above, this was not a good fit for me and it’s not one I would read again.  This one goes into my donation bin where it will remain until I donate it to my local library where it will either join the collection, or be sold again at a book sale to earn money for the library.

Poor unloved book.

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Have any authors you like written books you can’t get behind?  I think it’s bound to happen every once in a while – we are all human and therefore fallible.  Tell me which of your favorite authors has let you down in the comments.

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