Chris Bachelder’s U.S.! revolves around his infatuation with the late author Upton Sinclair. Although hilariously critical in many of his stories about Sinclair, Bachelder utterly admires the radically Left politician. His entire book is somewhat nostalgic, as Bachelder mourns for the downfall of the radical Left in the United States. Bachelder yearns for a passion like Sinclair’s in modern day political fiction, a genre of writing that has has experienced a downfall in recent years. The entire novel is ironically sarcastic, as Bachelder entwines a hilarious sense of humor in recounting fictitious stories about one of the driest authors to ever attain notable fame. U.S! creates a parallel between Sinclair and Christ. “His spasms continued, as did Tony’s erratic driving and my hapless nursing. This went on for five minutes, maybe longer. Eventually Sinclair’s convulsions subsided to trembling and he tried to say something.” (pp. 5) Just as Christ rose from the dead, Upton Sinclair is resurrected throughout Bachelder’s novel. Bachelder begins his novel in the back seat of a car with Sinclair’s limp body next to him. He instantly pokes fun at Sinclair’s hatred for capitalism. After the narrator gives him a bottle of water, Sinclair questions “‘They sell this?’ . . . ‘You buy this?’ ‘Yes,’ I said. He looked at me as if to ask another question, but remained silent. I could not tell if he was impressed or disgusted.” (pp. 6) Sinclair is demonstrating his contempt for capitalism in the United States. He continues by asking questions about modern day United States, questioning if it was Socialist yet. Just as Sinclair’s novels do, U.S! highlights the discrepancy what the government implements what people actually want. Bachelder expresses his frustration with the difficulties in being a politician in the 21st century.
Sinclair’s story “The Jungle” is an example of melodrama used in politics. It recounts the fictitious tale of Jurgis Rudkus, an immigrant working in a meat-packing facility. He then loses his job and his wife and son pass away. The melodramatic rhetoric used in the Jungle is obvious, and Jurgis finds renewal in joining the socialist movement.
Bachelder wrote U.S! in a melodramatic manner as well. He portrays Upton Sinclair as a victim of the unforgiving, corrupt politics of today’s capitalistic society. Throughout the novel, we see Sinclair struggling to get a grasp on modern society, ending up in jail at certain points.