From Publishers Weekly
Cox came to fame in 2004 as Wonkette, a D.C. insider whose blog injected (and still injects) levity and sarcasm into the earnest national political scene. In her snarky fictive debut, it's August in a presidential election year, and Kerryesque nominee John Hillman has failed to wow the Democratic convention. Worse yet, Hillman is under attack from the Citizens for Clear Heads, who claim that the candidate, as a student, took part in mind-control experiments, and now may be under someone's control. Campaign staffer and heroine Melanie Thorton must divert the media from the Clear Heads story before it destroys what's left of Hillman's appeal; she also hopes to rekindle her affair with a high-powered (but married) reporter. Desperate to distract the press (and herself), Melanie creates Capitolette, whose wholly fictional blog describes paid sexual dalliances with elected officials. (Cox's early blog link to Washingtonienne, whose exploits match Capitolette's exactly, set in motion the chain of events which would reveal Washingtonienne as real Hill staffer Jessica Cutler.) Wanting to keep the Capitolette story going, Melanie and her best friend find a (very) willing D.C. waitress and teach her to play the role of Capitolette—a role she embraces, in bedrooms if not online, as unintended consequences pile up. Cox aims for a light comedy of Washington power, halfway between Primary Colors
and Sex and the City
. Her powers of plot construction, though, don't match her political savvy: emotions are predictable, plot twists few. Fans of Wonkette's wit will find themselves better served by her blog—unless they want to revisit August 2004 as seen from the Kerry campaign, which few real Washingtonians (and even fewer Democrats) want to do. (Jan.)
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This first novel, by a former writer of the political blog Wonkette, aims at being a satire of Washington mores but comes off as Beltway chick lit. Melanie Thorton, a campaign worker for a Democratic Presidential candidate, is bored with her job, her life, and her affair with a married journalist. She launches a fictitious Internet diary intended to expose the seamier side of Washington life. When the career of the fake blogger, Capitolette, takes off, the deception comes to light. The situation is rooted, slightly, in real life: as Wonkette, Cox created a scandal when she linked to the blog of a Senate staffer who dished about her sexual escapades. But there's something self-defeating about a roman à clef that deals with people who were pseudonymous in the first place. And the plot's many twists just add more bones to the skeleton rather than fleshing it out.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker