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The Woody Paperback – October 1, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Peter Lefcourt's fifth novel is a fun, deftly done, slow-motion political pratfall. It's set in the slime pit of Congressional politics--Vermont's junior senator, Woody White, is struggling to get himself reelected. He's besieged by a panoply of problems: his trophy wife is sleeping with a Finnish ice skater of the female variety; Trent Lott's pissed because White bashed his car in the Senate parking lot; he's being manipulated not only by a shady maple-syrup magnate but also the Togolese government; and, the coup de grâce for any Clinton-era pol, he can't keep up a decent erection.

The Woody is a classically constructed farce, with each misstep and muck-up piling on the ones below it, until it seems there's no way anything will work out. But eventually, miraculously, ridiculously, it does. Lefcourt offers enough twists and turns--and winking nods to real-life figures and scandals--to make for an enjoyable ride. Of course, if you take politics seriously, The Woody may be too close to the truth for comfort, but rest assured it's much, much funnier than those real-life shenanigans. The misadventures of Senator White will keep readers at all points on the political spectrum giggling for days. --Michael Gerber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Senator Woodrow Wilson White?antihero of this slickly funny spoof?is in a tough reelection campaign. There's the ethics committee investigation into an old sexual harassment rap. There's the burgeoning affair between his photogenic second wife, Daphne, and a Finnish ice-skater named Sonja. There's his first wife's demand for a chunk of the advance the senator has received for his autobiography. There's the campaign itself, which is badly in need of funds. But Woody's real problem, as the novel begins, is less political and more personal: he's "flatlined" (impotent ) with Evelyn Brandywynne, an attractive prophylactics lobbyist. Lefcourt takes all the disparate elements of the modern-day political scene?the constant search for funds, the schedule that reduces political commitments to senatorial horsetrading?and constructs a comedy with the polish of a very good TV skit, but one that has difficulty finding direction after the initial, establishing jokes. Yet Lefcourt, who specializes in the absurdist name-drop, makes a brave search, crosscutting between a gallery of dour Vermonters who seem to have leapt out of a Coen brothers movie and the D.C. scene, which in Lefcourt's version centers on a tight circle of gay staffers. The main joke here is that Ishmael, Senator White's chief of staff, is straight but is hiding it in order to find out the latest D.C. gab?and so it goes. Balzac it's not, but in his second novel in a row (after Abbreviating Ernie) to treat on penile anxieties, Lefcourt continues to show his talent for staging farce, Hollywood style.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671038559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671038557
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Lefcourt

Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are "Cagney and Lacey," for which he won an Emmy award; "Monte Carlo," in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental "Danielle Steel's Fine Things," and the underrated and hurried "The Women of Windsor," the most sordid, and thankfully last, miniseries about the British Royal Family.

He began writing novels after being declared "marginally unemployable" in the entertainment business by his agent. In 1991 Lefcourt published "The Deal"--an act of supreme hubris that effectively bit the hand that fed him and produced, in that wonderfully inverse and masochistic logic of Hollywood, a fresh demand for his screenwriting services. It remains a cult favorite in Hollywood and was one of the ten books that the late John Gotti reportedly ordered from jail.

Subsequently he has divided his time between screenplays and novels, publishing "The Dreyfus Affair" in 1992, his darkly comic look at homophobia in baseball as a historical analog to anti-Semitism in fin de siecle France, whose film rights The Walt Disney Company has optioned twice and let lapse twice in paroxysms of anxiety about what it says about the national pastime and, by extension, Disneyland.

In 1994, he published "Di And I," a heavily fictionalized version of his love affair with the late Princess of Wales. Princess Diana's own step-godmother, the late Barbara Cartland, herself no slouch when it came to publishing torrid books, declared the book "ghastly and unnecessary," which pushed the British edition briefly onto the bestseller lists. "Di And I" was optioned by Fine Line Pictures and was abandoned after Diana's untimely death.

"Abbreviating Ernie," his fourth novel, was inspired by his brush with notoriety after the appearance of "Di And I." At the time he was harassed by the British tabloids and spent seven excruciating minutes on "Entertainment Tonight." He was subsequently and fittingly bumped out of People Magazine by O.J. Simpson's white Bronco media event of June, 1994.

Lefcourt's research on a movie about the 1995 Bob Packwood scandal was the germ for his fifth novel, "The Woody." He saw the former senator's battle with the Senate Ethics Committee as evidence of the confusion in America regarding appropriate sexual behavior for politicians. Packwood became a sacrificial lamb by getting his dick caught in the buzzsaw of the zeitgeist.

His subsequent book, "Eleven Karens"--an erratically erotic fictional memoir of his love affairs with eleven women, all of whom happened to be named Karen, was published in 2003. He is still defending himself in a number of law suits brought by several of the apparently insufficiently fictionalized Karens.

He followed that with "The Manhattan Beach Project," a nominal sequel to The Deal, in that it follows the adventures of that book's hero, the intrepid Charlie Berns, who finds himself broke and attending meetings of the Brentwood chapter of Debtors Anonymous. Charlie manages to sell a reality TV show about the daily life of a warlord in Uzbekistan ("The Sopranos" meets "The Osbournes") to a secret division of ABC, named, appropriately, ABCD, charged with developing extreme reality TV series from a clandestine skunkworks in Manhattan Beach.

His latest book is entitled "An American Family," and it tells the story of an immigrant Jewish-American family on Long Island, beginning on the day John Kennedy was shot and ending the day before 9/11. This multi-generational saga, told from the point of view of five siblings born in the 1940's, traces the Pearl family's odyssey into the melting pot of twentieth century America.

He continues to dabble in film and television. He was the writer/creator of the Showtime TV series, "Beggars & Choosers," a darkly comic send-up of the television business. More recently, he spent a season in the writers' room of "Desperate Housewives," where he helped concoct some of the Byzantine plot lines of that infamous dark suburban soap opera.

Praise for Lefcourt's novels:

"You can count the wonderful novels about Hollywood on two hands...The Deal is one of them."
--LA Times

"...A hilarious romp through the world of national politics. [Lefcourt's] hapless hero is the perfect foil for all that's gone wrong in Washington...An irreverent, amusing read."
--USA Today

"This neon farce lights up the political spectrum to the left and the right of the primary colors...The Woody is like the best of farces, less interested in mocking historical figures and more keen to turn its light elsewhere."
--LA Times

"A good-natured romp through the dream factory of the 1990's."
--The New York Times

"Lefcourt flirts with offensiveness but never goes all the way."
----Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If only they allowed us a larger number of stars! "The Woody" is, hands down, one of the finest works of political satire ever published. The book is simply brilliant, both in style and content. It is well-written, with crisp, believable dialogue, well-paced action and a heaping dose of wry humor. More importantly, the book is as funny a send-up of modern politics as you'll ever read.
The protagonist, Senator Woody White fends off a blackmailing spouse, a litigous ex-wife, a scary housekeeper, a politically connected Vermont maple syrup kingpin and a very angry Trent Lott, whose car Woody dented in the Senate parking garage. But he really begins to panic when he comes down with a unfortunate case of Erectile Dysfunction.
You'll be laughing out loud as you read this book and you won't be able to put it down until you've reached the surprising, hillarious, witty end. The political novel has been re-defined. Peter Lefcourt opens a new chapter in the genre with "The Woddy." Don't miss out...read it today!
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Format: Paperback
I had never been much of a novel reader-- few of them have impressed me much and I felt I didn't have the time or patience for fiction. I read mostly humor and reference books or "classic" literature. I received "The Woody" as a gift and read it about six months later. I enjoyed the book so much, I found two other Lefcourt novels, "The Deal" and "The Dreyfus Affair." I loved them both, but "The Woody" still remains my favorite. I laughed out loud and never wanted it to end. It's smart, hilarious political satire with interesting and surprisingly likeable characters. All who know me can hardly believe it-- I'm a novel reader at last. I've gone through several other novels this summer, but none have been quite as entertaining as Lefcourt's work. I recommend his books to most everyone I know and look forward to his future novels. Hurry up, already.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lord knows most of them are cartoon characters to begin with. Yet Peter Lefcourt, a talented author of four previous, delightful novels, submits this tale of a contemporary senator who is no stranger to sexual antics, influence peddling, and problems on the campaign trail. Lefcourt as a writer is a tasty blend of Carl Hiaasen mixed with a few dollops of Elmore Leonard.
Ever wonder what a gangster from Vermont would act and sound like? There are a few of those rare creatures prominently placed in the book, their leader being a character named John Quincy Adams. A kidnapped dachshund, the senator's lesbian wife, and a congressional bill for Tourette's Syndrome also form important chunks of the lighthearted plot.
Considering the current crop of fools in congress, Woodrow Wilson White would seem to fit right in. The strange thing is that unlike our real lawmakers, you actually come to like old Woody. Go figure. Also go read this book for some good laughs.
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The back of the book will tell you everything you need to know about the story inside but what might shock you as you're reading is that The Woody is more true-to-life than you'd ever imagine. For anyone who has worked on Capitol Hill, which I did for 5 years, you'll find dozens of parallels and laugh out loud. Even for those who have never been anywhere near politics you'll instantly laugh at Senator White and might even feel a bit of sympathy for him as his problems mount. What's best is the writing by Lefcourt, taking a piece here, a piece there, and slowly entertaining them as the story grows and grows.
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Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a fun (and more appropriately "funny") read, Peter Lefcourt's "The Woody" might just be the right novel for you. The novel follows Woodrow "Woody" White's hilariously troubled trek to be re-elected as a Vermont Senator. Not unlike real politics, Woody has a well-document "zipper" problem. His troubles begin on page one with a "performance problem" in the sheets during an extramarital fling with a lobbyist from the condom industry. The wild road that follows is both unpredictable and unrelenting. Just when you think things could not possibly get worse, they inevitably do. Lefcourt, a screen and television writer, certainly knows how to keep the plot interesting and moving. Each chapter has enough material to generously fill a half-hour sitcom.
While this is a political novel, it is also politically incorrect one. Dachshunds, Tourette's Syndrome, and stutterers are among the many things satirically skewered by Lefcourt. The author also uses real-life political figures to further blur the line between fact and fiction (Trent Lott is involved in a key storyline and even Bill Clinton and Al and Tipper Gore make an appearance). Lefcourt is even so bold as to "borrow" a Herman Melville opening line -- "Call me, Ishmael." But unlike "Moby Dick" (wink, wink), the protagonist of this novel is talking into a cell phone to his chief of staff. "The Woody" will leave you asking "Can truth really be stranger than fiction?" But given what we DO know goes on in Washington DC -- cynically the answer is probably "yes." Overall, a very quick and enjoyable read.
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