Saturday, July 23, 2016

(68)The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close


For most people moving to Washington DC so your spouse can work in Obama's White House would be a good thing.  Beth Kelly is thrilled that her husband, Matt, was offered a job after working on Obama's campaign, but Beth is not thrilled with the prospect of leaving New York City.  Even though she is originally from Wisconsin, NYC is the place she calls home.   To Beth, DC is a foreign land.  One where everybody speaks in acronyms and talks for hours about what the POTUS had for lunch.  Beth is discouraged with her own lack of job prospects and finds life in DC utterly maddening.   Until they meet Jimmy and Ashleigh Dillon.  Their down-home Texas demeanor is a breath of fresh air to Beth and the two couples become fast friends.  Nearly inseparable and they make life in DC bearable for Beth.  But as the years go by Matt is becoming less and less pleased with his position at the White House.  He had always had bigger aspirations, but it seems as if Jimmy is living out Matt's dreams.  Soon the pressures and disappointments of political life start to weigh on Beth and Matt's marriage.  Will they be able to work through their issues before they become just another statistic?

I don't think that I have ever related to a character as much as I related to Beth in the first half of The Hopefuls.  She left the Midwest for college and never looked back, making her home in New York City. (For me it was Kansas City). It is there that she meets her husband and they start their life together. They have a ton of friends, favorite restaurants, favorite shops, and it is all within walking distance. The move to DC (Utah) was tough because Beth had to start over.  Watching her husband's dreams come true was exciting, but feeling like an outsider is tough.  For Beth it was politics and for me it was the local religion.   My husband and I ended up finding our own version of the Dillons, but that is where the similarities end.  I really enjoyed the easy way the author told Beth's story.  Beth was not a perfect person, but she tried to be as supportive as possible, even when Matt didn't make it very easy.  Yeah, Matt was a tough character to like, I do believe the words "What a dick." came out of my mouth more than once.  Most of the time he seemed like a good guy, but he was selfish as all get out.  Like I said, Beth wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed her and could totally relate to her story.  Even though the book is set mostly in a democratic environment, there isn't a lot of political agenda. Well, a lil bit about fracking, but mostly the author remains neutral.  In the end things worked out the way they were supposed to, but I didn't necessarily agree with how things ended.  But it isn't my story to tell.

Bottom line - The Hopefuls was a really enjoyable read.  Interesting, dynamic characters take on the challenges of everyday life, disappointments and all.  Who couldn't relate to a book like that? Add this one to the Book Club list, because I think you and your friends are going to have a lot to talk about.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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