The Hopefuls

The HopefulsThe Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

Beth and Matt are young Democrats who have just moved to Washington DC at the start of the Obama administration. Beth writes for a DC based gossip website and Matt is working in the government. Matt has aspirations of running for Congress one day and every decision he makes is with an eye to the end game. They become close friends with Jimmy and Ashleigh, who appear to be rising stars in the party and eventually they help manage Jimmy’s campaign to be on the Railroad Commission in Texas, his home state and a world away from what Beth and Matt have ever experienced. For close to a year we follow the two couples as they compete in a tough campaign which will exact a price on each of the foursome, taking marriages to breaking point.
This novel reminds me strongly of Primary Colours by Anonymous, which was a thinly disguised story of Bill Clinton’s run for the White House that came out in 1996. Without a doubt The Hopefuls has at its basis real people from whom inspiration has been drawn from. It is a very political book that pokes fun at the importance of politics and the industry that it spawns.
The characters are well drawn and the emotional meltdowns in the campaign are vivid. It isn’t hard to imagine that these circumstances have been real life for someone. The ending hints at the eternal journey that is politics.
Having had real life experience with political parties in two countries, it is not al all an unrealistic view of the life and the wanting, apparently, to make a difference in the world.
Insightful, entertaining and occasionally funny, this is a great novel.

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