I was drawn to this book because it sounded like an interesting look into the lives of young, up and coming DC couples with a side of satire. The reviews were generally good, but to open this book description by calling it 'brilliantly funny' is nothing more than a gross overstatement. Don't get me wrong- The Hopefuls was a quick and somewhat entertaining read. But I don't think there was anything funny about it. It was a melancholy look into the dynamic of two young DC couples. Matt is the Harvard grad who wants to be the face of politics but is not a gifted speaker. Jimmy is his buddy who is quickly rising through the ranks. He gets has that IT factor, but gets by by being told what to say.
None of these characters were very likable, but what kept me turning the pages was the author's writing. Close was able to provide (what I assume to be) an authentic look into what life might be like for couples in their mid 20s who are starting out in politics. It was an interesting concept for a book, but I kept waiting for something to HAPPEN. And when something does happen, it's altogether shocking and boring at the same time. And pretty gross. And then, just as you think the story is going to pick up, it doesn't.
What irritated me the most about this book was the narrator, Beth. She is Matt's wife and provides little to the story. She's very similar to a third-person narrator, who waits for things to happen. I generally like a stronger female lead, and I couldn't feel anything for her. She doesn't seem grateful for any of the privilege she has and I kept wanting her to DO something for herself! She spends the majority of the book talking about her husband or her friends and doesn't seem to have much of a personality at all.
I don't regret spending time on this, but the biggest takeaway is that it's really hard for some people to be truly happy.
I also just realized after writing this review that Jennifer Close also wrote Girls in White Dresses, which was a DNF for me. I guess it's a good thing that I was able to finish The Hopefuls. If you liked her first novel, you'll likely enjoy this one. Same writing style with a slow paced story.
3 out of 5.