CHAMBERMAID by Saira Rao

CHAMBERMAID

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The devil wears judicial robes in this unoriginal law clerking exposé, penned by a former clerk to an appeals judge.

Fresh out of Columbia Law School, Sheila is convinced that a federal clerkship for the revered Judge Helga Friedman is the key to a coveted job with the ACLU. But Sheila is unprepared for long work days, harried colleagues and an unreasonable boss. The judge is respected in the legal community for her sharp mind, though she forgets the names of her law clerks on a daily basis and is racially insensitive, calling Sheila Pakistani when she is, in fact, Indian-American. She abuses her administrative staff (a masochistic secretary named Janet and a bizarre, Medieval-obsessed man named Roy) and even cancels lunch hour for her clerks. Several co-clerks quit, only to be replaced by equally competitive candidates, and Sheila comes close to following suit on a number of occasions. But there is something that makes Sheila’s job a bit more bearable—a Yale Law grad named Matthew—though each has a long-distance significant other standing flimsily in the way of love. Rumor has it that a member of the Philadelphia Federal Court is going to be nominated to the Supreme Court, but when Judge Friedman disgraces herself during a car accident, the nod unfortunately goes to a rival judge. Finally, Sheila earns the Judge’s elusive respect through work on a controversial death-row case involving the murder of a Penn student (the description of which is undeniably the most interesting part of the book), scores a coveted interview with the ACLU and, most predictably, ditches her cheating boyfriend in favor of Matthew, her fellow Friedman survivor.

Most people have their own boring jobs to worry about without having to read about someone else’s—at least Miranda Priestly was fun.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8021-1849-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Grove
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2007