THE WASHINGTONIENNE by Jessica Cutler

THE WASHINGTONIENNE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Party girl leaves cushy New York life for meagerly paid Capitol Hill job and starts sleeping with the high and mighty for extra cash.

While there are plenty of mistakes Cutler doesn’t make in her first novel, subject matter as salacious as hers still deserves to be more interesting than this. Cutler was the briefly infamous Senate employee whose blog about her scandalous romantic entanglements led to her being unmasked and losing her job. Here, Jackie is a New York club fiend interested only in dancing, drugs and screwing around who loses her rich boyfriend/meal ticket after cheating on him and has to crash with a friend in D.C. while getting subsistence pay working for a senator. Always quick to figure out how to have a good time on someone else’s dime, it’s not long before Jackie is sleeping with some powerful men and getting money in return. She’s not quite a hooker, in that there’s never talk about price—envelopes of cash are left on bedstands, Jackie mentions her rent is due and it gets paid, etc.—but the difference is fairly academic when her secret is blown. It’s a relief that Cutler seems to have few illusions about Jackie, an aggressive airhead who’s looking for her next meal ticket and can be counted on to be the most self-obsessed person in any room (“Despite my life-shattering emotional trauma, it was nice to know that I still looked hot”). Still, that clarity of vision doesn’t mean the reader is in for any insight beyond a few pop-psych tidbits tossed out near the end. Cutler has a tendency to use spoiled and lazy writing to talk about spoiled and lazy people who think they deserve acclaim for how spoiled and lazy they are. The result, ultimately, is a book best read for its depressing portrait of the scrounging, idea-free juveniles who staff Capitol Hill offices.

Nothing wrong with a narrator this shallow, but she should at least be funny.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-4013-0200-9
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2005