The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

I am not entirely sure why I read this book? It was recommended somewhere, probably on Vulture, and something about the description made me add it to my list of library requests? Whatever the write up was, I’d like to complain about being mislead.

I was hoping for a political adventure. After watching seven seasons of The West Wing in about a month I needed new exciting ways to think about politics that aren’t as depressing as following the election would be. The premise here — two young couples trying to get involved in politics, and their friendships — sounds promising enough? I was hoping for something witty and civically minded, something that would make me feel smart and in tune with the world.

The problem is that the politics never go anywhere past nice quiet liberalism, and the relationship aspect is a real drag. It’s a boring straight people book, which kept on making boring straight people choices. Sometimes it’s fun to be able to see ahead of a story, to anticipate what’s coming next, but this was depressingly predictable. Also the ending was terrible. The ending made me feel worse about the world, and not even in an interesting way. The depressing part wasn’t about the political process, but about interpersonal politics, and the terrible forces of heteronormative patriarchy.
It isn’t actually bad writing? It’s just dull? I understand why someone else might enjoy it, but I also suspect that if you’re into this book the two of us won’t get along. It isn’t terrible, but not actually worth time or thought. Skip it.


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