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Dog Days
     

Dog Days

4.0 1
by Ana Marie Cox
 

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Melanie Thorton has the job she's been dreaming of since her student-government days-and the man she's been dreaming of since they started flirting on the campaign trail. She's on the communications team of Democrat John Hillman's presidential campaign, and she's romancing Washington's most powerful (if married) political journalist. But when news of the affair

Overview

Melanie Thorton has the job she's been dreaming of since her student-government days-and the man she's been dreaming of since they started flirting on the campaign trail. She's on the communications team of Democrat John Hillman's presidential campaign, and she's romancing Washington's most powerful (if married) political journalist. But when news of the affair becomes public just as scandalous information about Hillman comes to light, it's time for Melanie to put her campaign-honed damage-control skills to the test.

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Buckley
In Dog Days, Cox's brisk, smart, smutty, knowing and very well-written first novel, the 28-year-old protagonist Melanie Thorton, a Democratic presidential campaign staffer, diverts media attention from her candidate's political troubles - and her own romantic ones - by creating a fictitious blog supposedly written by a local libertine calling herself Capitolette. (Yes, rhymes with toilette.) …; I don't spend much time in the old blogosphere myself, and to be honest hadn't clicked onto Wonkette until now. But if this sparkly, witty - occasionally vicious - little novel is any indication of Wonkette's talent, then Cox ought to log out of cyberspace and start calling herself Novelette.
— The New York Times
The New Yorker
This first novel, by a former writer of the political blog Wonkette, aims at being a satire of Washington mores but comes off as Beltway chick lit. Melanie Thorton, a campaign worker for a Democratic Presidential candidate, is bored with her job, her life, and her affair with a married journalist. She launches a fictitious Internet diary intended to expose the seamier side of Washington life. When the career of the fake blogger, Capitolette, takes off, the deception comes to light. The situation is rooted, slightly, in real life: as Wonkette, Cox created a scandal when she linked to the blog of a Senate staffer who dished about her sexual escapades. But there’s something self-defeating about a roman à clef that deals with people who were pseudonymous in the first place. And the plot’s many twists just add more bones to the skeleton rather than fleshing it out.
Publishers Weekly
Cox came to fame in 2004 as Wonkette, a D.C. insider whose blog injected (and still injects) levity and sarcasm into the earnest national political scene. In her snarky fictive debut, it's August in a presidential election year, and Kerryesque nominee John Hillman has failed to wow the Democratic convention. Worse yet, Hillman is under attack from the Citizens for Clear Heads, who claim that the candidate, as a student, took part in mind-control experiments, and now may be under someone's control. Campaign staffer and heroine Melanie Thorton must divert the media from the Clear Heads story before it destroys what's left of Hillman's appeal; she also hopes to rekindle her affair with a high-powered (but married) reporter. Desperate to distract the press (and herself), Melanie creates Capitolette, whose wholly fictional blog describes paid sexual dalliances with elected officials. (Cox's early blog link to Washingtonienne, whose exploits match Capitolette's exactly, set in motion the chain of events which would reveal Washingtonienne as real Hill staffer Jessica Cutler.) Wanting to keep the Capitolette story going, Melanie and her best friend find a (very) willing D.C. waitress and teach her to play the role of Capitolette-a role she embraces, in bedrooms if not online, as unintended consequences pile up. Cox aims for a light comedy of Washington power, halfway between Primary Colors and Sex and the City. Her powers of plot construction, though, don't match her political savvy: emotions are predictable, plot twists few. Fans of Wonkette's wit will find themselves better served by her blog-unless they want to revisit August 2004 as seen from the Kerry campaign, which few real Washingtonians (and even fewer Democrats) want to do. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Cox, author of the DC political blog Wonkette, delivers a debut novel about the interplay between Washington's more minor political types during the dog days of August in a presidential election year, when campaign staffers, media, and lobbyists symbiotically angle for the best leaks, stories, sources, parties, and affairs. The novel centers on the shenanigans of two twentysomething Democrats, Melanie Thornton and Julie Wrigley, who work to offset a weirdly silly smear campaign against their candidate. As the opposing side's unmerited story gains speed, Melanie and Julie resolve to shift the nation's attention by creating a tell-all web log written by a fictional sexy girl who offers salacious tales and tidbits about her adventurous love life. After "Capitolette" is born, the city is abuzz with speculation, and all goes as planned. The tide turns, however, when Julie actually hires a girl to be Capitolette and has her appear on news shows and at parties. Although a tad tawdry and scattered, this so-called inside look at DC politics easily beats last year's navel-gazing DC blog book, The Washingtonienne, by Jessica Cutler. Suitable for large fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/05.]-Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This debut novel by Cox, the political gossipeuse responsible for the popular Wonkette website, takes chick lit from the campaign trail into the blogosphere, with results that make Primary Colors read like Proust. Meet Melanie Thorton, a voluptuous, 28-year-old Iowa lass who has retained some of her plucky idealism while submerged in a presidential-campaign cesspool. As the communications spinner for the Democratic challenger, she must counter accusations that the stiff, patrician Ivy League candidate (sound familiar?) was brainwashed during his college days, in a manner reminiscent of The Manchurian Candidate. She must also deal with the fallout from her ongoing fling with a very influential political reporter-older, more powerful and married-whose TV program serves to establish the agenda for the week's Washington dialogue. In her attempt to divert attention toward the failings of the Republican incumbent, a president notorious for his foot-in-mouth malapropisms (sound familiar?), and to deflect scrutiny from her own personal life, she helps concoct an outrageous scheme to occupy the press during the August "dog days" between the two conventions. She and her inevitable gal-pal sidekick, a consultant with greater financial resources and fewer scruples, establish a website for a Capital call girl with a Rolodex filled with big-name Washington players. Once the site captures the media's attention, the schemers cast a nubile, sexually voracious waitress to embody the role that they've been writing for her. Can the scam continue to take the heat off Melanie and her candidate? Will the phony call girl turn on her creators? Is Melanie using her reporter-lover? Or is he using her? Can a writerwho has built her reputation on gossip snippets sustain enough narrative momentum and depth of character to make anyone care?Just call it Bridget Jones Goes to Washington or Sex and the Capital City, though readers hoping for some real-life dirt (or at least a salacious facsimile) will be dealt nothing more than lightweight fluff and throwaway farce. . . . Dewberry, ElizabethHIS LOVELY WIFEHarcourt (288 pp.)$24.00Mar. 20, 2006

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101190630
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/06/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
423 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Ana Marie Cox is the creator and writer of the political blog Wonkette (www.wonkette.com). She has written for Elle, Wired, Mother Jones, Slate, Salon, New York, and The New York Times Book Review, among other publications.

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Dog Days 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a quick tale about the inner workings of a campaign in DC and the staffers lives and loves. It is somewhat of a 'chicklit' genre, but the writing is amusing and some of the information is priceless. It gives point of view on politics that perhaps should be considered. It is no wonder there is heavy turnover within the halls of government.