No Way to Treat a First Lady
by Christopher Buckley
2004 Thurber Prize winner
2 stars - not my kind of humor
ALR Blue - no animals
When the president of the United States is discovered dead, in his bed, the First Lady is accused of his murder / assassination. Enter Boyce "Shameless" Baylor, ruthless defense attorney and former First Lady fiancee. Mayhem ensues.
Christopher Buckley is a talented satirist with a gift for words, but this one missed the mark for me. Allow me to enumerate.
- I enjoy humor that allows us to see my own absurdity, not humor that focuses on identifying "them" as the target of derision. In this case, the "them" being politicians, various government institutions, lawyers, the media, and the well-monied.
- If one is going to poke fun at powerful institutions or horrific revelations in the news, best to make it totally over the top (think Hogan's Heroes).
- Sex jokes only carry the day for so long before one feels engrossed in the literary equivalent of a National Lampoon movie.
- Having failed in items 1-3 above, attempts to paint protagonists as flawed, but ultimately likable, rouges is too little too late.
So, that's a big "nope" from this reviewer.