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August 5, 2009

MC Book Club: Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley

With a new justice joining the top court, the MC Book Club goes behind the scenes of our judicial branch with Christopher Buckley's satire Supreme Courtship. Worth your discretionary dollar? Read on.

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THE PLOT: What if President Obama nominated Judge Judy for the highest court in the land? That's the premise behind Supreme Courtship, the latest sexy spoof from Beltway insider Christopher Buckley. When a Supreme Court justice goes bonkers, President Vanderdamp nominates Pepper Cartwright, a pop-culture phenom with a very hot body under her black robes. Pepper's sassy Texas charm wins over Congress and the country, but her fellow justices are another story.

LEA (FEATURES EDITOR): I thought the book was a good, frothy read--and timely, considering the shake-up of the Supreme Court. It was light but still gave us this intimate peek under the robes.

ELIZABETH (SENIOR DESIGNER): See, I know it was all in good fun, but I had a hard time with it, because it hit so close to home. I mean, Fred Thompson ran for president on a platform of acting presidential--all because he was on Law & Order!

LAUREN (ARTICLES EDITOR): And look at Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich! He's being impeached and his wife joins the cast of I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! But that's the job of good satire, to hold up a fun-house mirror to society's follies. It's supposed to be cathartic.

ELIZABETH: And I did enjoy the story line about the senator who quits his post to play the president on television, then actually runs for president. I pictured John Edwards, because the character was this improbably handsome, too-perfect guy.

LAUREN: Ha! I imagined Vice President Biden--the teeth whitening, the hair plugs, and all the references to Amtrak.

LIZZIE (ASSISTANT BEAUTY EDITOR): I love that with Pepper, Buckley created yet another savvy, sexy female outsider who is thrown into the D.C. game. But the book lacked the wit of his previous novels.

LAUREN: Yeah, like when Pepper snaps back at some stuffy pols, "Do you really think I'd put myself through all this if I had a whole catacomb of skeletons doing the cha-cha in my closet?" So forced!

ELIZABETH: But I loved her during the confirmation hearings, dismantling every salvo they could throw at her. When she was asked some constitutional law question, she said that people watching at home were saying, "Wake me up if they find pubic hair on any Coke cans." Then, once she joined the court, she went limp.

LAUREN: She did stupid things! You're going to decide a case by flipping a coin? You're going to bed the chief justice?

LEA: Why not? On the current court, Justices Scalia and Ginsburg are on opposite sides, and their families vacation together. But on Buckley's court, I couldn't figure out who was right and who was left.

LIZZIE: I'm sure that's what Buckley intended. His last name is synonymous with the GOP, yet he backed Obama. Besides, with farcical characters like these, you risk alienating half your readers if you attach a clear-cut ideology to them.

LAUREN: I think he wanted to show that neither party has a monopoly on idiocy.

SHOULD YOU READ IT?
LEA: Yes
LAUREN: Yes
LIZZIE: Yes
ELIZABETH: Yes

COME TO OUR LIVE BOOK CLUB EVENT! Live in the area, or planning a visit? Join us with special guest author Lucinda Rosenfeld on August 13 at McNally Jackson Books in New York City. For more info, go to marieclaire.com/livebookclub. To RSVP, e-mail us at mcbookclub@hearst.com.

NEXT MONTH: Air, an ongoing comic-book series by G. Willow Wilson (Vertigo)

» To read our full conversation and add your thoughts, visit marieclaire.com/bookclub.

» To read our full conversation and add your thoughts, visit marieclaire.com/bookclub.


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