I’m of two minds about The Hopefuls. On the one hand, it is a thought-provoking look at a marriage under stress. On the other hand, I found the main character to be a bit lackluster.
Beth Kelly is a writer who loves her husband, Matt, enough to leave her beloved New York and move to an alien place – Washington D.C. Matt is an aspiring politician who joins the Obama campaign and gets a job in the administration after Obama’s victory. Beth finds a job that is definitely not her dream job, but it’s writing, and it keeps her occupied.
She has trouble acclimating to her new environment until meeting another young transplanted-to-Washington couple – Jimmy and Ashleigh. Jimmy is also on the political Ferris wheel, although he ascends faster than Matt. Beth and Ashleigh bond over their shared experiences as political wives, and the four are inseparable.
When Jimmy and Ashleigh move back to their home state of Texas, Matt and Beth go, too. Matt, working tirelessly for Jimmy, begins to show signs of stress, while Beth is at loose ends with no job of her own.
It’s during the Texas part of the story that I have difficulties with the protagonist. In the first part of the book, she doesn’t seem like someone who would be content to dawdle through the days without any purpose or pursuit. There just isn’t much to her life, which I suppose was the point, but I found it difficult to muster much sympathy or consideration for her.
I did welcome getting a backstage glimpse of a political campaign. It makes me wonder how anyone can survive such an experience with their sanity intact.