Firstly, thank you to the brilliant author, Jacke Wilson, for sending me his lovely book; and now the second seeing as I enjoyed this one just, so, so, (so) much! Also, check out his blog at http://jackewilson.com, because it is exceptionally brilliant. It is definitely worth a nosy, especially the posts named, ‘a History of Jacke in 100 Objects.’ When I was reading them, in the library, I was desperately trying not to manically giggle, and was failing spectacularly (so go check it out!) So, onto the book, a delightful novella about politics, scandal, reputation and above all, the importance of love, which I read in one sitting and I am sure all you lovely readers will too! Waffle over! Onto the review!
When the scandal broke, she dumped him. Now he’s running again. And he needs her support. When Governor Tom Olson humiliated himself in a sex scandal, the people of Wisconsin rallied to the side of his popular wife, kicking the Governor out of office and onto the political scrap heap. Now he thinks he can win a seat in Congress – unless his wife decides to sink his candidacy. Accompanied by his reluctant biographer, the disgraced politician hits the campaign trail, testing whether one man’s misplaced confidence is enough to overcome the hatred and mockery of a nation. THE RACE is a fast-paced novella that takes a humorous and insightful look at the effects of campaigns on politicians and the people around them. What an absolutely explosive plot! A disgraced former governor of Wisconsin (notably, where the author is originally from) is running for office. Slight problem, his reputation is shot-to-pieces after a steamy and sordid relationship with an Italian beauty. This leads to an even bigger problem; his wife is well loved by the public and they are rooting for her, and the backlash is affecting the votes for him. Employing a trusty biographer to help to organise and write the book that he intends to publish when he wins, we follow the two as they stumble through the build up to the election; the television interviews, the meet-n-greets with the public, and the humiliating reconciliation with his wife. As the biographer we follow this campaign right through the end, to see whether the outraged public will forgive this disreputable politician or whether he will go down like a sack of bricks.
One thing I was incredibly impressed with was how much the author managed to squash into this tiny book. The book takes the reader on such a journey, and I was really just so surprised at how the book manages to pack such a punch in so few pages! It is also incredibly detailed with a real understanding of how structuring the narrative can be used to drag the reader along. The book has such a good pace that it really sweeps the reader into this political mess. Although the book is short Wilson also manages to make the characters warm and full of life whilst being well structured with evocative personalities. Wilson manages to exert meaning and feeling from the characters personalities onto the reader, in a candid style but with humour. The writing style is also a real credit to the writer and it not only gives the whole book a certain manner but it also makes the reader feel wholly consumed by the novel. I (honestly) read this is one go; I could not help but keep reading in which to know what was going to happen next. Would the governors suffering wife break down the walls of anger and forgive the man she once loved, or would she decide to sink his candidacy in revenge of his unfaithful actions. On The authors blog, one reader describes Wilson’s writing as ‘bitingly witty and with purpose.’ That is a perfect way in which to sum up the writing style in one sentence. It is sharp and amusing but underneath the wonderful prose there is a message and a purpose. This book is ultimately an insight into the supposed ‘glamour’ of politics, and a look at the darker side of the political system, here the book mainly explores the potential of redemption, the struggle to be acknowledged and finally the real price of failure, not only in politics but in the ones you love. The main character is also brilliantly built up. The biographer for this shady politician, manages to express so many emotions rotating simultaneously between empathy, embarrassment, disgust, and most importantly hope. Warm and understanding this brilliant characterisation is distinct through the whole book.
I fell in love with this humorous and clever story because overall it is an extremely realistic tale of tragedy; notably a scorned wife’s triumph as her ex-husband has to deal with his defeats by himself. With beautiful prose, well-defined characters and a real understanding of pace and writing style this author is one to watch!