Book Review: Dirty Sexy Politics, by Meghan McCain

I’ve seen some scathing reviews of this on Amazon, but they were really not warranted. If what you’re after is in-depth analysis of policy, politics or campaign strategy, there are plenty of other books – notably The Audacity to Win, which is excellent – that will do that for you. This book does what it says on the tin: tells the story of a Presidential campaign from the point of view of an insider who also happens to be a young woman – and how many other books do you know who do that? None. Precisely none. Well, unless you’re counting Sammy’s House, by Kristin Gore, but that’s fiction. Although, the author being who she is, there is probably a little truth in it too.

It did nothing to convince me of the appeal of the Republican Party, though I was reassured that at least one person was calling them out for their increasing radicalisation and homogenisation. But really, I’m not sure it was meant to. It was easy to read, engaging and honest – what you see is what you get with Meghan, and that is one of only a very few traits we share – and you know what? To my shame I almost welled up when John McCain lost.

And it also gave me a lot of useful background information for my second novel, Primary Season, the first draft of which I wrote for NaNoWriMo. For all its brilliance, The Audacity to Win wasn’t very helpful on how tough it is to be a woman in politics, or on those authentic details – bag calls, weight gain, ephemeral  relationships, the impossibility of having clean clothes – which I need to make Aaron and Louisa and their world seem real.

So thanks, Meghan. Your book was just what I needed.

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