You know you’re probably going to enjoy a book when the acknowledgement page makes you laugh. That’s exactly what happened with Parties in Congress. Although, just saying I enjoyed it is an understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me laugh out loud as much as this one did.
The book centers around main characters Bijal Rao and Colleen O’Bannon. Bijal has just gotten her first political staff position working on the campaign of a moderate Republican candidate with whom she shares political views. Her candidate’s formidable Democratic opponent is incumbent Congresswoman O’Bannon, who is a charismatic, independent thinker, and just happens to be openly gay. The two women are instantly attracted to each other at their very first meeting and it just escalates from there. Their flirtatious banter is both sexy and hilarious all at the same time. I know that sounds strange, but trust me, it’s possible. Given their respective positions, they make a pact to avoid any type of personal relationship until after the election is over. You can imagine how that goes.
Scandals erupt, catastrophes happen, undercover assignments are given and then completely bungled, and clandestine meetings (both planned and unplanned) take place throughout the campaign in which they manage to do everything except avoid each other. Each encounter leads to more of the wonderful banter and hilarious dialogue between not just Colleen and Bijal, but among all of the characters.
The secondary characters have some of the funniest dialogue in the book, especially Fran, Bijal’s very outspoken and opinionated roommate. Bijal’s conversations with Fran are priceless, as is any scene set in the local lesbian hangout called Klit and Kaboodle, or the K and K, as they like to call it. There are many pop culture references that you will love and many lines that you will probably find yourself hoping to remember. I even thought about keeping a list of sayings and funny lines that I want to remember, but I already have the book – I’d just be copying down the whole damn thing.
Hidden among all the hilarity is a really interesting political commentary. I so wish there was a real candidate with Colleen’s political views, because I would be leading the pack to vote for her. And I hate politics. It made me wonder if Ms. Moody would ever have any interest in running for Congress. I loved how she (through her characters) pointed out all the things that I firmly believe are wrong with politics and especially politicians these days. These points were nicely incorporated into the story without sounding preachy or terribly disparaging to one particular political party.
The only issue I had with the book, and I’ll admit this is very trivial and slightly spoilery (that’s your warning), but I found it hard to believe that a lesbian who is as interested in politics as Bijal was, wouldn’t already know what the openly gay Congresswoman from her own district looked like. I understand that the fact that she didn’t was crucial to a key scene, and it certainly didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book, but it was still just a little bit hard to believe. Like I said, trivial, but hey, it’s a review, I’m supposed to point out good and bad.
That said, I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a fast and funny read. This was my first time reading a book by Collette Moody, but it won’t be the last. So, pick up a copy of Parties in Congress and prepare to laugh. And don’t forget to stop by the K and K for your order of faggity-ass French fries.
**Just wanted to post a correction – it has been pointed out that Bijal lived in DC and Colleen represented a district in VA, so she was not actually in Bijal’s voting district, making it a little less likely that Bijal would have recognized her.**