Book Review: The Hopefuls, by Jennifer Close
A somewhat jaded, somewhat naive wife’s journey through her husband’s political ambition.
I see why The Hopefuls has gotten so much praise. It’s wonderful!
I have to admit, though, I found the main characters to be frustrating. Especially the narrator, Beth.
At one point in the book, Beth’s friend tells her that she always waits for things to happen to her. That’s also my own irritation with this character. She whine, whine, whine, whiiiines about her jerk husband and her shiftless career, but doesn’t actually do anything to address either of those things.
I want to shake her and shout, “Say something! Just talk to him.”
Legitimately, something does need to be said to him. Matt is the intelligent, ambitious (and maybe a wee bit entitled?) great white hope for the family’s legacy.
As the novel progresses, he becomes more and more despondent and belligerent over the fact that he just can’t seem to sit in the political throne that’s destined for him.
Excuse me for a moment while I roll my eyes.
This isn’t a game for service and solicitude. It’s a play for power and prestige. I suppose the same is often true for politics IRL.
In the end, I wonder if Beth’s hope really materializes into anything more than complacence.
I also wonder if The Hopefuls is meant to be somewhat parallel to The Stepford Wives.
In Stepford, the main character rails against the community sheâ€™s trapped in while the husband “finds” himself. She loses in the end, only to fit in nicely with the other smiling, tightly formed puzzle pieces masquerading as wives. She’s not happy, not sad. Just there, filling her role.
This book seems similar. Did I read too much into it?