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Book Review: The List – Karin Tanabe

Donna Brown270 views
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About The List (2013)
The ListMeet Adrienne Brown, a twenty-eight-year-old Wellesley College grad who recently left her glamorous job at Town & Country for a spot at the Capitolist. Known simply as the List to Beltway insiders, it’s the only media outlet in D.C. that’s actually on the rise. Taking the job means accepting a painful pay cut, giving up perks like free Louboutins, and moving back in with her parents, but Adrienne is certain that her new position will be the making of her career.

And it is—but not at all in the way that she expects. The Capitolist runs at an insane pace: Adrienne’s up before five in the morning, writing ten stories a day (sometimes on her BlackBerry, often during her commute), and answering every email within three minutes. Just when it seems like the frenetic workload is going to break her, she stumbles upon a juicy political affair, involving a very public senator—and her most competitive colleague. Discovering that there’s much more to the relationship than meets the eye, Adrienne realizes she’s got the scoop of a lifetime. But should she go public with the story?

Inspired by Washington insider Karin Tanabe’s experiences at Politico, The List is a riveting debut novel bursting with behind-the-scenes details about what happens when media and politics collide.

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Review: The List

Adrienne Brown has had enough of glitz, glamour and Town and Country magazine. She wants to work for a more serious publication. Thrilled to get a job at the Capitolist (“The List”), she initially overlooks the frighteningly long hours, low pay, extreme workload and lack of respect she has to endure – with a smile – until she can make her mark.

Laced with snarky humour and a (just about!) healthy dose of bitchiness, the novel sees Adrienne uncover the scoop that will make her but only if she’s willing to ruin others’ lives. Is she willing to go the distance?

Raising great questions about the balance of ambition versus respect for others, the value we place on success over decency and how difficult it is to hide secrets (both past and present), The List is as thought-provoking as it is enjoyable. Featuring an incredibly likeable heroine, you initially cheer for her and the success she could achieve but it is impossible not to feel a gnawing doubt as the novel progresses. If the right thing for you is the wrong thing for so many others, is it worth it?

I don’t normally read reviews from others about a book until I’ve written my own. Not that I’m easily led but it can be hard to sort your own opinions when you’re sorting through those of others. However, when adding The List to my Goodreads shelf, I noticed another had commented to say they expected something darker. I felt much the same, expecting something much more tense. That isn’t to say I was disappointed in the least. The List is edgy, funny and highly entertaining and makes for an excellent read.

If you enjoy edgy women’s fiction or some political intrigue and scandal, be sure to check this one out!

Verdict: 4/5

(Book source: Netgalley)

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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