August 08, 2008

review in Venus Zine

Take a trip with the GOP
Party Favors provides a fascinating view into the private world of Republican fundraisers by a veteran insider
Published: July 31st, 2008 11:30am

Party Favors is an interesting and intriguing new novel co-written by former Republican fundraiser Nicole Sexton and writer Susan Johnston. It follows a New Orleans woman’s rise to success in the insulated and cutthroat world of Republican fundraisers in Washington, D.C., competing to gain donors, big checks, organize lavish parties, and win elections for senators. It gives an insider’s view into an exclusive world that many are not privy to or aware of, being flabbergasted at how much money goes towards parties and senator’s campaigns instead of more pressing social issues.

Temple Sachet, the protagonist of the novel, always had an eye for competition, beginning in kindergarten. In campaigning to become Little Miss Valentine, she kisses boys during recess, gaining favor with each one she finds. She loses the election, but it instills in her a taste for victory and for striving to be the best. That drive will take her far, as she rises quickly from smooth-talking rich donors into writing checks for the Missouri Opera Gala to receiving a coveted internship at the White House to being named the Director of Finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Here, with the help of her seasoned mentors, Temple develops very personal relationships with a variety of senators (some honest, some not), and forgoes her personal life and peace of mind to guarantee wins for her senators.

As Temple becomes a bigger wheel in the Senatorial Committee, her personal life falters and takes hit after hit. Her stepfather, a prominent St. Louis politician, suffers a near-fatal heart attack and is in traction, leaving Temple to feel guilty about continuing on with her work. She falls for men who either are in love with her but can’t relate to her world, or use her as a contact to lobby for a cause. She fears that she will suffer a heart attack or a brain aneurysm due to her stressful and taxing job, as it has befallen those before her. And when New Orleans is destroyed after Katrina and the Republicans are more concerned with lavish parties than immediate aid to the victims, Temple must choose whether her career is worth giving up in search of working for more honest and noble causes.

Party Favors is a fast-paced, captivating novel that will educate readers on the inner workings of the Republican Senate straight from a seasoned insider. Meanwhile, this sharp and ambitious heroine manages to maintain her honesty and integrity in a world that often doesn’t value such morals.

Party Favors (The Lyons Press)
By Nicole Sexton with Susan Johnston
256 pages

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