Not every book you read can be Dostoevsky or Eric Voeglin. Sometimes you just need a light hearted but entertaining book to pass the time and relax. A while back I was in need of just such a book. I decided on No Way to Treat a First Lady by Christopher Buckley. I enjoy the younger Buckley's satirical humor and the topic - presidential shenanigans and the resulting media reaction - seemed likely to produce a laugh. So with the ever dangerous Amazon One Click the book was speeding its way to me. I recently finished the book and thought I would share my thoughts with you.
First off, the book is a rather obvious satire of the Clinton years. It centers around an unfaithful President married to an ambitious but loyal wife. The President is frequently visited by an actress/singer named Babbette who, when she isn't "advising" the President, likes to believe she is working for peace in the Middle East. When it appears that the First Lady has killed her husband the resulting "Trial of the Century" mocks the lawyers, media, and the public that creates and craves such a circus. Caricatures of Barbara Streisand, the OJ trial, and the nightly talk shows on CNN fill the book.
The book, however, is not just a big crack on William Jefferson Clinton and his friends. It is basically a satirical look at our media culture with a murder mystery intertwined. As Buckley uses lawyers, reporters, politicians, and Hollywood personalities as fodder for jokes and satire he keeps the plot moving with the technical details of both the trial and the underlying mystery: did the First Lady kill the President? I won't spoil the ending for you but it is one last crack at the odd obsessions of our time.