Capitol Hell is an outrageous and hilarious novel about life in Washington D.C. told from the point of view of a naive 22-year-old South Dakota girl named Allison who goes to work for a very popular yet difficult senator from Minnesota.
While she is officially hired at a very small salary to be the senator’s scheduler, Allsion and her friend Janet soon find themselves filling all sorts of roles, including driving and babysitting the senator’s ex-model wife and octogenarian father, clothes shopping for the family, and much more. The senator’s family is eccentric, to say the least. And what do Allison and Janet get for their troubles? A lot of abuse, for the most part.
The book is allegedly based on the actual experiences of the authors working on Capitol Hill. Hopefully it is only loosely based, because while one can imagine a senator and his family who might be like Senator Anders McDermott II, and possibly even a family and staff like his, it is hard to imagine two grown women as immature,spineless and naive as Janet and Allison.
While many of the misadventures of the two staffers in the office and on the campaign trail is amusing, the amount of abuse and inappropriate office behavior these women accept without standing up for themselves becomes quite disturbing. Also, Janet’s completely ridiculous virtual affair with a blind senator who is not only a pervert and blatantly taking advantage of her but is also her boss’s rival is completely unbelievable. If it is based on truth, it shouldn’t be. Allison’s schoolgirl crush on her fellow staff member Cam is silly but at least it is not unethical.
By the end of the book, it is obvious that there is going to be a sequel, because so many plot threads are left hanging. Nothing is really resolved. There is no indication on the book cover or anywhere else that this is only the beginning of the story, and this reviewer finds that very annoying.
Nevertheless, because the inside look at the workings of Capitol Hill and the political process are so interesting and because the senator and his family do cause such entertaining mayhem. the book is still recommended and I look forward to reading the next one, with the hope that the absurd story lines involving Janet and her virtual lover and Allison and her office crush will be dropped.