The Washingtonienne – Jessica Cutler

Title: The Washingtonienne
Author: Jessica Cutler
ISBN: 1401308473
Pages: 304
Release Date: June 1, 2005
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 1 out of 5

From the back cover:

When Jacqueline Turner’s fiancé gives her two days to move out of his apartment, Jacqueline has no choice but to leave New York and crash with her best friend in Washington, D.C. She needs an exciting new life — not to mention real employment.

Alas, D.C. turns out to be a lot more buttoned-up and toned down than she’d hoped. Jacqueline has to make her own fun, including a married presidential appointee who hands over cash after each tryst and a lascivious Georgetown lawyer. Soon enough, her private romps in the nation’s capital take a very public turn when she starts her own blog.

Deliciously gossipy and impossible to put down, The Washingtonienne is every bit as outrageously scandalous as the real-life exploits that inspired it.

When I heard that Sarah Jessica Parker was turning the novel The Washingtonienne into a TV series, I decided I definitely wanted to read it. It didn’t know much about the scandal involving Jessica Cutler and the Washingtonienne blog; all I did know was that The Washingtonienne was semi-autobiographical and based on Cutler’s real life.

Now that I have read it, I can definitely say that it is a light read. But the question really is, is it enjoyable? The short answer is no. On one hand, The Washingtonienne easy to read, and it definitely has its humorous moments. On the other hand, the scandals are absolutely disgusting and the main character is pretty repulsive. While I was reading it, I likened it to a train wreck; it gives you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, but you can’t look away.

I think my main issue with the book was the main character and her lack of any sense of decorum. She has the ability to rationalize anything, and she spends pretty much the entire book drunk and high. The fact that she was basically functioning as a prostitute didn’t seem to faze her in the least. The worst part was that Jackie seemed to delight in her exploits. She seemed almost proud of them.

I got the sense that The Washingtonienne was written in order to partly shock, and partly make the reader feel like Jackie was “cool,” living on a different plane than most of us do. I’m not sure why I got this sense, but the main character’s superior tone probably had something to do with it. I can say for certain that the book is shocking, but Jackie is so despicable that any redeeming qualities in the book are completely lost. I hope that the main character of the book was embellished, and is not too close to the author.

I really can’t recommend this book to anyone unless (1) you are interested in the Washingtonienne scandal [Wikipedia entry][Blog archives] or (2) you want to read the book, despite this review, before the show comes out. All I can say about the show is that I really hope it is much better than the book, especially considering the other characters were pretty much as unlikeable as Jackie. [According to the Wikipedia entry about the show, the writers are taking the character of Jackie in a different direction from the book. Whew.]

(And as a disclaimer, I live in Washington, D.C. Please don’t judge us by this book. I can say from experience that we are not like this.)


  1. I had no idea this was semi-autobiographical! Wow, i figured it was just chick lit, I guess I didn’t even know what it was about. And I didn’t know it was going to be a show, hopefully it will be more enjoyable than the book or no one is going to watch it!

    I am a bit intrigued by this though, i wonder if it would have worked better as a memoir?

  2. An.. interesting.. cover, but I think I’ll skip it. Thanks for an honest review.

  3. Thanks for the review. I have to say the cover turns me off right from the get go.

  4. I’m with the onion on the cover, and I like chick lit. I can see that reading this would be the train wreck you describe.

    Very nice job of a polite negative review!

  5. I hated this book, too! I used to intern on Capitol Hill, and this book came out right after I’d finished. I promise not all Congressional interns are like that!

  6. I’m also from D.C. and interned downtown for two years. I usually like fiction with a political edge, but guess I’ll pass on this one! If you’re interested in a main character whose hard-working AND still morally intact, check out “Party Favors” by Nicole Sexton. The MC is a political fundraiser and has all sorts of crazy adventures. Very well-written and funny!

  7. Oh GoD! How am I supposed to know about this scandal 🙂

    I am warned 😉

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