Title: The List
Author: Karin Tanabe
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Adrienne Brown is the Capitolist’s newest employee. She figures her New York magazine background will help her fit perfectly into her new role at the Style section of the List, Washington, DC’s hottest news outlet, but she’s in for a shock. The breakneck pace, the crazy expectations, the lack of respect the Style section gets from fellow reporters—Adrienne isn’t sure this job is for her. But when she stumbles on a juicy story, she decides to follow wherever it leads, without realizing what the consequences might be.
When I first heard about The List, I was intrigued. It sounded like a light, fun novel that would be a quick read, and the fact that it was set in Washington, DC only added to the appeal. I figured it would be a novel I read in an afternoon and promptly forget about, but I was surprised (and delighted) to find that I’d underestimated this book. Not only was it amusing and entertaining, it was smart, with a sharp wit that kept me engaged from beginning to end.
Adrienne’s a great main character in The List. She’s smart and fun, and most of all, she’s dedicated to her job. Readers will probably question why she’s so dedicated—after all, it’s pretty clear how awful it is to work at The Capitolist. But whatever the reason, she’s driven. She’s also not perfect. As the novel progresses, there are complex moral questions that Adrienne is faced with, and there are no easy answers. It’s interesting to analyze the choices that Adrienne makes and how those decisions reflect on her.
Washington, DC is portrayed quite often in entertainment, but rarely do screenwriters/TV show writers/authors get it right. The city has its own vibe and culture and, like any other big city, it’s unique and difficult to write about if you haven’t spent time in the city. Karin Tanabe got it right from beginning to end. It’s a great DC insider’s novel, and readers will enjoy dissecting Adrienne’s experiences and trying to determine which are based on true life stories from the author’s time at Politico.
If you’re in the mood for a smart novel that will have you laughing out loud, The List is a great choice. Admittedly, the main plotline goes off the rails a bit in the last half of the novel or so, but it’s entertaining enough to keep you interested from beginning to end. If you have ever lived in DC, or are familiar with the city’s culture, this is an absolute must-read novel.