The GQ Candidate by Keli Goff
Posted by Caitie F on July 9, 2011
Summary (from goodreads):
After a sex scandal brings down a local politician, Luke Cooper finds himself catapulted into the Michigan Governor’s mansion, making him one of the few black and—by virtue of adoption—Jewish elected officials to hold such an office. His national celebrity is increased when he heroically saves the life of an avowed racist, and his good looks and charm earn him the nickname “The GQ Candidate.”
One day Luke stuns his inner circle by informing them that he has decided to run for president of the United States. His friends offer to help out with the campaign but a fundraiser, hosted by Luke’s good friend, becomes the subject of an incredibly negative gossip item that threatens to jeopardize the campaign. Meanwhile, Luke’s wife is ambivalent about her husband’s political aspirations, and grows increasingly wary of life in the spotlight.
In addition to the story of the campaign, the novel also follows the lives of Luke’s tight knit circle of friends and reveals how his amazing race changes their lives forever.
First, this is a book that is about a politician without being about politics. So no matter what you political views are, you can still enjoy this book. Yes, the candidate is a Democrat, but there are not any Democratic talking points, so even Republicans can enjoy this book!
That said, if you are an avid reader of the Huffington Post, you probably have read some of Keli Goff brilliant articles. And if you have, then I shouldn’t really have to say anything else. If you like her writing and how she handles tough issues there, you really need to read this book!
The great thing is that these aren’t tough political issues, they are the tough issues like faith and race. Luke was adopted when he was two and was raised incredibly well by a white Jewish family and practices the Jewish faith himself. When running for President, it become an issue for some voters. Reading about how he and his campaign deal with Luke being a black man other black people cannot relate to, and a Jewish man who Jewish people can’t relate to was one of my favorite parts of the book. More than how he dealt with it was how his family stepped in to help him every step of the way.
The book is about all of his friends and family though, which is what made it such a pleasure to read. Running for president changes everyone’s life and this is an in-depth look at those changes. Friendships are tested and some fall. Marriages struggle to stay alive (and not just the candidate).
And Luke’s wife, Laura, is probably my favorite character in the entire book. She believes in her husband 100%. She knows that he will be good for the country, but she has a tough time dealing with his staff, who are always trying to tell her what to do. Her troubles dont’ end there. She is suddenly feeling like a single parent, and has to face some rather nasty rumors about herself and her family. She takes it all in stride though, and fights for herself and her husband
I also wanted to mention that the book is quite funny. Luke tries to find humor in most situations and I often found myself laughing out loud.
This book was great and I suggest anyone who is interested in politics, or would like to see what it could be like to be thrown into a campaign, to read this book.