What is surprising about the Washingtonienne is what tolerable company she turns out to be. With much of the ubiquitous chick-lit genre still primly obsessed with the marriage plot, there's something very refreshing about her cynical sexual frankness, her shrugging irreverence toward the buffoons with whom she is intimate, her Scarlett O'Hara tenacity. Sure, she's unrepentantly, appallingly shallow -- callous toward the homeless (''so rude!''), uninterested in reading a newspaper (not even the Sunday Styles section of the newspaper you're holding) -- but there are hints that Cutler, at least, has matured enough to regard her alter ego with a wry knowingness. ''It was worse than Twilo closing,'' Jackie whines, referring to the New York nightclub, when she discovers that her parents are divorcing (the novel's one excuse for a subplot). ''I felt myself getting old, my youth and beauty fading,'' she sighs in Chapter 2. ''I was 25 years old.''
Okay, then. No reason to hate the sex-having, book-contract-snaring Washingtonienne, but no reason to read the book either, unless you're already a chick lit fan but you're tired of "the marriage plot." There's nothing much about politics in the book, apparently, other than that people in politics have illicit sex. Scarcely news.