By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
By Jessica Rudd (Text Publishing, $29.95, softcover, 329 pages)
Prime ministerial adviser Ruby Stanhope has become a sceptical modern day woman. Gone is a little of her infectious enthusiasm for life which was so apparent in Campaign Ruby.
The sequel, Ruby Blues, intertwines politics and chick-lit to create an engaging, light-hearted story with some witty acronyms and many laugh-aloud moments.
Ruby is caught in the midst of an exacting career and an increasingly bigoted boyfriend, Luke. Her juggling act and her desire to have it all collide when he proposes with an ultimatum: take a year off work.
She answers by flying to New York in the prime minister’s entourage with her new intern Bettina Chu. ‘Government is marriage, campaigning is courtship’ for Ruby.
Subplots drive the story with dramas involving television reporter Oscar Franklin who tries to rekindle his romance with Ruby, stories being leaked by the party to the Australian media and the PM’s chief of staff being blackmailed.
While Ruby tussles with the challenges in her life, the novel also deals with many of the essentials for women in a modern corporate world.
Bettina and Ruby, with an appealing relationship, balance each other out substantially. Ruby sees some of herself in Bettina, remembering her misplaced hopes and dreams.
Atake on the PR machine that drives politics, Ruby Blues is astute, dexterous and comes complete with biting bitchiness, temptations and deficiencies.
Being the daughter of former PM Kevin Rudd, one wonders how much of this sardonic insight into the Canberra ‘politeratti’ is based on Jessica’s reality.
Edition 305, 20 March 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.