I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! Primary Colors was initially written anonymously but later revealed to be by Joe Klein (a political columnist). The book focuses on Henry Burton, a congressional worker who still believes in the good that politics can do, as he gets sucked into the campaign of Jack Stanton (who is basically Bill Clinton). As Stanton’s past is revealed (an affair, a draft dodge, another affair…) Henry loses his idealism and the reader gets an excellent view of politics behind the scene.
I remember seeing the John Travolta movie that was based on this book when I was maybe 14, but I don’t remember it very well, and I don’t think I really understood most of it at the time. Clinton ran for president for the first time when I was, like, seven years old. The majority of what I know about him comes from later in his presidency, and anything spoofed on SNL in the late 90s. Regardless, whether you followed Clinton rabidly or know even less than me, this was a great read. The writing is funny and sharp, and Henry Burton was a great protagonist — he strikes a good balance between wanting to believe in his candidate, and barely hanging on to his idealism. I could have done without the little romance between him and the candidate’s wife, however — that seemed to be a bit much to swallow.