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Okay -- it's not believable. No winsome young white heterosexual lass like Ollie would ever be hired as the White House Chef -- that's a patronage position, and would go to someone with political clout, or as a bow to some interest group. At least in these post-JFK days, cooking ability has very little to do with it.
And right, one would assume that security in the White House would be a whole lot better than it was in this book -- or at least one WOULD have assumed that, up until the several recent and very serious breaches of security have made the headlines. Now that part of the plot doesn't seem so far fetched at all.
But okay, this is fiction, for crying out loud! It doesn't have to echo real life -- and there were so many more things to really like about this book I couldn't stop listening.
Ollie got her first "Atta girl!" from me when she unabashedly went out to the firing range to practice -- now remember, Ollie is not a PI, she's not a detective, not in law enforcement. She's a cook, an artist, and still she likes to shoot! Good deal -- a nascent Sarah Palin, right there. Ollie could probably plug a boar with the best of 'em. Not only that, but she reveres her father, who was killed in the service. She regularly goes to Arlington Cemetery to honor him, seek his presence and consolation. That's nice; nice to see a young girl who honors and respects her dead father. AND she gets goose bumps when she hears the Star Spangled Banner! Are you seeing a pattern, here? We actually have a conservative protagonist -- something so rare in contemporary fiction that it deserves to be celebrated. I like that.
True, she should dump that boyfriend of hers -- any man who repeatedly talks to her as though she's "a wayward second grader" deserves to be dumped, and fast. She doesn't deserve that -- she deserves someone a whole lot better than that weasel. But maybe she takes care of him in a subsequent book.
All in all it was a great listen -- lots of red herrings. I had several resolutions in mind, all through the book, and none of them were right. The ending was fine -- took me by surprise. I also loved all the tidbits of information about cooking in the White House -- they may be fiction, too, for all I know, but it sounded plausible enough. I resonated with the evil political appointee who was trying to run the show -- that was one character who was most definitely NOT fictional. Those kind of turkeys exist, oh, yes they do. As do ambitious characters like Laurel Ann -- that wasn't fiction either.
Good book! I've already added two more by Julie Hyzy to my wish list. Good light reading!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about State of the Onion?
I liked the whole premise of this story (White House Chef), but I am only willing to suspend belief so far. Therefore, I can live with the opening chapter where a petite chef is the only member of the White House staff able to subdue a possible terrorist, besting an entire group of Secret Service. But, after that, I need the story to feel like it could possibly happen. This heroine does one stupid thing after another and the characters introduced to be her nemeses are so one-dimensional that they are unintentionally funny.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Some one who writes better
What does Eileen Stevens bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
She was fair- her voice was acceptable as the voice of the heroine, but other voices were not very distinct.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
13 of 16 people found this review helpful