Rachel to the Rescue by Elinor Lipman

“I didn’t threaten him. I don’t even remember the exact wording, but it was along the lines of what an idiot you are. I’d had a little too much to drink when I wrote it—”

RACHEL TO THE RESCUE

Rachel Klein is sacked from her job at the White House after she sends an email criticizing Donald Trump. As she’s escorted off the premises she is hit by a speeding car, driven by what the press will discreetly call “a personal friend of the President.”

Does that explain the flowers, the get-well wishes at a press briefing, the hush money offered by a lawyer at her hospital bedside? 

Rachel’s recovery is soothed by comically doting parents, matchmaking roommates, a new job as an aide to a journalist whose books aim to defame the President, and unexpected love at the local wine store.

But secrets leak and Rachel’s newfound happiness has to make room for more than a little chaos. Will she bring down the President? Or will he manage to do that all by himself? Rachel to the Rescue is a mischievous political satire, with a delightful cast of characters, from one of America’s funniest novelists.


At the beginning of Rachel to the Rescue, we meet Rachel Klein. She’s just secured a job at the most famous house in America. 

It’s white, and located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

She’s quick to admit that she only got the job at the official residence of the 45th President of the United States because of some distracted HR professional who interviewed her for the entry-level gig in slapdash fashion.

I mean, looking back, wasn’t everything at the presidential palace being run in that kind of manner back then? She likely got the job because no one else wanted it. I mean, did anyone really want to work for Donald Trump?

Anyway, out of sheer desperation, Rachel accepted.

Her job title: reader at the Office of Correspondence.

After sailing through her security clearance, she finds herself in a cubicle surrounded by a dozen men and women just like her, all carrying out their clerical duties. 

Informal job description: read through every single scrap of incoming mail, including positive, negative, dangerous, hate mail, love letters, requests for loans, business advice, autographs (absolute daily torture). 

Réne Deanda, Unsplash

Rachel knew from her experience that Trump never read a single thing anyone wrote to him, so she was surprised to find herself fired one day after sending an email to her colleagues criticizing him. She’d had a few too many cocktails and hit reply all on an email (we’ve all been there), and somehow it ended up with her being escorted off the premises. 

While being walked out across 17th Street, with the whole world watching, she’s hit by a speeding car. Next thing we know, Rachel’s at the hospital where she’s paid a visit by a high-powered attorney, carrying a check with a pretty hefty sum. Her phone won’t stop ringing with incoming calls from reporters, and buzzing with texts from family members and Facebook friends. 

What a nightmare! Who knew working at the White House under the Donald Trump administration would cause such a fuss?

“How’s the pain?” The nurses ask. “How are you doing?” Her parents ask. “How do you spell ‘Rachel’?” The Associated Press asks, while hounding her for a statement. 

Why on earth is no one asking her who the heck hit her with that car?

“Something’s going on,” Rachel says.

Jose M, Unsplash

I hadn’t read any of Elinor Lipman’s work before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was intrigued by the cover and description of Rachel to the Rescue, and it turned out to be just what I needed. I was having a pretty crappy mental health day when I picked up this novel, and it had me in fits of laughter within moments.

It was lighthearted, filled with joy, charm, and humour. I adored Rachel’s personality, mostly because she’s so dramatic. For example, when she’s at the hospital following the accident, and she’s trying to weasel morphine out of the nurse on duty, her ‘now favorite nurse.’ That definitely gave me a giggle. Rachel’s personality is bold, daring, and totally sarcastic, which I just loved. 

I have to admit, at the time of this review, I had been finding it quite challenging to focus fully on reading with my mental health flailing, which meant putting more effort, and energy into my writing, especially with more in-depth non-fiction reviews. I love non-fiction, but it's definitely more consuming.

However, there’s nothing quite like a romantic fiction novel to recharge the batteries. That’s why I like to do a mixture of reviews on Avocado Diaries. Rachel to the Rescue was an easy read, its prose lively, playful, and upbeat. Overall, I found it quite refreshing. It's the kind of book you can pick up and put down for little lifts in your mood, since it doesn't require too much emotional energy or investment. 

An extremely accomplished author, Elinor Lipman clung to me in a way a novelist hasn’t for a while, and now I’m tempted to save the rest of her work for a rainy day, to pull it out again for when I need it most. Both Good Riddance and On Turpentine Lane, by Elinor sound like lovely reads.


ELINOR LIPMAN
is the award-winning author of eleven novels, including The View from Penthouse B and The Inn at Lake Devine; one essay collection, I Can't Complain; and Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus. She lives in New York City.

Rachel to the Rescue is available for pre-order in paperback format (releasing 13th July) at Indigo or right away in e-book format on Kobo. Check GoodReads for additional retailers.

Thank you to HMH Books and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy for this review.

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