“Rachel to the Rescue” by Elinor Lipman; Mariner Press (296 pages, $15.99)
Elinor Lipman’s latest novel, “Rachel to the Rescue,” might not stand the test of time, but for this particular time, it’s hilarious.
Rachel has just gotten fired from her job in the Trump White House for accidentally sending an email to the entire White House staff criticizing the president. (Oh, the perils of “Reply all.”)
On her way out the door, she is hit by a car and ends up in the hospital with a concussion and several broken ribs. Next thing you know, Ivanka is sending her flowers, and lawyers and reporters are calling.
But let’s back up. First of all, that job: Remember Trump’s habit of ripping up his notes after meetings? Rachel’s job was to Scotch-tape the pieces back together, as required by the Presidential Records Act.
And then, that car: It was driven by the blond and busty paramour of the president on her way to a White House assignation.
Getting fired from the Trump White House is apparently a badge of honor, and Rachel swiftly lands a job with a muckraking writer who is researching yet another book about the presidency. (Title: “The Blight.”)
What happens next is partly grounded in reality (COVID-19), partly in fantasy (Melania dumps Donald) and entirely in hilarity (Trump’s furious tweets about “Mad Melania” are spot on) as Rachel, her roommates, her trying-not-to-be-busybodies busybody parents, and the guy who works at the wine store all try to figure out what she should do next.
This is a great novel for a summer afternoon. It feels so good to laugh.