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Primary Colors Book Review Summary

Detailed Plot Synopsis of Primary Colors

Told through the eyes of young political consultant Harvey Burton, Klein's debut novel, a thinly-veiled portrait of the 1992 Democratic presidential primaries, is a biting satire of the political game.

When Harvey Burton is approached by representatives of Jack Stanton, the youthful, charismatic governor of a small southern state, he thinks it's just another job. But then a strange thing happens. He actually begins to believe in his candidate. And that could be a problem, because Jack Stanton's candidacy seems to be doomed before it even begins.

As the episodic plot careens from crisis to crisis, Henry and his motley crew of oddball campaign workers must deal with the threat posed by the governor of New York, whose mere existence as a possible contender is enough to drain their funds. Then he has to fend off reporters asking about Stanton's draft-dodging during Vietnam. Then the news of an extramarital affair hits the papers.

And then there are the other candidates to deal with. Most of them aren't serious contenders, but one of them, Lawrence Harris, a retired senator from New Hampshire with an attractive platform and a slick campaign, threatens to snatch victory from Stanton's grasp before the first primary has ended.

When Senator Harris suffers an unexpected heart-attack and slips into a coma, it seems that Stanton and his campaign will win. Until the fallen senator's wife unveils a replacement candidate.

Fred Picker used to be Jack Stanton, a long time ago. Now he's Stanton's worst nightmare: a charismatic campaigner with a knack for playing to the cameras and the help of the sympathy vote. Soon the Stanton campaign finds itself hampered by scandal after scandal as it fights the ultimate uphill battle against a brilliant political mind.

This report prepared by James Craver








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Chapter Analysis of Primary Colors

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 30% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   election campaign    -   political blackmail Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   politician/elected ruler Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American

Setting

United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Southeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   wealthy Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   licking    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   actual description of sex Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Joe Klein Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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