Picks and Pans Review: First Hubby

updated 06/25/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/25/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Roy Blount Jr.

Guy Fox, husband of the nation's first woman President, narrates humorist Roy Blount Jr.'s genial, droll and surprisingly romantic first novel. First Hubby is a job Guy is neither prepared for, nor wants.

"I had no inkling," Guy, a magazine writer, tells his diary, "that I would someday become the first person in history to carry the Tampax (only when we got off the plane on the first day of her Administration, when she didn't have her staff fully organized) of the most powerful person on earth."

Guy makes the move to the White House when his beloved wife, Vice President Clementine Fox, is sworn in after her running mate is killed in a freak accident with a fish. (The late President DaSilva won the 1992 election when it was revealed two weeks before the election that Marilyn Quayle had seduced George Bush, tried to stage a coup and had then escaped to Libya.)

Being First Hubby isn't easy. As President, Clementine seems to have little time or use for Guy other than as a sexual partner, and Guy himself has no interest in such traditional First Lady activities as planning state dinners ("Hey, let's try it without place cards") and redecorating the White House ("To me, any wallpaper that's already on is better than any wallpaper that isn't").

With too much time and too little to do, Guy finds himself putting on ridiculous disguises and going out among the common folk to ask what they think of the President, and telling all to his diary. "I think it's harder than people realize, to be living in a damn museum, and the papers are calling you, 'the least effective first spouse since Bess Truman,' and you're going through empty-nest syndrome at the same time," he writes.

Poor Guy, but lucky us. Blount's jaunty novel scores as both political satire and sexy romance. He sometimes gets carried away with good ol'boy riffs and pointless paragraphs justified only by their ending puns. Well, okay, the rest of the book is so much fun, the reader is willing to spot him a point or two. Now, here's hoping J. Danforth Quayle gets hold of a copy of First Hubby before it's too late. (Villard, $18.95)

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