Warning: This review contains spoilers
I thought this was a good conclusion to the book. I could have done with more Charlie and Joe and a little less Frank and Caroline, but oh well.
I am glad that they were able to reverse the change in Joe, and I was amused by the comment that it was Charlie who had to have his demons exorcised. I'm still not sure what it is about Joe and Charlie that appeal to me since normally Joe would not be a character I'm interested in. I'd be somewhat interested in Charlie (policy wonks, yay!)but usually the stay at home thing would lessen my interest as the focus would necessarily be largely on child rearing. (I have absolutely nothing against stay at home parents, I think it's a great thing. But since I'm generally uninterested in children I'm usually not interested in reading about people taking care of children).
Maybe it was the enthusiasm and almost anger in Joe. Or maybe it was just that I adored that scene with Joe sucking on Charlie's neck in [book: Forty Signs of Rain].
It was also interesting to contrast this with [book: Househusband] a novel I read a few years back. That stay at home dad was very holier than thou throughout the book and mostly I just wanted to smack him. Good for you, you have a well behaved daughter but that's no reason to keep going on about how you just can't understand why every stay at home parent can't have a perfectly raised darling. It was the kind of book where he never had to use the TV to babysit his kid for even an instant. She never really misbehaved, he was able to cook, take care of the kid, and keep the house immaculate. I kept wanting his wife to have one or two more kids and then see if he could maintain it or if he'd come off his high horse a little. Probably not.
Anyway, Charlie doesn't have any of that attitude. He still consults on the phone and yeah, he takes Joe to the park and there's some discussion about how the moms are sometimes uncomfortable with him around and how people will automatically assume something if he talks to one of the younger, prettier moms but even though he's clearly not happy when he has to leave Joe in daycare at the White House, I never had the impression that he thought that children who had two working parents had bad or inferior parents. And the house isn't spotless and that's okay. It was more a sense of that's what he likes to do, he enjoys it, and it works well for him and Joe. But if it doesn't work for someone else, that's okay, too. Really, he's much, much
better than Linc. (Though admittedly, [author: Ad Hudler] did raise some interesting points about a stay at home dad who is taking care of a daughter rather than a son, an issue Charlie didn't have to deal with).
From a relationship standpoint I think everything got tied up too neatly. Dianne gets Phil Chase, Frank gets Caroline and because it's Dianne's decision he never really has to choose between the two women he's dating or even tell either of them that he is dating two women.
On the other hand, with all the personal story lines wrapped up, the ending felt surprisingly satisfying to me given that the climate situation was never really resolved. In a way I think that's good though. The major problems were at least started on and though Chase's presidency suffered some amount of The West Wing
's look, we can solve Social Security in an hour! problem, it was much less than it would have been if they managed to correct centuries of global warming in under five years.
Caroline was annoying, and I was more than a little irritated with Frank for trusting her so deeply. Making out with someone with whom you're trapped in an elevator does not a solid foundation for trust make.
Overall, I really enjoyed this trilogy and would recommend it.