Making fun of General Petraeus, his biographer/lover Paula Broadwell and their scandalous affair seems like it would be easy work, fill a book with a bunch of Jay Leno-like monologue sex jokes and you’re done, a fun but forgettable read. I’m happy to report this definitely not the case with The Petraeus Files. Author Ted Travelstead—a talented writer and performer known for dreaming up bizarre little landscapes filled oddly sweet creatures and people—creates a truly hilarious and original take on this outrageous romance in the form of email correspondence between a cast of both horned-up and buttoned-down characters.
I was laughing at loud (honest to goodness LOLs!) within the first few pages as I learned about the General’s professed love of bugle music, hatred of pool parties and complete ignorance of iTunes. Travelstead’s deft treatment of the mercurial pair and their romance is absurd yet oddly respectful, making these love-struck kids quite endearing. By the end of the first couple of chapters, you find yourself rooting for them and their mutual admiration of John Mayer music and donkey-inspired love-making.
Ted saves the majority of his jabs for the insane character of Jill Kelley, the busybody bored housewife who throws lavish parties for her military neighbors, pens godawful fan fiction, loves chain restaurants and inadvertently causes the downfall of the infamous secret romance. Her inane text conversations with her sister and emails with multiple generals are downright gut busting. Travelstead’s comedic sensibilities—follow him on Twitter at @trumpetcake (he is the best)—really shine bright with his over-the-top descriptions of her extravagant parties (Shark-Attack Simulator!). I really loved this book and want to know more about these people… not the real ones, I’m talking about the dopey, love-starved characters Travelstead gleefully created for us.