My Favorite Trashy eBook

August 24, 2010

Jessica Cutler, the Washingtonienne sex blogger whose novel became an ebook

It’s one of my all-time favorite trashy novels — and it’s based on a true story.

In 2004, 26-year-old Jessica Cutler worked for Republican Senator Mike Dewine. But at night she’d drink and get romantic with the men of Washington D.C. — and, unfortunately, kept an online blog about it (which she’d meant to share only with her friends). Inevitably, a political gossip site discovered the blog and Cutler was immediately fired — though she was also offered a lot of money to pose for Playboy, and to write a sexy “fictionalized” memoir. It’s an exciting read, and an exciting life — with a real-world epilogue that makes it even more interesting.

The photograph above was reportedly taken on the same day Jessica was fired — and I actually played a tiny role in the subsequent press coverage. The Washington Post hadn’t checked their facts — Cutler was claiming to be just 24 years old, and that she’d already earned a degree in International Relations. On my blog I’d set the record straight — and ended up linked by the same trashy gossip site that had linked to Jessica. And then the internet buzzed with the most tantalizing question of all. Was Jessica’s whole blog also an elaborate work of fiction?

The question was settled by a lawsuit in 2006 — by the one of the men Jessica had written about. A real case was filed in federal court, arguing that he’d suffered “humiliation and anguish beyond that which any reasonable person should be expected to bear in a decent and civilized society.” He’d been counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, but found Jessica was blogging about their sexy dates. (“I told my coworkers about the spanking over lunch… Not sure I should have told them.”) When asked about those wild nights a year later, Jessica told USA Today breezily that “I don’t even remember doing that stuff. I don’t even remember what those guys looked like.”

Some of the men had given her money, according to Jessica’s own blog, and she turned up in news headlines again in 2008. Prosecutors busted a Manhattan call-girl ring whose clients included New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. But Jessica Cutler had been spotted on one of the sex worker’s web pages (a site advertising sexy models), according to the New York Post. When the paper asked if she was now working as an escort, the author replied: “I can’t talk about that.”

Cutler had already filed for bankruptcy, at the age of 29 — but her story actually has a happy ending. Twenty months ago, Cutler got married — to a 29-year-old bankruptcy lawyer named Charles Rubio (of the New York firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy). According to the New York Observer, “They met last March at an East Midtown bar called, appropriately, Redemption.” And one year ago, Jessica Cutler gave birth to their first child — Jessica-Louise.

If anything, the erratic backstory makes her 2005 book even more interesting. She writes about wanting to form a serious love relationship with a man named Marcus — in real life, the man who eventually sued her. The romance provides the book’s underlying dramatic question of whether Jessica could walk away from her life of late-night good times, but the book is also just a startlingly honest account of the ups and downs when you’re very young and very out of control. It’s “one of the most realistic depictions of casual sex,” according to a female friend of mine who read it. “It was amazingly honest.” And if you’re enjoying the “guilty pleasure” of reading Jessica’s story, you’ll know that some of the chaos continued after the end of the book.

I thought Cutler’s writing style was lively and fun, and the book may also offer a glimpse at next year’s smash TV show. Cutler told the New York Observer that HBO had already filmed a pilot for a new series based on her novel for the 2011 season. You can also savor this irony: during Cutler’s short-lived Washington career, her job had been opening and answering the letters sent to a U.S. Senator. She always seems to accidentally find her way to the center of the public eye, and on the day she was married, Brooke Shields even emerged from the same hotel where Cutler’s wedding party had been celebrating. Shields accidentally wandered into Cutler’s wedding party, according to the New York Observer, so as the couple emerged, they confronted a full battalion of paparazzi.

It seems like everyone laughed as they watched Jessica’s notoriety finally passing by, and the newspaper playfully reported one more crucial detail about her new husband. (“Yes, he’s read her book.”) Now you can finally read Jessica’s fictionalized 2005 memoir on the Kindle — but even her ebook suffered one last funny accident.

A glitch in Amazon’s database changed the publication date for the ebook, so now Amazon reports that the book was published 110 years ago — on January 1, 1900!

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