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Chambermaid: A Novel
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Chambermaid: A Novel

2.68 of 5 stars 2.68  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The devil holds a gavel in this wickedly entertaining debut novel about a young attorney’s eventful year clerking for a federal judge. Sheila Raj is a recent graduate of a top-ten law school with dreams of working for the ACLU, but law school did not prepare her for the power-hungry sociopath, Judge Helga Friedman, who greets her on her first day. While her beleaguered col ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Grove Press (first published May 1st 2007)
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Lisa
Wanted to reach because it's written by a lawyer and I saw an article about in the Texas Lawyer. We'll see if it's any good.

It was pretty darn funny. Although I caution anyone who's going to read this book. If you aren't in the legal business, you might not enjoy this book. It's about the legal biz and there are so many references that the lay person probably wouldn't get. There were lots of funny parts though.
MaryAnn
Rather funny but detailed novel about law students and first jobs. Too much knowledge required about legal stuff, but otherwise a good first novel.
Lynn
Only the second book I've ever seen written about my job, the lowly law clerk, so I thought it was a must read. But, like the first (the Tenth Justice), it was terrible. It's the ubiquitous story of the crazy, bitchy, mean boss. Written by a former appellate clerk, the author brings the Nanny Diaries and Devil Wears Prada to the judiciary. Not that this genre is a great vein of American literature, but this book is particularly bad. Everything is so exaggerated and predictable. It's not at all f ...more
Katherine
So this book is basically The Devil Wears Prada with "3rd Circuit Appeals Court" thrown in everyone "Runway" should be and the names of judges and cases substituted in for designers. It's not particularly original, right down to the fledgling romance with the co-clerk (it's also similarly auto-biographical, despite its "novel" designation). On the other hand, it's funny and definitely a good, fast light read. Also, somewhat of an interesting anomoly in the legal world, where saying anything nega ...more
Jackie
This book is "The Devil Wears Prada" set in the Law/Clerk world. The judge in this book is a crazy woman! If you are having a stressful day at work--read this book! You might realize that it could be worse! At one point, a clerk got stranded because there was a blizzard (it takes place in Philly) and he had to walk from where his train was stranded (north of Philly) into downtown Philly because the Judge didn't close the office even though the WHOLE city of Philly was shut down. Hilarious! (unle ...more
Maureen
This is another one of those books that I'd recommend for law students; it's frightening how much you'll recognize the characters in this book as your own classmates. I am a big fan of books which mix chick lit with a believably intellectual setting, and this is one of those books. If you've got brains, it can be hard to relate to shopaholics and Vogue editors in most chick lit I can think of. I couldn't put it down and read it quickly; another book for law students on vacation or who need somet ...more
Nancy
This would be a great book for anyone who hates their job or thinks they have a tyrannical boss. The author, who in real life went to law school and clerked for a federal judge, has written a funny and sometimes cringe-inducing depiction of a young woman's year of clerking for a federal judge. I grabbed it almost at random from the new books shelf at the public library, and it was a great surprise.
Katie
This book was mostly fluff – perfect for a few pages a night before bed, but nothing earth-shattering. I read it because I wanted to learn about what its like to clerk for a Federal Appellate Judge (my husband was in the process of interviewing for a clerkship at the time). The book was very funny and entertaining but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isnt familiar with the clerkship process.
Miranda
The writing was pretty hilarious at times. The story was entertaining, though there were things that were hard to buy as a lawyer (some of the legal issues in the death penalty case) and a person (a tiny 70+ yr old woman heaving a 10 lb book at her law clerk's head and hitting her in the face). But there were also some things that rang true as a law clerk. Definitely decent brain candy.
Rachel Schoenberger
I loved this book. I don't know if people who have no interest in law would like it as much as I did, but Rao is a good writer and kept me interested. The main character basically describes her trials and tribulations clerking for a US Appeals Court judge who is truly kooky. Some parts are laugh out loud funny while you commiserate with the character in other chapters.
Mickeymu
Nanny Diaries meets a Federal Appeals Court law clerk. The constant one liners were tedious, as was the repetition in dialogue and action. The author, a lawyer and former law clerk for a judge in the third circuit must be certain of her writing career as she makes no attempt to disquise the identity of the judge for whom she clerked. Seems like career suicide to me.
Seema
Although it was disappointingly anticlimactic I loved the intelligent sense of humor of Rao. It helped that many of the jokes were about Indians or Indian culture...those are always a good time. It's basically The Devil Wears Prada in the judicial world, without the personal journey to the realization that there's more to life than fashion and work.
Brian
Clever story, playing on the desire of all law students and young lawyers to experience a "clerkship." My only criticism is that the story's "volume" was stuck on high. There were no dynamics to the story. To paraphrase a famous cartoon villain, "when everything is over the top, nothing is."
Elizabeth Olson
Thinly disguised as fiction, this is really a caustic and often hilarious memoir of a brand new law school grad's first year out, spent clerking for a Federal judge who's vicious, single-minded when she's not absent-minded, slave driving, and amazingly, a brilliant defender of human rights.
Ruby
Who thought someone could make chick-lit out of a federal clerkship experience? I really thought a trained lawyer could write much better than this, but hey, who am I to judge (ha ha!) Overall, cutesy, short, and only mildly annoying at times. Great book to read on a long and boring bus ride.
Erika
Though the story is not particularly original, I thought it was a good, entertaining, and sometimes quite true picture of any type of boss. It also has moments where I laughed out loud. If you are looking an entertaining, funny quick read, I would recommend it.
Sarah
Very readable book.... slightly strange but worth reading, especially if you are at all interested in the legal world and very silly judicial stuff! I would give it as 3.5 but as far as I know 1/2 stars are not an option.
Cat
Strictly limited in its (moderate) appeal to law students. I admit, I did enjoy hearing about a clerk with a tyrannical judge for a boss. The obvious conventions of chick lit apply, in a geeked-up lawyer setting.
Marti
Not fabulous literature, but many funny episodes from the perspective of a federal judicial clerk.
And the conclusion that Duke law grads are arrogant + dumb = intolerable made the whole book worthwhile.
Sara
A really quick read. I was laughing my way through it. I think it helped that I've been through law school, so it didn't take much imagination to picture the characters and all their neuroses.
Sara
I highly recommend this book- I thought it was very well written and hilarious. I am not sure if those not in the legal field would enjoy it quite as much but definitely an excellent book.
Allison Suflas
Jul 11, 2007 Allison Suflas is currently reading it
Not yet finished. A little disappointed at the book in-and-of itself, BUT the commentary on clerks and law students/graduates as a whole is HILARIOUS (and hits VERY close to home)!
Rieta Ganas
Apr 12, 2012 Rieta Ganas added it
Recommends it for: Yes if you are looking for fun and escapism.
Very funny indeed! The shennanigans of the Chambers.A story that rancends the fact that the heroine is Indian - geography does dictate the ways of a person!
Gabriella
Wow, couldn't wait to get through this book. Maybe if I was in the legal and not medical field I may have found it somewhat interesting or funny...
Michelle
Jul 29, 2007 Michelle rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: law clerks and those who want to punish themselves.
So, yes. Worst book ever, but a must-read by anyone who clerked or has a love-hate relationship with annoying self-entitled lawyer narrators.
Terrie
Meh. I agree with reviewers who said this was reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada in a federal court. Only it was a lot less entertaining.
Briana
Nov 05, 2007 Briana marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: current or future law clerks
...because it was reccomended by the female judge in my courthouse, although my judge/boss is a man and has never even heard of it.
Prplpckl
Funny at times. However, it feels like you are reading one big "inside joke" or story, and as a non-lawer, I'm not in on it.
Krystn
A must read for all lawyers who have had impossibly tough bosses with ridiculous expectations when they first leave law school!
Cheryl
Oct 01, 2007 Cheryl rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Whoever liked "The Devil Wears Prada" and "The Nanny Diaries"
This was yet another thinly veiled tell all book. I didn't finish it, because I just couldn't find myself caring enough to do it.
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The read 1 1 Jun 04, 2007 07:03AM  
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