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Little Childrenby Tom Perrotta
"[A] thread of moral fatalism may be more disturbing than any of the other really disturbing things in this novel. The precision of Perrotta's assault on domestic hypocrisy is frightening, to be sure. And if good satire can generate a corrective jolt, this may be a deadly shock." Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
Tom Perrotta's thirty-ish parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There's Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed "The Prom King" by the moms of the playground; Sarah, a lapsed feminist with a bisexual past, who seems to have stumbled into a traditional marriage; Richard, Sarah's husband, who has found himself more and more involved with a fantasy life on the Internet than with the flesh and blood in his own house; and Mary Ann, who thinks she has it all figured out, down to scheduling a weekly roll in the hay with her husband, every Tuesday at 9pm.
They all raise their kids in the kind of sleepy American suburb where nothing ever seems to happen — at least until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two restless parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could have imagined. Unexpectedly suspenseful, but written with all the fluency and dark humor of Perrotta's previous novels, Little Children exposes the adult dramas unfolding amidst the swingsets and slides of an ordinary American playground.
"[An] intelligent, absorbing tale....Once again, [Perrotta] proves himself an expert at exploring the roiling psychological depths beneath the placid surface of suburbia." Publishers Weekly
"[A] complex, fast-moving plot....An accomplished comic novelist extends his range brilliantly. Perrotta's best." Kirkus Reviews
"[W]armly humorous prose....Perrotta, with a light but sure hand, expertly sketches the angst of the playground set and then amps up his material with a subplot involving a child molester. A fast-reading, wholly engaging novel." Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
"[S]earing, compulsively readable....Combining rueful wit with a wonderfully creepy sense of foreboding, Little Children feels like what you might get if Nick Hornby collaborated with David Lynch." Newsday
"Little Children, like all Perrotta's work, is a virtuoso set of overlapping character studies....[A] greatly auspicious and instructive encounter with the dread world of maturity." Chris Lehmann, The Washington Post Book World
"Tom Perrotta's Little Children made me laugh so hard I had to put it down....[A] gentle, sparkling satire. (Grade: B+)" Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly
"What a wicked joy it is to welcome Little Children, Tom Perrotta's extraordinarry novel....Bracingly tender moments stud Perrotta's satire....
"Mr. Perrotta is too generous a writer to trivialize [his characters' yearnings]. What distinguishes Little Children from run-of-the-mill suburban satire is its knowing blend of slyness and compassion." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"The cast is so real that book groups will have a blast comparing people they know to the ones in the book. Perrotta is that rare writer equally gifted at drawing people's emotional maps and creating sidesplitting scenes. Suburban comedies don't come any sharper." People Magazine
"Perrotta's poignant and unflinching prose skillfully evokes both sympathy for his characters and disdain for the convenience they have chosen." Library Journal
"Perrotta has been likened to an American Nick Hornby. With Little Children, he solidifies his reputation as a top comic novelist, and becomes something more, one of the most talented chroniclers of American suburban family in the new millennium." Hartford Courant
"The eponymous children in this satirical novel are actually adults who, chafing at the burdens of parenthood, try to re-create their unencumbered youth...The humor is sometimes cruel, but Perrotta never betrays the complexity of his characters." The New Yorker
"Perrotta's most ambitious book...it marks a leap for Perrotta, a suggestion that there may be bigger books inside him. It is also that rarity, a book that understands the mature wisdom of compromise without denying any of the accompanying melancholy." Charles Taylor, Salon.com
"Perrotta wisely refuses to condescend to the world he satirizes, and his masterful perspective provides the reader with a breezy omniscience over the character's failures in life....[A] brave novel...engrossing, compassionate." Esquire Magazine
"[A] generous serving of laugh-out-loud moments....Perrotta knows the white-picket fence dream is just that. Life is disappointing, sure, but a little bit of breezily sardonic humor goes a long way to ease the pain." USA Today
"[A] story that is timeless and placeless yet rock-solid in its appeal. With easy flowing, uncomplicated prose and a keen ear for dialogue, he has added another layer to what is becoming an impressive and durable body of work." Boston Herald
"For all its surface appeal and adroit cultural references, Little Children is a novel about time and the way it catches everyone, whether they are running or standing still....[It] is a book that will stand the test of time." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"To detail the plot is to diminish its pleasures. Perrotta's scenes sneak up on you. He primes you to expect the worst and then delivers something more credible and amusing, developing his characters' emotions in potent and surprising ways." Los Angeles Times
"With this, his fifth book, Tom Perrotta has to be considered one of our true geenius satirists. Little Children is a great book. Hilarious (I haven't laughed out loud so much over a book in years) but also deeply compassionate and, at times, terrifying. It's both an indictment of, and an elegy to, that odd sociological construct known as suburban America. I was enthralled by every page, and damn if I didn't find myself wishing I'd written it." Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River
"Tom Perrotta...is like an American Nick Hornby: companionable and humane, lighthearted and surprisingly touching." Newsweek
Tom Perrotta's thirty-ish parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There's Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed "The Prom King" by the moms of the playground; Sarah, a lapsed feminist with a bisexual past, who seems to have stumbled into a traditional marriage; Richard, Sarah's husband, who has found himself more and more involved with a fantasy life on the internet than with the flesh and blood in his own house; and Mary Ann, who thinks she has it all figured out, down to scheduling a weekly roll in the hay with her husband, every Tuesday at 9pm.
They all raise their kids in the kind of sleepy American suburb where nothing ever seems to happen-at least until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two restless parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could have imagined. Unexpectedly suspenseful, but written with all the fluency and dark humor of Perrotta's previous novels, Little Children exposes the adult dramas unfolding amidst the swingsets and slides of an ordinary American playground.
About the Author
Tom Perrotta is the author of Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Election, and Joe College. He lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.
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