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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 & Reviews
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.
"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
"[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
"[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
"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
"Tom Perrotta...is like an American Nick Hornby: companionable and humane, lighthearted and surprisingly touching." Newsweek
"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
"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
"[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
Three couples raise their kids in the kind of quiet suburb where nothing ever seems to happen — until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could ever have imagined.
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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