Photo credit: Ben King, Courtesy of HBO
A song for every chapter in the book, plus some bonus tracks…
“Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel
An overture for the novel, an inspiration for the title, and a tribute to an icon of mature female sexuality. Weirdly, Anne Bancroft was only 35 when The Graduate
was filmed, over a decade younger than Mrs. Fletcher is in the book.
“Sugar Mountain” by Neil Young
In the first chapter, Eve drops her son off at college. On the way, she listens to an old Neil Young CD. I’m sure this is one of her favorites.
“Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj
Brendan arrives at BSU in the fall of 2014, shortly after this tune is released. I bet he appreciated the blunt, cheerfully dumb, blatantly sexy lyrics.
“Summer” by Buffalo Tom
Eve’s at loose ends on Labor Day weekend. She knows the melancholy of this song all too well: “Summer’s gone a summer song / You’ve wasted every day, / every day.”
“Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
Brendan hears an a capella group singing this while he’s meeting with his academic adviser. He doesn’t know it yet, but it’s the story of his life.
“Adult Education” by Hall & Oates
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I love Hall & Oates as much as the next guy, but this isn’t one of their best. Nonetheless, it’s an all-too-appropriate soundtrack for Eve’s night school class on “Gender and Society.”
“Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying” by Belle and Sebastian
This is how Amanda Olney feels at the end of a long workday at the Senior Center.
“I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations
A great song about a man who’s afraid to cry. Brendan wishes it would rain in the cafeteria.
“I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry
Eve probably doesn’t know this song, but Amanda sure does.
“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by The Hollies
This song makes me
wish it would rain. Brendan’s not quite ready for it yet, but maybe someday…
“Aqualung” by Jethro Tull
Eve hears this song in the bar. It bugs her that she knows the lyrics.
“Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" by The Buzzcocks
Amber’s anthem of regret.
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
Margo’s favorite song, and the soundtrack to her transition.
“When Doves Cry” by Prince
Amanda thinks this is “possibly the sexiest song ever written.” I second that emotion.
“Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye
Dumell and Margo’s last dance. And a worthy challenger in the aforementioned category.
“Close Call” by Rilo Kiley
Eve knows the feeling.
“Valentine’s Day” by Bruce Springsteen
As Bruce sings in another song, “when you’re alone, you ain’t nothin’ but alone.”
“Bad Self Portraits” by Lake Street Dive
Sometimes even the bad ones are good enough.
“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
“Even children get older / And I’m getting older too.” Aren’t we all.
“Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline
When the night wind starts whispering, all bets are off.
“I Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin
The most beautiful song about longing that I know: “And all through my coffee break time / I say a little prayer for you.”
“Here, There and Everywhere” by The Beatles
A love song that’s a little clingy for my taste, but reasonable people may disagree.
“Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne
You didn’t think I was actually going to leave this one out, did you?
÷ ÷ ÷
is the bestselling author of eight works of fiction, including Election
and Little Children
, both of which were made into critically acclaimed movies, and The Leftovers
, which was adapted into an HBO series. He lives outside Boston. Mrs. Fletcher
is his most recent book.