Friday, November 11, 2016

Book Review: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

This is the second book by Tom Perotta that I have read. I don’t remember anything about The Abstinence teacher except being vaguely bored. I gave it 3 of 5 stars. But I do remember liking the writing style, so when The Leftovers came up as available on Overdrive, I figured it was worth a shot.

Apparently there are sex-specific versions of the cover. I have the sense that you could read either one and be ok.
Here’s a bit of the Goodreads (go to the GR page):
What if — whoosh, right now, with no explanation — a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down? That's what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened — not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.

My two cents:

Imagine this: you are hanging out with a friend in your basement. You go to the bathroom, and when you come back she’s gone. As it turns out, millions of people have disappeared. Poof. Gone.

This book is, basically, about how the people who are left over on Earth after millions of people vanish attempt to cope with and explain the change. It’s actually very interesting to think about all the different ways that people might respond to something like that. Seek religion. Abandon boundaries. Shave your head. Convince a new flock of followers that your child is going to save the world so they don’t have any problem with you sleeping with 15 year old Asian girls. Whatever!
Tom Perotta’s straight forward writing style and fleshed out characters work really well in the story about a whole cast of people who were already lost but now don’t even know what their destination is.

I think this would make a pretty good book club pick.

No diverse books sticker, though. Except for the teenage Asian “spiritual wives,” I think the cultural reflections here are pretty milky.

Apparently, this book was made into an HBO series, that is still running. And OMG, it has Amy Brenneman and Liv Tyler in it. I love them! I won't be watching that, tho.

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