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Little Children: A Novel (2004)

de Tom Perrotta

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
3,2731052,968 (3.65)66
Unhappily married Sarah passes her days at the local playground with her three-year-old daughter. When happily unemployed Todd (also married) and Sarah meet, their attraction is immediate. They begin a passionate affair just as their suburban utopia is rattled by the arrival of registered sex offender Ronald James McGorvey. With McGorvey in town, disgusted parents wonder if any of their little children will be safe.… (més)
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It's probably not the book's fault. I just finished up another existentially depressing treatise on modern life, so this wasn't a great chaser (not that i knew that at the time, of course).

But man, what bleakness.

Little Children is the story of how nobody is really happy or in control, and trying to change it only makes things worse. There are brief, fleeting moments of happiness that collapse into ever-lengthening echoes of despair the minute you start to time them. Also, the story of a registered sex offender (and accused-but-not-actually-convicted child murderer!) plays a big role.
So I feel somewhat justified.

I can appreciate the argument that the novel is only trying to represent "reality," and I will concede the plotting is at least probable, if not super likely. But this is where my "two books where the predominant theme is people are terrible in a row" thing kicks in. I understand (and subscribe to!) the idea that people, in general, are kind of terrible. Individual persons, though, tend to be less so.

Every character in Little Children feels like a consolidation of the worst traits of humanity distilled into an individual, which (in my experience) is precisely opposite of how it works. People as a whole are scumbags; Your neighbor probably isn't too bad. Though we like to joke that hipsters and suburbanites are terrible people, for the most part they're just mildly annoying when they congregate and generally tolerable on their own, short of fashion sense. Perhaps there's some sort of assholic magnet that drew those people together, or maybe it was something in the water. Regardless, you don't see that kind of bitterness and poison among a group of people outside of that ABC show The Slap, which I don't think anyone is confusing for reality anytime soon.

Which is not to say this was a bad book! Merely depressing. Just make sure you're ready going into it. ( )
  kaitwallas | May 21, 2021 |
this grabbed me right away with the good writing. it's not quite as in-depth a character study as i'd like, but it is still character heavy with a lot of introspection and good writing. plus, it could qualify as my favorite sub-genre (suburban malaise), so i was bound to like it.

i found that i didn't care much for any of the characters or their motivations, but i still thought this was great. todd's character arc, in particular, with his watching the teen skateboarders when he was supposed to be studying for the bar exam, to his reclaiming of his past glory as a quarterback, was interesting to read. i do wish he'd gone a little more in depth into larry and his shooting of the young black kid, although in 2004 i guess white people weren't thinking about that nearly as much as we are now.

this is my first tom perrotta and while i generally prefer to read women writers, i'm excited to read more by him.

"With that, the dam broke, and she burst into piteous tears, a desolate animal wailing that even made the other kids turn and look, as if realizing they were in the presence of a virtuoso and might be able to pick up a few pointers." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Jan 31, 2021 |
I love Tom Perrotta's books. He takes perfectly believable people living perfectly believable lives and makes them cross paths in breath-taking ways. Impossible to put down. ( )
  stephkaye | Dec 14, 2020 |
Great book. Better than the movie, they changed a lot for the screen. Plenty is still the same, but the ending in the book is a whammy. ( )
  whatathymeitwas | Sep 13, 2020 |
After reading this book I decided to reread Madam. Bovary. The story was interesting, but the author spent too much detail describing football plays excruciating detail. Overall it was not bad. The ending was convoluted. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
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"I have a lover! I have a lover!" she kept repeating to herself, reveling in the thought as though she were beginning a second puberty.
--Flaubert, Madame Bovary
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In memory of my father, Joe Perrotta
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The young mothers were telling each other how tired they were.
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Not everything is God's will. If your VCR's broken, you don't take it to a priest. You take it to the VCR guy.
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Unhappily married Sarah passes her days at the local playground with her three-year-old daughter. When happily unemployed Todd (also married) and Sarah meet, their attraction is immediate. They begin a passionate affair just as their suburban utopia is rattled by the arrival of registered sex offender Ronald James McGorvey. With McGorvey in town, disgusted parents wonder if any of their little children will be safe.

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