** GIVEAWAY CLOSED **
Tom Perrotta has the reputation of zeroing in on the zeitgeist of modern times and revealing what’s going on in his novels. He’s also known for creating characters that take readers some time to warm up to. Not quite as long as Herman Koch’s, but they’re in the same playground. Perrotta’s new novel, MRS. FLETCHER (Scribner) once again mirrors our landscape, all the good, bad, ugly and stuff you just can’t turn away from.
“Her evening home passed pleasantly enough, rolling along the usual track. First stop, dinner (Greek salad, hummus, pita) followed by way too much Facebook (a problem she was going to have to deal with), a couple of glasses of wine, and three episodes of FRIENDS on NETFLIX (another problem, though she figured it would eventually fix itself, once she made it through all ten season).”
46-year-old, Eve Fletcher is settling into her new life as an a divorced, empty nester, now that her pampered son, Brendan has left for college. One night, she pops open her laptop and is greeted with an anonymous email – “U r my MILF! Send me a naked pic!!” Is she shocked? It actually turns her on enough that she’s soon obsessed with watching porn on-line. It sparks a match, lighting up a new awareness in Eve’s sexual life. She finds herself wanting to kiss her assistant, Amanda at the Haddington Senior Center where they work. Then at her evening “Gender and Society” class, at the local college, she realizes she’s kind of attracted to instructor, Margo Fairchild, a transgender, former basketball player. Fellow student, Julian who is young enough to be her son, tells her he wants to kiss her and more, and she’s feeling it, too. Eventually a quiet after-class party at Eve’s home, turns into a three-way.
Meanwhile, Brendan who would be more than happy to continue being the sexist-jock he was in high-school is now getting wasted and hopes to party away the next four years at Berkshire State University. It’s not too long before his self-satisfied ego is taken down a few notches. Brendan pushes his white-dude-privileged attitude on a girl, named Amber but ends up imploding that relationship before it begins. His testosterone-driven roommate, Zach suddenly tells him he doesn’t feel right objectifying women any longer. Brendan packs up and goes home to mommy. Once home, he’s shocked to learn his former doormat of a girlfriend, is no longer on call for whenever he starts tingling, down there.
The axis of normality is turned on it head in MRS. FLETCHER. While reading. I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable and really embarrassed for some of the characters. But at the same time, I appreciated Perrotta’s smart, razor sharp observations on life in the ‘burbs, if you take his word for it.
I can’t say I liked MRS. FLETCHER, nor did I dislike it. I finished the book thinking, “Okay. What am I going to read next?”
Tom Perrotta is the bestselling author of nine works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films, and The Leftovers, which was adapted into a critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning HBO series. His other books include Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Joe College, The Abstinence Teacher, Nine Inches, and Mrs. Fletcher. His work has been translated into a multitude of languages. Perrotta grew up in New Jersey and lives outside of Boston.
We have two copies of MRS. FLETCHER to giveaway. Just tell us what you think about pornography. It seems the taboo about talking about porn is lessening in today’s society. I’ll keep my thoughts to myself, because they’re heavily influenced by a conference on Human Trafficking that I’m attending this week. THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘N THAT is primarily a “light” blog, but this supposed to be one of the biggest novels of the fall, and this subject is part of what it’s about.
We’ll announce a winner next week..