At the time I learned that Scribner was publishing MRS. FLETCHER—a penetrating and hilarious new novel about a 46-year-old divorcee whose only child has just left for college when she receives an anonymous text message that incites new romantic possibility—I hadn’t yet experienced the pleasure of a Tom Perrotta novel. Boy, was I missing out. Perrotta is one of the most popular and bestselling novelists of our time, and rightly so. With a keen, probing eye, he is a true master of the nuanced domestic drama or comedy—dramedy, if you will. So after I finished MRS. FLETCHER (which only took a day because I couldn’t put the book down) I decided to have myself a Tom Perrotta marathon. Here are the 7 Tom Perrotta novels you should binge read.
In this distinctly satirical and compassionate novel, Ruth Ramsey is a high school human sexuality teacher whose openness is not appreciated by all her students—or their parents. Ruth goes head to head with Tim Mason, her daughter’s soccer coach and her new adversary when he uses evangelical Christianity to target the loose-lipped sex ed teacher.
Now an enormously popular HBO series, THE LEFTOVERS is a startling, thought-provoking novel about what happens to the citizens of Mapleton, New York after the Sudden Departure—the bewildering disappearance of two percent of the global population. Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new major, is trying to speed up the town’s healing process but is distracted by his own fractured family and his growing relationship with Nora Durst.
It’s Spring Break, but Yale junior Danny is stuck behind the wheel of his father’s lunch truck, trying to work out his complicated love life with not one but two different women, while avoiding a territory war with a group of thugs called the Lunch Monsters. This might be Perrotta’s warmest and most light-hearted novel about a young man trying to find his place in the world.
Perrotta’s highly entertaining first novel, THE WISHBONES follows a 31-year-old rock guitarist with a New Jersey wedding band who decides to propose to his longtime girlfriend, only to begin an affair with a New York poet. He quickly finds himself torn between letting his dreams die and having a steady gig.
A surprisinging host of thirtysomething parents in a sleepy American suburb are thrown together when a convicted child molester moves back to town and two restless parents begin an affair that goes farther than either ever planned. LITTLE CHILDREN explores ordinary adult drama in an unexpected and mordantly humorous light.
Also a film starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, ELECTION is a hilarious novel about a high school election that brings out the worst in everyone. With all the sex scandals, smear campaigns, and behind-the-scenes power brokers at Winwood High, these suburban teenagers are acutely mimicking the nastiest of democratic processes.
Tom Perrotta’s novel is an exciting and hilarious read about a student election—meant to be an educational tool—gone awry due to smear campaigns, sex scandals, and other unpleasant matters. The 1999 adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick became a bona fide cult classic.
It seems only fitting to end your Perrotta marathon with his latest and greatest. Happily, this new novel is just on sale! Sharp, witty, and a must-read book of the summer, MRS. FLETCHER is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.