Janet H. (Lakeland, FL)
How would you cope?
This book was not at all what I expected...but it was much better! I love the way the author told the story of real people "coping" under extraordinary circumstances.
Reading this book has made me want to read more books by Tom Perrotta. It will stay in my mind a long time. I loved it!
J W. (Davis, CA)
Tom Perrotta's use of a 'sudden departure' of a large portion of humanity is a stroke of genius. Most of us have dealt with loss, grief and tragedy, but this vehicle for an exploration of how we react to that loss and grief is very clever and unexpected. My only complaint is the lack of continuity to character development in the beginning of the book. As the story unfolded that ceased to be an irritant. A good read.
John W. (Clayton, Missouri)
Not Your Typical Post Apocalypse Read
When I read the hype for the book it all sounded great, the author's previous success and a different approach to post apocalypse -- what if you weren't taken to heaven after the Rapture? Unfortunately I felt the author took a canned approach to extreme responses to such an event... mother that abandons her family to join a cult, son that drops out of college to follow a prophet, daughter that drops out of high school to experiment with alcohol, drugs and sex. I believe the story could have been much richer by spending more time developing each character and focusing on how the majority of survivors dealt with the Rapture-like event and knowing they were not chosen. Overall it was a good read not great.
Julie G. (West Hartford, CT)
A Stunning Scenario
Tom Perrotta has created a novel brilliantly blending science fiction and reality. While the premise of the book; that millions of people have been plucked from the earth is fantastic (although not utterly far fetched for some very religious souls), the remaining peoples' responses to The Sudden Departure are so real as to make the story utterly believable. While reading the book, I wondered how the author could possibly end it; the ending he created gives a sense of new beginning and hope, and is perfect.
Karen B. (Pittsburgh, PA)
There's more missing than those who vanished during the "Sudden Departure"
Perrotta's novel is an entertaining exercise of how people cope after being left behind after millions of people vanish during a "Rapture-like" phenomenon. Perrotta successfully captures how society feels compelled to try to make sense of senseless acts of terror/tragedy by both elevating and tearing down these same "victims." However, didn't buy into the fracturing of the family who comprised his 4 main characters. Dad: committed to carrying on; Mom: abandoning family to join a "cult'; Son: dropping out of college to follow a "prophet" who eases those in pain; Daughter: dropping out of high school and experimenting with alcohol, drugs and sex. Wouldn't those families who were spared try to find comfort in each other? Felt this fracturing was a bit forced. The novel raised many questions and I know I will be thinking about the book for quite a while. Just couldn't help but feel a little disappointed after finishing.
William B. (East Peoria, IL)
I'll read whatever this guy writes. I thought, like Little Children & Abstinence Teacher, this book was funny, interesting and sometimes insightful. Don't look for hard science fiction in this, the novel is more concerned with people's reactions and frustrations due to the world changing events.
Andrienne G. (Azusa, CA)
Curious premise, no redemption
I am a fan of Tom Perrotta so I jumped at the chance to review his latest novel. In fairness, "The Leftovers" continues the same dreary and mildly shocking narrative that is true to his style. He does not hesitate to include uncomfortable yet real moments. If his aim is to irritate the reader with plausible consequences if a so-called "Rapture" should occur, he succeeded. I did not care for the characters and nothing really happened, which mirrors what the characters felt too in a way.