Read advance reader review of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, page 2 of 4

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The Leftovers

A Novel

by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta X
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2011, 368 pages

    May 2012, 384 pages


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There are currently 25 member reviews
for The Leftovers
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  • Ann O. (Kansas City, MO)
    An Extraordinary Story
    All it took for me to fall in love with Tom Perrotta’s “The Leftovers” were these first two lines: “Laurie Garvey hadn’t been raised to believe in the Rapture. She hadn’t been raised to believe in much of anything, except the foolishness of belief itself.” Perrotta creates instantly believable characters placed in an unbelievable situation and carefully weaves a story that under the pen of any other writer might sound implausible. Last night at 1 a.m., with 30 pages left, I reluctantly headed to bed, but a half hour later, I had to get up and keep reading to find out “what happens” to people I had grown to know and love. Even when I read the last paragraph, I didn’t want it to end. That’s an amazing book!
  • Kristi E. (Highlands Ranch, CO)
    Compelling Story, Relatable Characters
    I found this novel a compelling exploration of how we go on coping (or not) in the face of unfathomable loss. Although the novel is set after millions of people disappear from Earth in the "Sudden Departure," -- a Rapture-like event that is never fully explained -- what Perotta is really writing about is how ordinary people come to terms with loss, loneliness and a world that seems meaningless. He explores many of the same themes as Jonathan Franzen in "Freedom," but with a gentler tone and (I believe) more empathy for his characters. Despite the dramatic event that sets the novel off, this is really a novel of the domestic sphere, where men, women and teens struggle to find meaning and connection in their lives.

    Although I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I was not fully satisfied with a couple of the storylines where I felt the characters' motivations and actions (Laurie's, in particular) were not fully plausible. But all in all, The Leftovers is a strongly-written portrayal of highly relatable characters finding their way back to connection.
  • Brenda D. (Lincoln, CA)
    The Leftovers
    How would you react after a Rapture-like event took place and you remained? How would you rebuild your life? Would you be filled with despair or hope? These are just a few of the questions posed in this intriguing, imaginative and intelligent new book. The story is told through one typical family in a small, suburban community. It is filled with honest human emotions. The author doesn’t make judgments or express any particular political or religious view, but lets the events unfold as the characters learn about their loved ones, and more importantly about themselves. One minor issue I had was the author jumps quite often and quickly between characters even within chapters and it does get a little confusing. But overall, I thought it was one of the best books I have read this year.
  • Sheila (IN)
    This is the kind of book you will recommend to your friends, just so you can talk about it with them. This is a perfect book for book discussion groups.
  • Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)
    Surprised Twice
    I did not realize this author's work was considered "christian fiction" yet was pleasantly surprised by the accessible and universal themes and a writing style that allowed the story to feel organic and readable. The creativity of using the extreme to highlight the everyday added value to the premise.
  • 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)
    The Rapture?
    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.

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