Reader reviews and comments on The Leftovers, plus links to write your own review.

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The Leftovers

A Novel

by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2011, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2012, 384 pages

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There are currently 26 reader reviews for The Leftovers
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Julie Z. (Bennington, VT)

The Leftovers--great for a book group
Having read Tom Perotta's Little Children, I knew this would be another slice of suburban life. However, this is not ordinary life. It's life in the aftermath of a worldwide "disappearing", or rapture, of a large number of the worlds' population. The odd part is that the people who vanished seem to have been randomly selected.

Perotta focuses on a few who try to continue as before, and others who choose to live in reaction to this event. The omniscient narrator follows the lives of young people as they come of age, as well as several adults, male and female.

I think this would make a great choice for a book discussion. The characters are real people--teens, parents, spouses, and everyone has had to face an unexpected life event at some point or another. Plus, we have all wondered about the afterlife, and have heard about millennial groups, and have thoughts on the subject.
Mary B. (Vernon Hills, IL)

Hopefully not "Leftover" on the remainder shelves
I had previously read Little Children by the same author. I really enjoyed the style, structure, themes and was looking for something else by him. The concept on this one sounded great. A possible Rapture occurs in which a number of people simply vanish. This leaves the people left behind with questions and grief over those who left. It seems to affect all of them in different ways and people come up with different ways to cope. Some joint cults, others have a bit of a makeover, and others go on pretending things are normal. It's a great look at grief and how we deal with loss. Brilliantly some of the characters leave by choice and others by the event. It gives a full picture of why people leave and how the circumstances change our reaction. Is there a big difference between whether a wife is zapped up or she can't deal and moves across town to the cult house? Do you mourn a husband who literally disappeared after he emotionally disappeared years ago? I really enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it. The book was well-written and paced. It was a real page-turner for me. I will definitely be looking into more books by the author.
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)

Survivor's guilt
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.
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.
Lesley M. (Mesa, AZ)

Life After......
The Leftovers is a glimpse into the lives of people who have been left behind after their loved ones have disappeared (as stated in Revelations in the Bible). The story follows a list of characters and how they cope with their life as it is now, shattered, changed. The characters are interesting, believable and the story's theme puts you into the character's role....how would you live after this type of life altering event happened? Great book; hard to put down!
Susan S. (Lafayette, CA)

Another page-turner from Tom Perotta
I love this author. He has the rare gift of being satirical but warm at the same time, with underlying humor that never veers over into parody. His characters feel real. This is perhaps his best book yet, and also his most ambitious. All of his imaginings of the various ways people would react to the dilemma for some and tragedy for others of being the leftovers seemed exactly right, ranging from general hopelessness to outrage to new fanatical cults to resignation. I also liked that he did not try to explain the event, and did not treat it as a religious phenomenon. It was just something that happened with no warning and so – now what? I cannot recommend this book more highly.
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!

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