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I was very disappointed in this book. I thought the characters weren't developed well enough, and I found myself not caring what happened to them. There were some interesting concepts developed, but very little follow-through. Based on the trajectory of Perrotta's writing, I think I will skip his future books.
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.
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.
Mary B. (Vernon Hills, IL)
Hopefully not "Leftover" on the remainder shelves
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.
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.
Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)
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.
Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
To start this review, I want to state that I am a huge Perrotta fan. I wanted to love this book as I have his previous books, but hard as I tried -- this book did not "do it" for me. It wasn't a bad book by any means, but Perrotta has set a high-standard with me due to his word-gymnastics and his pin-sharp wit. This book felt disjointed for my tastes. I enjoyed some of the characters, but was disappointed by the story leap-frogging from one character to the next. I think I wanted to know more about the G.R. members and why they acted as they did. There was an explanation, but I desired more in-depth reasons for their smoking, their wearing white, their following "subjects" around the neighborhood. I would not say that this is a book NOT worth reading -- far from it, but it wasn't Perrotta's best.
Suzanne Z. (Highland Park, Illinois)
The Leftovers Disappoints
If you are big fan of Tom Perrotta or science fiction be prepared to be disappointed. This novel was somewhat boring and at times somewhat silly. The basic premise is that a million people have just disappeared from earth and how one town reacts to this startling occurrence. The main characters are not very interesting as they search for answers. A weird cult emerges also in this town as it watches its fellow townspeople react to these strange disappearances. Relationships develop between families that have lost loved ones as well as among the characters that joined the cult. This is basically the plot of this novel. The novel lags as the characters evolve and the plot left me confused. As for the science fiction aspect, not Mr. Perotta's best style as a writer.
Lucille B. (San Jose, CA)
left behind and left over
It’s the anniversary of the Sudden Departure. Three years before millions of people disappeared in what appeared to be a random event, leaving friends and family to puzzle over and wonder what happened. Things are starting to get back to normal in the town of Mapleton; the townsfolk, led by Mayor Kevin Garvey, are celebrating the first annual Departed Heroes Day of Remembrance and Reflection. We follow the progress of keynote speaker Norah Durst (her family’s sole survivor) and members of the Garvey family (which has fragmented since the event) as they try to rebuild their lives. In this book Tom Perrota follows his usual method of presenting a group of suburban residents with a dilemma that brings out contradictions and more failings than strengths. His characters are flawed humans, not always easy to like; nor are endings always neatly wrapped up. His satire is superb. The theme, (surviving after a cataclysmic event), not the characters, held my attention.