Unexpectedly suspenseful, but written with all the fluency and dark humor of Tom Perrotta's The Wishbones and Joe College, Little Children exposes the adult dramas unfolding amidst the swingsets and slides of an ordinary American playground.
Tom Perrotta's thirty-ish parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There's Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed "The Prom King" by the moms of the playground; Sarah, a lapsed feminist with a bisexual past, who seems to have stumbled into a traditional marriage; Richard, Sarah's husband, who has found himself more and more involved with a fantasy life on the internet than with the flesh and blood in his own house; and Mary Ann, who thinks she has it all figured out, down to scheduling a weekly roll in the hay with her husband, every Tuesday at 9pm.
They all raise their kids in the kind of sleepy American suburb where nothing ever seems to happen--at least until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two restless parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could have imagined.
Perrotta received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for best screenplay for the film adaptation of Little Children, which was directed by Todd Field and starred Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly.
The characters in this intelligent, absorbing tale of suburban angst are constrained and defined by their relationship to children. There's Sarah, an erstwhile bisexual feminist who finds herself an unhappy mother and wife to a branding consultant addicted to Internet porn. There's Todd, a handsome ex-jock and stay-at-home dad known to neighborhood housewives as the Prom King, who finds in house-husbandry and reveries about his teenage glory days a comforting alternative to his wife's demands that he pass the bar and get on with a law career. There's Mary Ann, an uptight supermom who schedules sex with her husband every Tuesday at nine and already has her well-drilled four-year-old on the inside track to Harvard. And there's Ronnie, a pedophile whose return from prison throws the school district into an uproar, and his mother, May, who still harbors hopes that her son will turn out well after all. In the midst of this universe of mild to fulminating family dysfunction, Sarah and Todd drift into an affair that recaptures the passion of adolescence, that fleeting liminal period of freedom and possibility between the dutiful rigidities of childhood and parenthood. Perrotta (Election; Joe College; etc.) views his characters with a funny, acute and sympathetic eye, using the well-observed antics of preschoolers as a telling backdrop to their parents' botched transitions into adulthood. Once again, he proves himself an expert at exploring the roiling psychological depths beneath the placid surface of suburbia. East Coast author tour.
Maybe it was just my download
but chapter four (titled Book Group) of part II of the novel is cut off.
Not flawless but still beautiful
I thought a lot about this book after I finished it. Well written, though for me the tempo is off in the final chapters as it cuts between scenes. I was most taken by the character personalities, how well developed and how accurate the title really is. A worthwhile read.
Starts off good with a less than dramatic ending
A good read but the ending was just not that great. It did not leave me wanting more.