“Tom Perrotta is…one of the great writers that we have today. I love this book.” —Harlan Coben
An “engrossing and mordantly funny” (People) novel about ambition, coming-of-age in adulthood, and never really leaving high school politics behind—featuring New York Times bestselling author Tom Perrotta’s most iconic character of all time.
Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.
Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice.
But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers memories for Tracy and leads her to reflect on the trajectory of her own life. As she considers the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President’s wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?
A sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect chronicle of the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time, Tracy Flick Can’t Win “delivers acerbic insight about frustrated ambition” (Esquire).
The heroine of Perrotta's Election returns in this sharp and perfectly executed story of frustrated ambition. Having failed to achieve her youthful career goals, Tracy Flick, now in her mid-40s, is an assistant principal at a New Jersey high school and single mother to 11-year-old Sophia. Though beaten down a little by life, Tracy still harbors ambition and remains determined to reach her goals, and she desperately wants to be voted her school's next principal. To that end, she attaches herself to a tech millionaire's dubious scheme to create a Hall of Fame for the school. The number one choice for its first inductee though not without controversy is former football hero Vito Falcone, who has also not lived up to the promise of his glory days. He is currently divorced, in AA, and possibly suffering from CTE. As the Hall of Fame selection committee's debate over who should receive the honor highlights class and race schisms in the high school, an unexpected act of violence alters the course of several lives. As ever, Perrotta writes incisively from several different points of view, illuminating the frustrated inner lives of his characters; call it Winesburg, N.J. Dominating it all is Tracy, whom the reader comes to understand better even through her cringeworthy machinations. This is the rare sequel that lives up to the original.
Not much of a sequel
If you’re hoping to read about what happened to Mr. McAllister, Paul, Tammy, etc you’ll be sorely disappointed. This story is 100% Tracy and her boring adult life