Review: Little Children

Little Children
Little Children by Tom Perrotta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last year when I reviewed Tom Perrotta’s NINE INCHES, I couldn’t quite place why he’s one of my favorite authors. I think I get it now. His characters are beautiful in their flaws. None of them are perfect; all of them are unique. They are beautiful—just like each one of us.

Other reviewers credit Perrotta as a satirist, a humorist, but it’s more than that. When I first saw the movie LITTLE CHILDREN, I was instantly drawn into the opening playground scene: the “perfect” mothers gathering at the playground with their perfect children; the odd mother out, spilling her diaper bag while her daughter throws a tantrum. Awkward. Painful. Real.

What the movie may have not pointed out (I forget by now) that the novel eventually exposes is that no one—not even the well-manicured, well-read, well-funded mother—is perfect. There’s always something there. Perrotta crafts the perfectly flawed characters, makes them all totally different, and then throws them together.

Here: the gorgeous father who can’t pass the bar exam; the cop no longer on the force due to shooting a kid; the mother who doesn’t fit in, whose husband has strange habits; the sex offender seeking normalcy. Each character is driven by their personal agendas, their desire to be apart, and each held back by that one, realistic thing that could haunt any one of us.

Perrotta’s neighborhood sure feels like my own. Chances are, it feels like yours, too.

Check out this book and its other reviews on Amazon (I’ve linked the non-movie edition of the book): Little Children: A Novel



4 thoughts on “Review: Little Children

  1. twitchthethread

    I’ve never heard of this book (which is probably shocking!), but I’ve now added it to my goodreads list of 100 books to read this year! I liked how you described the characters as flawed but beautiful. Thank you for the recommendation 🙂

    1. ryandejonghe Post author

      It came out back in ’04; I saw the Academy Award-nominated film first. I was hooked at the opening scene–so reminiscent of the playgrounds I’ve been to in my area. Real! Thanks for swinging by!

  2. kateatthekeyboard

    Ooh I need to pick this one up! I have the film on dvd and I thought it was really great but haven’t really thought too much about reading the book until now. I’ve seen a couple of other really good reviews of it recently though and it seems like my sort of thing so I think it’s time to add it to the ever expanding TBR.


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