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Little Children [Paperback]

Tom Perrotta
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
Price: £9.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

25 July 2005
Top Ten New York Times Bestseller. Tom Perrotta's exceptional novel perfectly captures the world of stay-at-home mums (and one dad); playground politics; and where a stolen kiss with someone else's husband can lead you. Meet Todd, the handsome house husband, christened 'the Prom King' by the mums in the playground. And Sarah, a lapsed feminist whose copy of "The Handmaid's Tale" lies neglected beneath "The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist". And then there's Mary Ann, who is busy scheduling everything, including her sex life (every Tuesday at 9 pm sharp). They all raise their kids in the kind of quiet suburb where nothing ever seems to happen, until one eventful summer when a convicted criminal moves into the neighbourhood and two parents begin an affair that will take them further than they could ever have imagined...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (25 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749083042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749083045
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,396,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"'Outstanding...a fleshed out portrait crossing seemingly rigid social boundaries' New York Times Review 'Little Children, like all Perrotta's work, is a virtuoso set of overlapping character studies, the sort of book where both a remorseless Stepford mom and an accused child molester can inspire pity and show themselves more than capable of their own sorts of compassion' Washington Post"

About the Author

Tom Perrotta is the author of several works of fiction, including 'Joe College' and 'Election', which was made into the acclaimed 1999 movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Mattheew Broderick. Perrotta has taught expository writing at Yale and Harvard University. Tom lives with his wife and two children in Belmont, Massachusetts. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific: Here's Why 27 Aug 2004
This time around, Perrotta takes satirical aim at the stifling confinement of suburban middle-class existence. To a man, his characters are lost, utterly bewildered as to how they've landed in their unremarkable lives, saddled with spouses and mortgages and children. Having drifted, almost involuntarily, into adulthood, they suddenly snap awake, and begin a dismayed accounting of their lives, all facing the same choice: do they resign themselves to the lifelong tedium of the roles outlined for them by society, or risk the censure of family and friends by abandoning the façade of responsible adulthood and striking out alone after individual happiness? Perrotta's characters are likable and, on a modest scale, tragic; from Sarah's halfhearted forays into being a strong-minded, independent feminist to Mary Ann's hard-won Martha Stewart perfection, their very natures are what will dictate the course of their lives and their inevitable discontent. Little Children is certainly a pleasure to read, with all of the sly humor and deft observation that Perrotta does so well. Whether it's the subtle jockeying for power among playground mothers, or the threadbare, joyless sexual relationship between long-married spouses, his prose is sparkling and clever. Surrounded by abundance and prosperity, free from any real hardship, the characters must invent reasons to be unhappy in order to give their lives dramatic shape; deliberating over which playground to take their children to, or which fruit juice is really the healthiest, only points up the futility and insignificance of their existence. Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Chic and Messy 25 Jan 2005
By A Customer
An amazing little gem of angst and turbulence. All the characters are not just tied to their children, they are defined by their relationships with their children. From the stay-at-home Dad living out his past glory days as a high school jock as he refused to grow up and get on with his law career to the bisexual feminist and her Internet porn addicted other - it is multiple messes in full glory in the tradition of "My Fractured Life", "The Ninth Life of Louis Drax", and "Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the film put you off 31 Dec 2006
By G. L. Haggett VINE VOICE
There is a problem with seeing the film adaptation of a book before you have actually read the book, in that it gives you someone else's perception of the characters which it can be difficult to shake off.

The film of this book made me feel slightly uneasy; as is so often the case, however, the book is a more complex, multi-layered affair which adds up to a subtle black comedy satirising the aspirational middle classes of suburban America, with their obsession with appearance and tangible achievement and holding up their flaws to an unforgiving light.

There are times when the satire is a little heavy-handed; the passage towards the end of the novel, when Mary Ann's background is being filled in, is more than a little blunt and sits uneasily with the rest of the piece. I also fear that those of us who are not very familiar with America will miss out on some of the cultural references (the climactic American football match was more than a little opaque to me).

Ultimately, however, this book's ambit is not limited to a single nation; it is a witty, original take on life and love, desire and forgiveness which shows the unpleasantness, lies, deception and malice which often lurk just beneath the surface of eminent respectability.

I should not think Perrotta will be getting any voiceover work with Starbucks any time soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A satirical Desperate Housewives in a novel 17 July 2006
By Helen Simpson VINE VOICE
I was expecting a really light read when I picked this one up and although it's certainly not heavy I was pleasantly surprised by the realistic characters and their storylines. While not hilariously funny it had just the right touches of humour, based on the observation of couples and marriages which I could certainly relate to.

Heck I even enjoyed reading about the (American) football!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect summer read 5 Jun 2006
Little Children really draws you in to the preoccupations of an quirky cast of characters living in your average American suburb.

Something for everyone I think, men and women, some of the bits with the children really made me laugh. Go buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Page Turner 22 Feb 2007
I haven't seen the film! I really enjoyed this book, a quick and easy yet intelligent read. All the characters were well written and all the separate storylinrs worked well together. Worth a read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Perrotta has crafted a sly tale of children trapped in adult bodies,coming to terms with their repetitive and incomprehensible lives. Thenovel begins and ends in a playground, but it's not the children that'sthe focus, but the adults who are acting like children. Tom Perrotta did amarvelous job of seducing us with Election - a quirky, black comedy, inwhich he exposes the dark side of human behavior. Now, with LittleChildren, he offers up a damning assessment of human relationships, andexposes the boredom and frustration that may lie at the heart of "average"suburban lives.
The novel centers on the chance meeting of Todd, the handsome, sexystay-at-home-dad nicknamed "The Prom King" with Sarah, a trendy, one-timefeminist, who has become trapped in a sexless, conventional marriage toRichard, an older man. The kiss that Sarah unwittingly smacks on Todd atthe local playground, leads to a desperate, highly sexual, and clandestineaffair, which in turn has ramifications for their marriages that neitherof them could have anticipated. There's also an effective subplotinvolving the arrival in the neighborhood of a convicted child molester,which presents some of the characters, particularly Larry, an ex-cop, witha quite challenging moral dilemma. With all this subversive andduplicitous behavior, Perrotta never judges his characters; he sees themas basically nice people trapped by their own inertia but at the same timehonest about their lot and stage in life.
Little Children is whimsical, light-hearted and amusing, and Perrottaachieves this tone by developing his characters emotions in potent andsurprising ways.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted and entertaining
I had seen the film before, but the book is much better. However, despite some really good bits, it isn't a master piece. Read more
Published on 20 Jan 2010 by Mareta
2.0 out of 5 stars A nothing novel...
This book is intended to be a witty satire of modern middle-class Americans, suffused with the darker element of a paedophile moving back into their wholesome New England... Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2009 by bloodsimple
1.0 out of 5 stars Chick flick?!
I bought this book based on a very positive review in the Saturday Times book supplement. The fact that a film had been made also suggested a good book. Read more
Published on 13 Mar 2009 by amlove
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny!
I saw Alexander Payne's film of Election and looked up the author of the original book. It was Tom Perrotta. Read more
Published on 12 April 2008 by William Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
After i watched the film, i was intrigued so i went out and got the book, i certainly want disappointed, would recommend it to anybody. Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2006 by Book Mad!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
A fabulous read, Perrotta effortlessly draws you in this world of characters,he paints subtle layers perfectly capturing days at the pool and other everyday scenes, it's a... Read more
Published on 9 Nov 2006 by Lala B
1.0 out of 5 stars A Comedy???
I make a point of not reading those reviews that are printed on the book's cover, so I was surprised to say the least to get to the end of this novel and find out it was... Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2006 by Cath
2.0 out of 5 stars Naked Suburbia - Veneer Ripped & Stripped Away
Although this was a well-written book, I didn't care for most of the characters.
Dramatis Personae:
Sarah, an immature bisexual housewife who is disinterested in her... Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2005
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