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[62] Little Children – Tom Perrotta

Light reading fare for Christmas. I saw the movie with Matty a while ago and so this movie tie-in would be somewhat interesting to read. After all, it’s not too bad of reading.

Talk about dysfunctional families and their drama. Set in a quiet suburb where nothing ever seems to happen in a way we think well-to-do upper middle class families have any issues, (WRONG!!!) Little Children brings forth inner-workings of what becomes a roaming crisis. Sarah, mother of a three-year-old, is a relapsed feminist, an ex-gender studies graduate student aborting her PhD who studies the behavior (which she concludes monotonous and boring) of suburban women. Their stroller rut at the park, which consists of playing, snacking, and strictly adhering to the offerings’ timetable (which they deem conducive to the kids’ being admitted to Ivy-League schools)was pleasantly interrupted by the surprised return of Todd, a stay-home dad whose dark feature, cropped blond hair, and jock physique have captured the hearts of the moms.

No sooner have the thirty-something parents met did they hit it off. At least they have one thing in common: Unhappy (unfulfilling?) marriages. Sarah’s husband has become more and more involved with his fantasy life on the internet than with his family. His indifference toward her engenders in her a sudden and desperate desire to visit the town pool, where she knows Todd would take his so on a clammy afternoon, as the cloud looms low, promising rain but not delivering. Todd, despite his being married to a fine woman with a svelte body, brooded over his failing to pass the bar exam. His problems are more intrinsic, springing from his troubled ego, salt-and-peppered by wounded vanity. Piqued at his uncertain career, he realizes something must be wrong with his being, as if he had sleepwalked through life to realize he cannot possibly be happy with any of the choices that the world offer him.

Maybe Todd’s wife, an aspiring documentary filmmaker, has incurred on him that he must feel to live up to a vision of himself that had never really been his own. But satirically who is this novel is NOT wearing a mask, hiding behind his/her true self? While the residents of the quiet suburban town wrangle out of their wits with these emerging dramas, sexual fling, unhappiness over wrong marriages, a ex-convict of child molestation returns to the community to live with his mother. How ironic and satirical that the one person who has nothing to hide, whom everyone in town shirks and scorns, in somewhat a positive way, helps these lost folks come to their own senses about who they are.

4 Responses

  1. I watched the movie and never knew it was adopted from a novel until I saw the credits. Sounds like it’s not a bad read huh?

  2. I just picked it up at the bookstore, along with A Very Long Engagement…all movie tie-ins…

  3. Everyone tells me that the novel is better than the film which is usually the case. I am curious to know if the novel from which LITTLE CHILDREN is based sheds more light on the damaged man who has moved back in with his mother. That was a part of the film that felt unfinished or incomplete to me.

  4. […] Lotus Reads: "Little Children" by Tom Perrotta [62] Little Children – Tom Perrotta « A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook […]

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