Mrs Fletcher

Tom Perrotta says he conceived this novel while dropping off his kids at college, a difficult experience for any parent, and a generative one for a novelist like Perrotta. The first chapter of this book, which depicts Eve dropping off her son Brendan, is well constructed and executed almost perfectly. It brought me back to move in weekend at college in a vivid way.

Jason Reitman’s 2014 film Men, Women & Children attempted to explore similar territory, namely, how suburban families deal with changes in how they communicate and relate to each other with new technology. Perrotta’s exploration of these dynamics is much smarter, much more grounded in the emotional dynamics of family, sex, courtship and self-esteem.

Although Perrotta’s novel likely won’t be a memorable book for me, it was an interesting portrayal of transition. Both of its main characters, who we get to know throughout the book, go through major changes and find themselves in new places. They remain themselves, of course, but also become new people. For me, that was the best part of this book. The focus on transition and change and the portrayal of how that actually happens.