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Tom Perrotta Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Wishbones (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Election (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Joe College (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Little Children (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Abstinence Teacher (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Leftovers (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mrs. Fletcher (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Plays

Little Children: The Shooting Script (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Senior Season (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Grade My Teacher (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Thomas R. Perrota is an American screenwriter and novelist best known for a series of suburbia novels, the most popular of which are the 2004 published “Little Children”, and the 1998 published “Election”. Both of the novels were eventually adapted into critically acclaimed movies that won Academy Award nominations. He was involved in the adaptation of his “Little Children” novel into a screenplay in 2006, playing the role of scriptwriter, an endeavor that got him a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Another of his novels has also been adapted into a TV series that runs on HBO. Tom Perrotta is from Garwood, New Jersey, a place where he spent most of his childhood. He is the son of an Albanian-Italian immigrant that worked as a secretary and an Italian immigrant father that worked for the postal services. His mother would later quit her job as secretary and stay at home to look after Perrotta and his brother and sister. From a very early age, Perrotta loved reading and would often be found with a copy of John Irving, J. R.R. Tolkien, or O, Henry. He always wanted to become a writer since he was a child and even wrote several short stories for Parish, his high school literary magazine. Perrotta got his Bachelors in Arts in English from Yale before going on to attain a Masters in Arts in Creative Writing/English from Syracuse University. It was at Syracuse that he studied under Tobias Wolff, who influenced him in the aspects of moral seriousness and comic writing. He is married to Mary Granfield with whom he lives with in Belmont, Massachusetts.

He first got into writing and finished his first three titles while he was a professor of Creative Writing at Yale. His fist ever literary work was an anthology of short stories named “Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies”, that garnered much critical praise. The Washington Post called it one of the most stunning coming to age books of our times. He would leave Yale in 1994 and join Harvard where he taught expository writing. Three years later, he published his first novel “The Wishbones” that focused on his high school years. His unpublished manuscript of his second title was adapted into a movie by director Alexander in 1996, which enhanced the interest in seeing the book formally published. The book was published and made available in bookstores in 1998 with the film version coming out in 1999. The film that starred Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick made Perrotta a household name in the film and novel-writing industries. His most popular novel to date is the 2004 published title “Little Children” that is an exploration of the romantic and psychological depths underlying modern suburbia. The novel was his breakout work and made several Best Book of 2004 lists including the likes of People Magazine, National Public Radio, and The New York Times Book Review. The features had special praise for the coming of age writer with People describing him as a rare writer that creates sidesplitting scenes while at the same time drawing some of the most intense emotional maps. As for Perrotta, he likes to style himself as an author writing in the tradition of authors such as Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway.

Perrota’s novels are an exposition of the strong emotions running underneath the modern American family and community, through an intricate exploration of the sexual and spiritual lives of its ordinary citizens. Elegantly written, they are characterized by the distinctive mix of satire, sex education, culture wars, and compassion that are prominent themes in all the novels. The novels have a good amount of information about the background stories and emotional climaxes that keep the reader enthralled right to the very end. “Leftovers” the first novel has a particular dark suspense, particularly when the characters make decisions that they should not be making that makes one want to shout “Please don’t do it”. Similar to the themes in The “Abstinence Teacher”, Perrotta explores the stresses between secular American life, conservative family values, and religion. The sad, slow, but steady decline of the suburban community in the Perrota novels into extremes of either too much religion or too much permissiveness, feels all too real in all the novels. Nonetheless, the underlying message of the novels is that when push comes to shove, dialogue becomes meaningless as extremism wins over logic.

“The Leftovers” is a thought-provoking novel about the inherent struggles of ordinary people that experience loss, connection, and love. The novel opens three years after a rapture like event when millions of people mysteriously disappeared from the planet Earth. The citizens of Mapleton are still befuddled by the loss of lovers, friends, and neighbors, an event that has changed their lives forever. Kevin Garvey who has taken up the reins of leadership in the city has put in place a program to heal his people by giving them a sense of renewed hope. But even Kevin’s own family is feeling the aftereffects of the disaster, as his wife abandoned him to join a homegrown cult known as the Guilty Remnant, while Tom hi son is a follower of a self-declared prophet, a charlatan that goes by the name of Holy Wayne. Only Jill his teenage daughter is still around though she is no longer the straight A’s student that she used to be. Kevin intends to do all in his power to help his daughter, though a growing bond between Jill and Nora Durst increasingly frustrates him. Durst had been one of those that lost their entire families to the tragedy, and is still in a state of shock.

“The Abstinence Teacher” is an elegantly written novel exploring the clash between secular morality and religious conservatism in the society. The novel is set in Stonewood Heights, a perfect place where every parent would love to raise their children. It has the typical healthy real estate market, solid values, and good schools. It is the neighborhood where all the parents are very much involved in their children’s lives, meaning that the children grow in an enriched environment. The local high school’s teacher is Ruth Ramsey, a woman who believes knowledge is power, shame is bad, and pleasure is good. Her daughter attends the same school and is under the tutelage of a former rocker and stoner, Tim Mason who recently got saved after hitting rock bottom. Tim is a member of an evangelical Christian church that calls itself The Tabernacle. The church disapproves of Ruth’s methods of teaching young minds, while Ruth does not like that they take their message of salvation outside their doors. Natural adversaries, Tim and Ruth instinctively do not see eye to eye until a controversy on Tim’s soccer pitch forces them to talk.

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