Known for books like Election, Tom Perrotta brings to life the inner turmoil and dirty deeds behind closed doors in his book Little Children. The novel introduces us to Sarah, a stay at home mother with an internet porn obsessed husband who shows her and their daughter, Lucy, no attention, and Todd an attractive stay at home father dubbed "The Prom King" by the other mom's at the playground, a man who just can't seem to pass his bar exam and is stuck caring for his son, Aaron, while his wife, Kathy, films World War II documentaries for PBS to pay the bills.
Sarah and Todd begin a rapturous affair during the same summer the Ronnie McGorvey, convicted sex offender and suspect in a child's murder, is released from prison and finds his way back to Blueberry Court where he lives with his aging and ill mother, May. Little Children tells the tale of discontent in suburbia and blurs the lines between who is the criminal and who is the saint.
This novel was first published in 2004 but takes place in the year 2001. It presents a reminder of warm summer romances and the harsh reality of adulthood and casualties when one decides to have an affair. Some reviewers consider this book to be a humorous satire, other's claim that Perrotta runs a wrecking ball through suburban life. I agree with both. There are several humorous parts of this novel (I chuckled particularly at the "roto rooter" comment made by Sarah) but it also presents the story of a community who is thrust into turmoil not only by the appearance of a convicted child molester but by the actions and feelings in their own lives.
I truly enjoyed this novel. I normally stick with standard romance novels or horror novels so this one was out of my normal comfort zone. But I am extremely glad that my book club decided to read this book. It is incredible and one of the few books that I had a hard time putting down (even to find time to eat dinner!) I highly recommend this book to all readers. It is a breath of fresh air and really speaks to the human soul.
Baltimore City residents can purchase this novel at the following locations:
Ivy Book Store
6080 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD 21209
Barnes & Noble at Power Plant
601 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21209
Baltimore City residents wishing to check this book out of the library can do so at the following locations:
The Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
The Baltimore County Public Library
320 York Road
Towson, MD 21204