Book Review #39: The Leftovers by Tom Perotta

6 Jul

The Leftovers imagines a society where approximately 1/3 of the world’s population disappears one day. Straight up disappears, without warning, evaporated from where they’re standing. No one knows where they have gone. Society shuts down for a year or two as people struggle to come to terms with it. Naturally, many believe the rapture has occurred and the “leftovers” were left behind.

The book looks at a sampling of those who remain. A father, his daughter who transforms from a straight A student into a troubled girl experimenting with sex and drugs, his son who leaves college to join a cult, and his wife, who joins a separate cult that stalks their neighbors. Another woman’s entire family disappeared and she struggles to move on.

Possible spoilers…

The book is riveting, even though the stories are sort of cliche. Each character acts out as you’d expect, and struggles in the ways you’d expect. But that’s what makes it kind of fascinating. Loss is loss – death, disappearance, illness – they all affect people the same way. People all turn to the same places for comfort – church, a new lover, drugs, old habits. Just because a situation is “special” doesn’t mean people will act differently.

It’s probably important to note that (spoiler alert) you won’t necessarily find the answers your looking for in this book. But by the end, you don’t really care about the “why,” you really just care about the characters.

Damon Lindelof of Lost is developing a pilot based on the novel for HBO. I’m intrigued.

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3 Responses to “Book Review #39: The Leftovers by Tom Perotta”

  1. SandySays1 July 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    One of those life’s a bitch then we die type books?

  2. Resa McConaghy July 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    What an interesting premise.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review 39: The Leftovers by Tom Perotta « Cannonball Read IV - July 6, 2012

    […] Possible spoilers… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by HelloKatieO in 4 stars – a great book and tagged Damon Lindelof, HBO, Leftovers, Rapture, Sci-Fi, Tom Perrotta […]

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