Tom Perrotta’s new novel, “Mrs. Fletcher” explores everyday life
August 24, 2017
"Mrs. Fletcher," by Tom Perrotta
In honor of the upcoming Literary Sojourn, I read a new book by an author who has done pretty well for himself since he came to Steamboat. Tom Perrotta wrote the ever intriguing, sometimes surreal novel "The Leftovers," which has since been adapted into a really well-done television series for HBO, with Perrotta's full input.
In "Mrs. Fletcher," Perrotta is much more grounded in the everyday. Eve Fletcher, an empty nester whose only son has just departed for college, is trying to figure out how to cope. She discovers on-line porn by way of a text she received referring to her as a MILF. She becomes repulsed, intrigued and slightly addicted to this newly discovered world of pornography.
To stimulate herself intellectually and socially, she signs up for a college class, and the only one available is gender studies. Her instructor is a former professional ball player who is transgender and now living as woman.
Perhaps because I have high-school aged daughters, I found Perrotta's exploration of Eve's son's struggles in college the most interesting. He is the classic entitled white athlete who received his sexual education through internet porn. He struggles, because he can't understand why young women are repelled by his sexual behavior, and his sense of entitlement doesn't transfer as easily to a large campus where he isn't the star. His cluelessness is frustrating but realistic.
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As with his other books, Perrotta does not offer easy solutions. He throws provocative topics and situations out there in a domestic framework to provoke deeper thought on overall social issues.
Perrotta is able to follow Eve's college-bound son, his classmates, her sexually free coworker and her transgender professor in the most consuming way. He explores the human experience with such depth and humor, I could not put this book down.
Be warned, this book is a bit raunchy, so if you are easily offended by language or sexuality, this may not be for you. "Mrs. Fletcher" would be a terrific book club choice, because it would lead to some lively discussion.
This book is available at Bud Werner Memorial Library and Off the Beaten Path. Kim Brack is a bookseller at Off The Beaten Path.