From the bestselling author of The Leftovers and Little Children comes a penetrating and hilarious new novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America's culture wars. Read more...
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From the bestselling author of The Leftovers and Little Children comes a penetrating and hilarious new novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America's culture wars. Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, "U R my MILF " Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life--serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night--Eve can't curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve's online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence. Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve's son Brendan--a jock and aspiring frat boy--discovers that his new campus isn't nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night. Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they're no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.
Behind the picket fence
It’s a struggle to remain the heroes of our own stories. What we know in our hearts, that we are Jason Bourne or Katniss Everdeen, clashes daily with reality, where we coax kids out of the minivan each morning and lug individually bagged, nut-free snacks to a wearying number of Little League games.
But even those of us bogged down in the quotidian have stories. And luckily, we have Tom Perrotta to tell them.
Mrs. Fletcher, the acclaimed author’s first novel since 2011, is a smart, grown-up look at what happens when growing older doesn’t turn out as expected.
Eve Fletcher is alone. Forty-six, abandoned by her husband for a younger woman and left with an empty nest by her college-bound son, Brendan (whom she dearly loves but finds hard to like), Eve fears the days ahead. Her only consolations are small but not insignificant: She doesn’t hate her job and she still looks good in jeans.
Eve is, in fact, a MILF (if you don’t know the term, go stream American Pie). She knows this because a late-night text from an unknown number informs her, “U R my MILF!” The text sends Eve on a journey of discovery, both amusing and so cringe-worthy that you’ll want to read with your fingers covering your face.
Eve’s struggles are matched by those of her son. Brendan is a “bro,” a frat-hungry jock who is unable to rein in his sense of entitlement, even in the progressive world of college. When he’s called out for the boorish, misogynistic behavior that worked like a charm in high school, he is forced to confront the type of person he wants to be.
Perrotta makes a sharp, satirical return to the class of people he skewered in Little Children (2004). A suburban anthropologist in the tradition of John Updike, he is so spot on about people who live “comfortably” that reading him makes you deliciously uncomfortable.