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The Leftovers

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  28,230 ratings  ·  4,301 reviews
What if — whoosh, right now, with no explanation — a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down? That's what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure ...more
Hardcover, 355 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 11th 2011)
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Dorothy That would be the only thing to make sense of this book. Currently it seems weird to create such a dramatic event and then not take it any further -…moreThat would be the only thing to make sense of this book. Currently it seems weird to create such a dramatic event and then not take it any further - maybe a sequel is what he has in mind?(less)
Marco Baiocco There are five: Kevin Garvey, major of Mapleton, his wife Laurie, their sons Tom and Jill, and Nora Durst.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kemper
Millions of people vanish in the blink of an eye leaving everyone left on Earth feeling like God just told them, “It’s not you, it’s me….”

It’s been three years since the Sudden Departure, and the mayor of Mapleton, Kevin Garvey, is trying to get the town back to a feeling of normalcy. However, Kevin’s family was profoundly impacted by the disappearances. His wife Laurie has left him to join a cult of white-clad chain smokers called the Guilty Remnant who silently stalk people while son Tom dropp
...more
Mike
Let me start with the good: I liked that the Rapture occurred (or at least that is what it appears to be), but everyone pretty much goes about their daily lives, trying to find love, friendship, job, etc.

Now the bad: the whole "Rapture" background is dispensable. It could've been anything. The major plot lines involve a cult and a man who lost his wife, which could be set right now. So, if you're looking for a cool religious/Sci-fi spin, you'll be somewhat disappointed. It's actually more like a
...more
Jill
This is quite the literary year for ordinary families becoming enmeshed in extraordinary, indeed, catastrophic, situations. Erik Larson, in The Garden of the Beast, portrays an all-American family at the cusp of the horrendous Hitler years. And now Tom Perrotta one-ups him by introducing the Garveys…a suburban family who was left behind in the aftermath of a Rapture-like event.

To his credit, Tom Perrotta drinks no Kool-aid. Before the event occurs, one character says this about the Rapture: “It
...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)

Never, have I ever wanted an author to pull a George RR Martin the way I wanted it to happen in The Leftovers.
WHO WANTS TO BE A MARTYR? the caption asked.

Yeah...there was not as much of this as I'd hoped.

Up until the last few pages, I was somewhat enjoying the book, happy sunshine (oh wow, I accidentally typed happy sunshit and had to correct that. I might have just coined a new term.) and all. Okay, so there wasn't actually a whole lot of happy or sunshine going on, but compared to the sho
...more
James Thane
What if there suddenly were a "Rapture" or something like it, where millions of people around the world disappeared in an instant, vaporized into nothingness? How would those left behind cope with such an amazing and inexplicable development?

Such is the premise of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, which focuses on the small town of Mapleton and on the family of the newly-elected mayor, Kevin Garvey. Everyone in town has been affected by the event and large numbers of people have been traumatized, th
...more
Alias Pending
SHORT REVIEW: What Conan the Barbarian was to High Fantasy, The Leftovers is to Mid-Life Crisis Fantasy. No, that's too kind.

SHORT REVIEW #2: A book so OK it hurts.

ANOTHER SHORTY: I liked this better the first time, when it was called American Beauty.

LONG REVIEW: Reading this book was like heading down a playground slide made of glass. It starts off fun, but soon the smooth, featureless texture is burning your skin and all you can see is the cold, rocky ground waiting for you at the end. And the
...more
Peter Derk
Have you ever read one of those books where it feels like the middle part of a trilogy, like all the action happened just before the first page and then kicks into gear right on the last page?

I guess it doesn't matter if you've read one like that or not. That little description makes sense enough, right?

Okay, how about this:

When I get a pizza, the first slice is awesome. Because I was so hungry and anticipating it. And then you get into a cycle of diminishing returns about three slices in. Then
...more
Kim
Tom Perotta’s newest book would not be a typical choice for me. I saw the movie "Little Children" starring Kate Winslet, so I was curious when this book came out. The fact that life after The Rapture was central to the story made me that much more curious. I was not disappointed.

In The Leftovers, Tom Perotta explores what would happen if The Rapture actually took place. The book opens just a short time after millions of people have just disappeared from the earth. Perotta’s characters show a var
...more
Lisa
I thought this audio would be decent laundry-folding entertainment, but I seriously underestimated Mr. Tom Perrotta and his awesome ability to tell a rad story!!!! This book was killer!!!!! The premise is this: A rapture-like event occurs and 2% of the population is vaporized. And it appears to have been a totally random sampling: people of all (or no) religious beliefs are taken, nice people as well as some real a$$h*les. The people who are left really can't make sense of it. Some folks get the ...more
Cathy
This book takes on some weighty issues but leavened with comic twists. The author plays with issues I've dealing with as I get older; my life is increasingly influenced by absences, by who and what I have lost. I remember the people who have disappeared from my life or roads not taken. Yet I also mistrust my memories of events; what was real and what were simply stories that I told myself? These are my 2 am musings.

The novel also explores how people deal with losses and what things do they tell
...more
Caitlin
This one comes from the author of Election and Little Children. Yeah, those movies you sort of forgot about. After listening to an NPR interview with Perrotta, I ran out and bought the book despite it being hardcover. He came off so intelligent and likeable on the radio, and his ideas were so provoking, I couldn't help being drawn to the book. While sometimes I found his writing a bit colloquial, I really enjoyed this novel and hated to see it end. The book takes place after a Rapture-like event ...more
Jodie
Oct 17, 2011 Jodie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
I laughed! I cried! I dreamed dreams and saw visions!

Oh wait, no I didn't.

I enjoyed it briefly. Then I got to halfway and started wondering if it were going to go anyplace. Then I got farther and started wondering if it were ever, ever going to go anyplace. Then I wondered if it were going to end. Then I saw it was going to end, and I wondered if it were going to have a climax. Then, like a dull night at home, it didn’t.

If this book were food, it would be carob. Carob chip cookies. Great sell
...more
sonicbooming
Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers is a book that I really want to like. It has all of the elements of a book I enjoy, a large cast of characters, an interesting plot, and yet this book for me is a complete fail.

The story is basically as follows: the post rapture - only more secularized. We’re not sure why or if the rapture actually occurred. Though, to be fair it doesn’t really matter, what matters is that people were here one moment and then gone the next. Some people are able to cope and move on,
...more
Dara Jackson
First off I won this on a First Reads Giveaway as an Advanced Reader's issue. I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded interesting: a Rapture-like occurrence and how the people left behind cope. I've never read anything of Mr. Perrotta's before, and chances are good that I will not be reading anything else of his if they are all like this one. Actually two stars may be generous, but I liked the concept, just not the book.

It was not what I was expecting, which in itself is not a bad
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

3.5 Stars

A strange phenomenon has swept the globe. People, seemingly chosen at random, simply vanished.



After what is dubbed the “Sudden Departure,” those remaining are left to deal with the aftermath. The Leftovers focuses on the residents of a small town called Mapleton. Some, like Kevin, have decided to move on with life – and are maybe doing a little better or feeling a little more needed than they were before the Sudden Departure
...more
John Wiswell
Though promoted as a novel about The Rapture or a Rapture-like event, fifty pages in you realize The Leftovers isn’t. Tom Perrotta’s novel is about human reactions to tragedy. We don’t know why millions of people disappeared, can’t recognize a methodology or pattern to the mass disappearances, and spend none of the book pursuing answers. Perrotta tells us multiple times that no one can figure it out. Sorry, world: you just lose, and now your citizens deal with it.

We go to inspirational speeches,
...more
Brandon
On October 14th, a large number of people up and disappeared. No one really knows what happened as it defied all explanation. Some were determined to label it The Rapture but as the author is quick to point out, it wasn’t purely Christians. As it happens, it appeared to be random selection. The novel primarily follows one family and how each person moved in different directions following the event.

The Garvey family eventually falls apart in the aftermath of “The Sudden Departure”. Kevin stays on
...more
Sara
Now that I've finished, I'll have to give this odd book a two star rating. I'm not really sure what happened. Is there another book after this? I think I've got a few unanswered questions!

Not much happened in this book. People disappeared. People went on with their lives. The interesting people were The Watchers in white - the members of the G.R. (Guilty Remnant). I needed more about them, less about Kevin and Jill. I suppose Tom's life in the cult was fairly interesting.

I haven't seen much of t
...more
Kristin
This book has a very interesting premise. A million people vanish off the earth in what is deemed a "Rapture like" event. The world is torn. Christians decide it couldn't have been the true Rapture because all sorts of people disappeared, not just God fearing Christian types. This book takes place three years after the event when people are trying to return to their normal lives. "The Leftovers" primarily highlights a family of four; however, there are other characters who are also explored in d ...more
Sandi
The Leftovers takes the concept of the Rapture and says, “What if millions of people instantaneously disappeared at once?” The twist is that the people who disappeared come from many different backgrounds. An atheist, Jew, Buddhist, or criminal was as likely to have disappeared as a Christian. Many, many devout Christians who completely expected to be taken up in the Rapture get left behind. Perrotta uses this as the jumping off point for exploring the emotional and spiritual fallout of the even ...more
Valentina
This is one incredible book. If you’ve not preordered your copy, I seriously urge to do so.
The plot is so bizarre and yet remains believable because it deals with its very human aftermath, the way that people deal with being left behind. While in the case of this set of characters it’s because of an “act of God”, their reactions are as familiar to us any of us who’s ever lost a loved one in any way. The way the book is structured, with many different viewpoints is complex and yet wholly satisfy
...more
Steph
I was very impressed by Perrotta's writing. When he was on, he was really on, and when he was off it was all just kind of boring. One part that stuck out to me was Norah's letter, which I thought really tied in to the theme of the book, which was really my favorite part of the whole thing. People were there and then they were gone. This doesn't mean they were good people. This doesn't mean that everyone was happy and then whoosh the world changed. I thought Perrotta's dystopian novel was perhaps ...more
Miquela
What is life like after the rapture? Of course I am interested since it is unlikely I will make the cut! And in this fictional interpretation of the the Rapture you never can be too sure. 1M people (of all faiths and none) disappear from the world. What's left is confused believers, grieving loved ones and fascinating cults (aren't they all?). The story is about ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary event. And the end was divine...no pun intended!
Wanda
The premise of this book is excellent—an event somewhat like the Rapture happens and those “left behind” have to deal with loss and uncertainty. Especially since those who were taken are such a mixed bag: the Pope (natch), Vladimir Putin (huh!), Jennifer Lopez (?). Plenty of True Believers didn’t go anywhere and are plenty mad about it.

This was a wonderful bit of summer fluff reading—the whole book felt rather like a soap opera, following a number of people as they decided how the Sudden Departu
...more
Jessica Woodbury
When I haven't read Tom Perrotta for a while, I forget how good he is. He is insanely good. And I think as far as writing goes, THE LEFTOVERS may be his best. It has much of what was so good about his last few books, THE ABSTINENCE TEACHER and LITTLE CHILDREN. The fluid writing, the cleanly drawn characters, the realistic situations and the perfect crystallization of how people feel and think. And it doesn't have some of the hyper-drama that bothers me sometimes, like the suburban mob mentality ...more
Melki
No one predicted it this time, not even Harold Camping. This Rapture took everyone by surprise. Millions suddenly just vanished. But something seemed off. For one thing, Hindus, Buddists, Jews, atheists and Jennifer Lopez were among the missing, while many pious, God-fearing Christians were ... "left behind".

In the wake of the tragedy that quickly becomes known as the "Sudden Departure", many of those not "taken" struggle with feelings of survivor's guilt and a sense of futility. Others try to
...more
Karen Germain
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benoit Lelievre
I'm not sure what it exactly was, but I thought it was enjoyable. A lot of people have picked up this book thinking they were going to get a fringe literary adventure about the rapture, but it not exactly that. I mean, the book is about a post-rapture world, but it's not a mystery. I have vague memories of John Updike being more complicated to read than Tom Perrotta, but I thought it was an Updikian take on loss and facing adversity without a solution.

THE LEFTOVERS is, first and foremost, a rea
...more
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Casual Readers: * THE LEFTOVERS: Official Discussion 3 18 May 28, 2015 11:20AM  
Bookworm Bitches : April 2015: The Leftovers 28 65 Apr 29, 2015 11:28AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta 1 12 Mar 05, 2015 01:36AM  
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15907
Tom Perrotta (born August 13, 1961) is an American novelist and screenwriter best known for his novels Election (1998) and Little Children (2004), both of which were made into critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated films. Perrotta co-wrote the screenplay for the 2006 film version of Little Children with Todd Field, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay ...more
More about Tom Perrotta...
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“There's not some finite amount of pain inside us. Our bodies and minds just keep manufacturing more of it. (67)” 35 likes
“Sooner or later we all lose our loved ones. We all have to suffer, every last one of us.” 18 likes
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