The Leftovers
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The Leftovers

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  23,518 ratings  ·  3,838 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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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
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 show...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
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
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
Oct 17, 2011 Jodie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
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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
Amanda Nelson
I appreciate what Perrotta is poking at here- the importance of moving on, an examination of the way we experience grief and loss, the thin thread that holds together the most bleh bleh suburban life, etc. But THE LEFTOVERS is a victim of my reading order; after getting through THE ROAD, I'm eternally frustrated by post-apocalyptical books that don't even bother partially explaining what happened. I know that fully explaining it makes you enter dangerous, quasi-sci-fi territory, but not explaini...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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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
Gaurav Sethi
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 pun intended!
Jessica Severson
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
Karen Hansen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
The promise of either quirky-coolness or epic angst emerges after the introduction Tom Perotta's "The Leftovers": how an October 14th event (which may or may not be deemed The Rapture, depending on who you talk to) which yanked away en masse, irrespective of religious background, a sizable subset of the (world's?) populace, affects the citizenry of (presumably fictional) Mapleton, USA that were, ahem, Left Behind.

The curious thing about this novel was Mr. Perotta's dispassionate narrative. For...more
I wish I'd liked this more. I've always been fascinated with the Rapture concept, and so much of this book clicks with me. Unfortunately, all the clicking is on a surface level. When it comes down to it, we don't go in-depth enough with anyone to truly make me care.

Mostly this is about the Garvey family - Kevin, Laurie and their kids Jill and Tom (I think, can't remember). But we pick up with everyone three years after the event, and each member of the family has isolated themselves. It's hard t...more
I wasn't sure what to make of the blurbs about The Leftovers that I read before picking up the book to read. Focusing on those left over after a Rapture-like event hits the world and the suburban community of Mapleton, I worried that I was going to get some sort of "Left Behind, part deux." Luckily, in Tom Perrotta's able hands, what you get is an absorbing look at loss, grief, religion, and moving on after trauma.

The book's core is Kevin Garvey, mayor of Mapleton. Mr. Garvey and his family, des...more
I found this novel a compelling exploration of how we go on coping (or not) in the face of unfathomable loss. Although the novel is set after millions of people disappear from Earth in the "Sudden Departure," -- a Rapture-like event that is never fully explained -- what Perotta is really writing about is how ordinary people come to terms with loss, loneliness and a world that seems meaningless. He explores many of the same themes as Jonathan Franzen in "Freedom," but with a gentler tone and (I b...more
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North Vagolinians: The Leftovers 2 5 Sep 11, 2014 05:21AM  
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"Look what I found." (spoiler) 9 500 Jul 07, 2014 07:12PM  
That's no exuse: 5 errors 1 11 Jun 27, 2014 04:11AM  
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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
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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)” 31 likes
“Sooner or later we all lose our loved ones. We all have to suffer, every last one of us.” 17 likes
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