Bad Haircut: Stories from the Seventies
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Bad Haircut: Stories from the Seventies

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,288 ratings  ·  94 reviews
New York Timesbestselling authorTomPerrotta’s first book is "more powerful than any coming-of-age novel" —The Washington Post



Bad Haircutexplores the themes that have fascinated Perrotta throughout his career: suburban rituals and mores; sports and religion; the cheerful cheesiness of American consumer life; public tests of manliness; and the moral dilemmas faced by ordinar...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1994)
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Spacedaisie
Presenting these vignettes as a collection of stories seems like a lazy way to avoid structuring them into a full-length novel. They're too similar - most, of not all, involve the same protagonist - to be considered a collection of short stories; but the also lack a strong narrative flow to be considered a novel. For all the time the reader spends in the mind of "Buddy", there's never an emotional connection to the character's nostalgia.

That said, Perotta has a talent for painting visceral portr...more
Glenn Sumi
I picked this up a couple of years ago while browsing at NYC's Strand Book Store. I recognized the author’s name but had never heard of the book before and it looked intriguing. (Plus it was deeply discounted.) I wasn't disappointed.

Although this is Perrotta’s first book – he’d go on to write acclaimed novels like Election, Little Children (both made into films) and The Leftovers – the casual, knowing fictional voice is already well-developed. The writing is clear, unfussy and observant without...more
Michael
I had no idea this collection of stories even existed. I picked it up on a whim at a used book store and couldn't put it down. Coming-of-age stories about a high school student growing up in New Jersey in the late 1970's, the same time and place where I went to high school, really resonated with me. Funny, charming, insightful, and every detail was perfect.
Taka
Moving away from portraying a community (Spoon River, Winesburg, and The Women of Brewster Place) or a family (Monkeys and Garcia Girls), Tom Perrotta offers us another possibility in the genre of the story cycle. His Bad Haircut follows the same protagonist, Buddy, from the first person point of view, and covers the period between 1969 and 1980, with the bulk of the collection dealing with his high school years.

Like Monkeys, there is not much “interconnectedness” because the whole collection is...more
Dan Phillips
While Little Children is still my favorite Perrotta novel, this debut has its charms. The narrative is in the form of inter-locking short stories which I believe are all from the point of view of the same character (Buddy), presumably a version of the author himself. Progressing chronologically from elementary school shenanigans through the first couple of summers back home during college breaks, the era details are sharp, and the characters are swiftly-drawn and just as funny as they are heartb...more
Gus Carter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate
So glad I'm finally done. For some reason, my Intro to Fiction thinks this is the pinnacle of perfect writing. I do not. The stories were fine, but their rendering was sometimes painful. Perrotta writes like he is getting paid for every cliché and trope he uses. His attempts at creative writing are nearly zero. I don't care how funny/heartfelt these "stories from the seventies" are, they were so poorly written that I regret spending time reading this book. Intro to Fiction should be about explai...more
Ted Beckmann
A likeable novel-in-stories.
The setting is evoked vividly, and the flashes of humour are welcome relief.
All together, the story arc felt a bit flat and familiar to me, like a story that's been told a few times before (in books and on TV).
Randy Richardson
I usually don't like short stories, but I've always like Tom Perotta so I picked this book on a whim. I suspect men of a certain age will get more out of these stories since it reflects so much of our youth.
Mary
I love his stories. They are so true. True to what it means to be a struggling human being in this world. Plus, they're set in the seventies when I was a teenager.
Lorina
Excellent short story collection. Perrotta's stories are honest, touching, and hysterical. This book should not even have the subtitle limiting it to the Seventies. Anyone could relate to the stories that take us through his high school experience. I felt like the book could have done well on it's own with 'Bad Haircut'.. still the author wanted to make this the anti-Wonder Years-- erasing the poignancy and sugar-coated feeling of that TV show, which it does, but it is also poignant in its own w...more
Dirk
I forgot that I read this years ago. Most of these stories have that ridiculous "short story" type ending one reads a lot of in intro to writing classes.
Karen Hansen
After finishing Perrotta's "Little Children", I rushed to the bookstore to pick up another one of his books. I decided to go with this collection of short stories set in the 1970's. All of the stories follow a central character, but are not necessarily related, although all deal with a boy coming of age in New Jersey.

I think my favorite story was the last in the collection, about the death of the boy's neighbor and his duty as pallbearer. It was touching.

Most of the stories were a blend of poign...more
Travis Evans
A cute story.
Not exactly the freshest coming-of-age ever penned, but likeable and sweet.
Mark R.
"Bad Haircut" is an excellent collection of stories, ten in total, by Tom Perrotta. Each story is around twenty pages and each takes place in the seventies, during the childhood and teenage years of one protagonist, "Buddy".

The stories are written in an autobiographical manner, in the same easy, dialogue-heavy prose in which Perrotta writes his novels.

While this collection doesn't quite match the emotion and humor of his novels, it is very entertaining and fast reading. Some of the stories are...more
Lisafliny
Great collection of short stories for those who crave seventies nostalgia. I enjoyed it.
John Matthews
Life is too short to read bad books, is my mantra and one short story into Mr. Perrotta’s collection I had to jump ship. The story in this case was “The Weiner Man” in which a boy goes with his den pack to meet a hotdog company mascot. What could be amusing in someone else’s hands here just ends up reading like dull Boomer memoir with no apparent point. I’m pretty sure there was sex in this story but the author chose not to describe it. Not sure if that was modesty or if he was hoping for fan le...more
Davida
Jul 16, 2008 Davida rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Whitney
I've now read all of Tom Perrotta's books and this one, billed as a collection of short stories, but really one short novel broken into episodes, may be my least favorite. That being said, it's still a great book. I really like everything he's done, and this is his first book, so you've gotta cut him some slack.

Like his other books, these stories take place in New Jersey. He manages to make things funny, touching, awkward, and thought-provoking all at the same time.

I think he has a great eye fo...more
Debbie Smyth
Not my favorite Perrotta book, but it was enjoyable. I was a teen in the seventies and he very accurately captured the teen of that era including the new emancipated females and readily available drug and alcohol scene. He captures the angst, powerlessness and hopefulness of the teen years.
Michael Jenkins
Tom Perrotta has written ten amazing stories that captures the essence of how the seventies were. I enjoyed all of the stories but my favorite story was "Forgiveness", the story was told with so much humility and innocence. Also another favorite story was "Just the way we were", but all of the stories tell a unique story about sexual intercourse anxiety, childhood innocence, nostalgia of the past. This has become my favorite book by Perrotha after reading the previous ones, and it also become on...more
Jessica T.
I only enjoyed two of these stories. meh!
Iris P
I like the way these stories start and end so abruptly. Yes, I know that's what a short story is about, but I'm somewhat new to the genre and I appreciate how these were true snapshots where I was quickly lured in and then abruptly spat out. Makes me think of Alice & her rabbit hole. I'm not generally a huge fan of 'coming-of-age' stories but this collection gave a good mix, I thought, and did a good job at portraying those years when we do the most ridiculous things because we're just so in...more
Ken
Somehow I stumbled upon this short story collection while wandering through a bookstore and have become a Tom Perotta fan ever since. If you grew up in the seventies, buy this book. It will take you back to experiences and people that have since faded from your memories. To his credit, Tom Perotta has followed this collection with a number of excellent novels that capture the urban struggles we all face. Two were made into excellent movies (Election, Little Children).
Danimal
This is a bunch of stories about one kid, Buddy, as he goes through adolescence. It feels like the work of a young writer just figuring out how he wants to write - the stories usually finish abruptly and unevenly, somewhat unconfidently, with metaphors that are overused and dull.

And yet, somehow the book shows flashes of later Perrotta. Characters with ugliness and quirks, but so very human and compelling. Far less satirical, but still smart. A good summer, vacation read.
Dora Okeyo
I loved Buddy- he comes off as a loser kid, but with time you realize his heart is in the right place and just like his name he makes a good friend.
It's sad though that he didn't have much luck with girls-but then which average boy as he's growing up?
It's a book worth reading and you'd really understand why the author came up with the title after Buddy visits Laura at the salon she works at.
Hunter
This was one of Tom Perrotta's weak novels. The collection has highs and lows, but I really did enjoy the good ones in here. I just felt like I was wasting my time with some of the others. It does capture those feelings of nostalgia quite well, and there's some good humor mixed in. Maybe when i'm older, feeling more in the mood to look back at my life, this will be a good book.
Stephanie
There were some really painful, cringe-worthy moments in this book. Those moments resonated with me, so much sometimes, that I had to put the book down and walk away for a while. I needed to brace myself a bit.
The stories ring true, but I guess I thought there would be more humor and buoyancy and less sadness and violence.
Worth a read, but I wouldn't take it all in one bite.
Stacy
Perrotta's reminiscent collection of growing up Union county NJ in the 70's provides the reader with an arrant of interesting an sad character, urban and suburban landscapes. drivers ed, and the many neighbors and schoolmates we might otherwise overlook. Usually I do not enjoy or read through short stories, but the weaving of 'Buddy' through each store gave the collection flow.
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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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