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Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies. Tom Perrotta

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,526 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Tom Perrotta has created a memorable young protagonist named Buddy in this unsentimental, often hilarious collection of short stories. Bad Haircut follows Buddy's boyhood and adolescent adventures as he struggles to understand the mysteries of race relations, sex, family dynamics - and haircuts. The setting is a working-class town in New Jersey. The time is the overlooked ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Harper Perennial (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,512)
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Glenn Sumi
Apr 07, 2015 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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.

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 (recently made into an HBO TV series). But already the casual, knowing fictional voice is well-developed. The writing is clear
Terri Jacobson
This collection of short stories was written in 1994 when Tom Perrotta was 32 years old. The stories chronicle the coming of age of Buddy, a young man growing up in mid-1970s New Jersey. The stories range from funny to poignant, and they very much evoke that 1970s vibe. I enjoyed the collection very much. 3.5 stars.
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
Apr 21, 2015 Pat rated it liked it
The full title of this book by Tom Perrotta is Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies and, though it is a collection of short stories, its ten tales are all narrated by the same character, are set in the same place and appear in chronological order. Nevertheless, each story is self-contained and few characters or events appear more than once. The narrator is a teenager named Buddy and he lives in a small town in New Jersey. Each story deals with a particular episode in Buddy's life and he's usual ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 14, 2012 Taka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, 2012
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
Dan Phillips
Sep 23, 2013 Dan Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Oct 24, 2013 Gus Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 30, 2011 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
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
Rich Sanidad
I'm still trying to figure out why I enjoyed Perrotta's other book, Nine Inches: Stories, more than Bad Haircut.... The writing style was quite similar, so maybe it had something to do with the lighter tone of the book. Maybe I liked it better when his short stories were not related to one another. [Not a spoiler: all of the short stories in this book have the same protagonist, Buddy.] I did enjoy the coming of age theme of the whole book, so maybe it was the main character. I don't feel like he ...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
Feb 22, 2014 Randy Richardson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nicholas Arndt
Nov 18, 2014 Nicholas Arndt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the story. In a weird way it was sad because you see the character grow up and change. Most of these events are relatable and strum a chord within myself. Very entertaining and funny.
Oct 03, 2015 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of linked short stories perfectly capturing growing up in the '70s, by the author of Election and The Leftovers. Contains one of the funniest moments I've ever read in a work of fiction.
Jessie Gower
Though we are a generation apart, these vignettes took me back to the Central Jersey town where I grew up, just down the road from Mr. Perotta's hometown. Mr. Perotta's clean and careful writing paints clear, sweet portraits of time, place, and universal experience.
Apr 26, 2015 Réka rated it really liked it
This book is esentially Boyhood in a written form, set in the '70s. It's about a kid without any personality growing up in an era that we think of with nostalgia. And somehow, I still loved it.
Jul 20, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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.
Feb 08, 2013 Lorina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2014 Dirk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ian Hamilton
Jan 10, 2016 Ian Hamilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diving deep into the Perrotta catalog this year; plowed through this in just under two hours and absolutely loved it.
Karen Germain
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
Sep 03, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
These are vignettes and not a cohesive story. It was okay. Some parts were hilarious, some were a bit slow.
Travis Evans
A cute story.
Not exactly the freshest coming-of-age ever penned, but likeable and sweet.
Mark R.
Jul 30, 2008 Mark R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jul 24, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in high school and stumbled upon it again and look forward to re-reading.
Great collection of short stories for those who crave seventies nostalgia. I enjoyed it.
Apr 04, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Forgiveness" and "Just The Way We Were" were excellent stories. some of the earlier ones were a little less so.
John Matthews
Dec 07, 2013 John Matthews rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 30, 2015 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very funny short stories. Love the Hot Dog Man one.
Jul 16, 2008 Davida rated it really liked it  ·  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
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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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