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Little Children

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  24,363 Ratings  ·  1,959 Reviews
Tom Perrotta's thirty-ish parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There's Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed "The Prom King" by the moms of the playground; Sarah, a lapsed feminist with a bisexual past, who seems to have stumbled into a traditional marriage; Richard, Sarah's husband, who has found himself more and more involved with a fantasy l ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Feb 01, 2016 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The movie adaptation of this book was on TV recently which reminded me that I had read this book quite some time ago.

Little Children focuses on couples in their thirties living in a quiet Boston suburb where nothing really happens. One summer all of that changes when a convicted pedophile moves into the neighborhood.

Sarah and Richard:
Sarah was once a radical feminist. She never thought she would be where she is or who she is today - a common housewife. Her husband, Richard secludes himself in h
Tom Perrotta is usually very fun to read. I'm pretty sure I've read all his books, and I typically polish them off (meaning I read them, not eat them; you should not eat books) within the day, which for me is impressive. A dinette set could finish a marathon with time to spare well before I complete a book, but Perrotta's voice is easygoing and funny, and a master at pacing if you ask me, so I happily breeze right through.

But "Little Children", for which he has arguably received the most attent
Jun 26, 2008 Carol rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This has got to be the first time in my entire life that I thought the movie version of something was better than the book. Yes, I saw the movie first, and perhaps that influenced me. But, man, Tom Perrotta is a crappy writer. I felt like he was just punching a clock here--so much of the writing was dull, cliched, and lifeless.

Not only that, the movie managed to create complexity in the characters where the book did not. For instance, the movie actually managed to make me feel sorry for a child
Feb 25, 2014 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perrotta has written a caustically funny satire of thirty-something suburban American life that we laugh aloud even as we see ourselves and our faults unerringly displayed. Even with his opening salvo--descriptions of the mothers at the playground discussing their children, other mothers’ children, their husbands, their sexual habits (or not)--one cannot help but think this is one author who listens and can make a joke of even the most painful circumstance. No matter how bad or boring things get ...more
Alix Méav
Apr 01, 2008 Alix Méav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I read Little Children after a friend recommended it to me and after I read the actual novel that inspired the movie Election.

Little Children is a fantastic book to read when you're in your mid-to-late 20's-early 30's. There was something about the book to me that made me very uncomfortable in some parts because I could recognise my own fears of getting older, being a graduate student, and the possibility that so many years of schooling could amount to absolutely zero.

Perhaps it is also because
Jason Pettus
Jun 22, 2007 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Full review can be found at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

For better or for worse, there are a small collection of writers out there who can be called "movie authors," for lack of a better term; those who have had multiple novels adapted into films now, because of writing screenplay-friendly books or having an amazing agent or whatever the reason. And as far as the traditional literary world, these writers can be found scattered all the way through the foo
Nov 25, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Little Children by Tom Perrotta: A little stream-of-consciousness exercise... Intense. Polarizing. Revolting. Train Wreck. Cloying. I know these people. I am not these people. I understand these people. Did he really just say that? Sad. Comic. A perfect satire. Upsetting. Wonderfully unlikable characters. Suburban noir. Delee must read this.

So I've been in this women's book club at my lib for about a year now. We've been reading serious and usually depressing historical fiction that is aimed at
Oct 31, 2014 Cher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars - Incredible. I really loved it.

Essentially, this is a very cynical book that explores the various forms selfishness can take through the viewpoints of several deeply flawed characters living in suburbia. If you don't count the measly 5% I read the night I started this one, then I read it in one day, not wanting to put it down. Apparently there is a movie based on it that I need to check out now. Loved this one and think it is a book that begs to be discussed in a group. But be warned
If you have seen the movie adaptation of this book starring Kate Winslet, which is very good, it follows the book pretty closely until the very end.

"Is That All There Is?" – Peggy Lee

This is a satire about traditional suburban life in mainstream America. Almost everyone seems to be living the idyllic American dream. Two of the characters, Todd (married to Kathy) and Sarah (married to Richard) feel shackled, disillusioned and unfulfilled by the constraints and trappings of their conventional sub
Crystal Craig
I enjoyed the movie adaptation more, but the book is still a solid read.
Mar 25, 2012 Levi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm usually not this harsh in my criticisms of a book and I can often find something redeeming in any story but this is just one of the most overrated novels I've ever read. I was so excited to read it when I heard talk about it and saw it on bookshelves but I was sorely mistaken. This book reads like a harlequin piece trying to dress itself as high literature and it fails on both ends. The characters are plastic, unlikeable and unbelievable and the story is asinine and flails arround trying to ...more
Little Children turns out to be little more than a 350 page soap opera. I kept reading in the hopes that the characters would somehow, in some way, redeem themselves in my eyes. Because they were some of the most unlikable bunch of whiners I have read about. Unfortunately, the book drags these characters through a much too lengthy and predictable melodrama. I think the moms in the suburbs all seemed so stereotypically exaggerated but maybe that's part of the point of satire.

“After all, what wa
Jan 22, 2014 Fewlas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, r
Due stelle e mezzo.
Sono un po’ delusa. Dopo aver letto ”Intrigo scolastico” credevo di aver capito quali fossero i punti forti di questo autore: l’arguzia, l’ironia, la caratterizzazione precisa dei personaggi, la sua capacità di dipingere realisticamente eppure con fantasia e trovate originali gli ambienti e le situazioni della vita quotidiana. Ovvero, io credevo di ritrovare tutto questo anche in ”Bravi bambini”, anche perché è il libro di Perrotta del quale di solito si parla di più. Inoltre,
Apr 07, 2008 sdattybride rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not every aspect of the story necessarily rings true, Perotta does a fantastic job of creating a secret world between Sarah and Todd, using the characters' own flaws to develop his story and build suspense. Personally, I don't know that the sex-offender subplot did much for the story and I could've done without it, particularly considering its overall "preachy" tone (which may be unavoidable when writing about so delicate a subject). While I can appreciate that the idea was to parallel a l ...more
Mark R.
Feb 15, 2008 Mark R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far this year, I've been doing a great job of picking out books exactly in line with my tastes. This Tom Perrotta book was an enjoyable quick read, an appropriate change of pace after "The Denial of Death," which was the last thing I read--and a book I had a hard time getting my mind off of, days afterwards. Perrotta writes in a relatively straight-forward manner, with lots of dialogue. Lots of really fucking GREAT dialogue.

The story is about a few early-thirties-aged individuals in a small t
Feb 02, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: No one; when the movie was made a few years ago, I read a review of that and thought the storyline sounded good, so I decided I wanted to read the book.
Except for how this ends, which definitely wasn't predictable but which I didn't like, I loved this book and highly recommend it. I read it faster than I normally read books because I couldn't put it down. Perrotta has a way with words that I greatly admire--a very talented writer.
Jun 22, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I was disturbed by the topics raised in this book not so much because I am a prude but rather because I'm an idealist. Perhaps I am a bit naive but I'd certainly like to think that infidelity is less common place than the literary world makes it seem. Perrota definitely likes to incorporate sexuality into his writing and Little Children is no exception. Oddly, I found the characterization of the convicted child molester less unsettling than the pantie-sniffing web surfer or his wife's affair. We ...more
Abigail Hillinger
Apr 18, 2007 Abigail Hillinger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody willing to dip into the Dark Side.
Shelves: fiction
Oh, Tom Perrotta. How I adore you.

There is one common denominator in Perrotta books: infidelity/adultery.

I've often questioned whether this is a common denominator in Perrotta's relationships, as well, or simply a fantasty he entertains. But whatever, I digress.

Little Children is a dark satire into middle/upper-class suburbia, where moms at the playground compete with each other on who has the nicest J. Crew khakis or who remembers to bring the snacks, stay-at-home-dads can be labeled "Prom King
Mar 07, 2008 Gemma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man, I have a difficult time with this book (especially in light of recently seeing the movie). Perrotta uses his usual awkward grace in developing awkward characters, and created a novel more complete and thoughtful than any of his previous ones. He still has some of the same problems as in his earlier novels (the random addition of a secondary or tertiary character's perspective for just one brief segment, for convenience in the plot, is as annoying here as it is in Election), but I felt like ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A quick and enjoyable read, with lots to say about what marriage and love and child-rearing really mean. What they really mean, according to Perotta, is a lot of unfulfilled fantasies, disappointments, and a touch of real enjoyment. Since I generally view life in this sort of semi-cynical way, I found a lot to identify with in this book.

Another aspect of the book that I liked was the way Perotta dealt with the arrival of a convicted sex offender in the sleepy suburban neighborhood he paints so
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 04, 2009 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read09
I don't usually read a book after seeing the movie, but there were a few memorable lines in the movie that I was hoping originated in the book. An interesting story about the choices you make in your daily life, combating the terror of normality that hits once you have become an adult, and the consequences of both.

"What was adult life but one moment of weakness piled on top of another? Most people just fell in line like obedient little children, doing exactly what society expected of them at any
Leslie Lindsay
Aug 09, 2015 Leslie Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Might I be an anomaly here? I loved this book. It's cloyingly wrong, disturbing, and oh-so-good. The writing is astutely observant, descriptive, bright and gleaming. While a dark, wrecking ball examination of suburbia, LITTLE CHILDREN is at once brilliant and unsettling; I couldn't get enough of these flawed, complex (and witty!) characters.

I've seen the movie that is based on this NYTimes bestseller, but it's been awhile, in fact I can't honestly compare the two because, well my memory doesn't
Jan 10, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't just beg the question, but shouts it.... Do people really ever "grow-up"? When I saw the movie version of this book, I couldn't understand why the author titled this book Little Children. It became clear as day during my journey through the book, so much so that I don't think any other title would have worked.

Perrotta is one heck of a writer. The way he can write about the various women in this book in such an intense, factual, realistic and emotional way, was a stroke of geni
Feb 11, 2014 Leslie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2009 Becca rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this novel--intelligently constructed, defined characters, realistic resolution. I did not, however, enjoy the story. I think there was too much going on--the sex offender, while definitely a part of the story, was more an afterthought. The same could be said for Larry Moon--his existence is so tertiary, you have to wonder if he wasn't created solely to torment Ronnie McGorvey.

The true meat of this tale is the love affair between Sarah and Todd, with less emphasis on the happy end
Aug 08, 2008 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julia by: Frank G!
I'm beginning to notice a pattern: I started reading The Abstinence Teacher on a flight, and was so absorbed that I spent the entire next day at home, finishing the bulk of it in one day - which is SO unusual for me (I usually take weeks to finish even the easiest books). About the same thing happened with this one - covering about 80 pages on slow subways, I finished it on the following day home sick from work - staying up late to get through the last, terrifyingly suspenseful pages. No wonder ...more
May 24, 2007 Bernie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to think
If possible, read this book before seeing the movie...although i think the movie did a very respectable job of capturing the main issues of the book.

How refreshing to have a writer who questions the "PC-ness" of American society, the direction this country is heading further into. It's interesting to examine the mores of a suburban community - the self-righteousness of new mothers, the husbands who blindly follow their wives' rage in order not to rock the boat, the people who set themselves up a
Nov 14, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember where I heard about this book, but I do remember that I put it on my reading list because it was essentially about the "secret" lives of stay-at-home parents who visit the local playground with their kids. Tom Perrotta does a great job showing us the needs and desires of these parents, as they search for meaning (and love) in their lives. The characters are lots of fun too: Sarah, the former feminist who swore she wouldn't be the SAHM and ends up marrying an internet porn addict ...more
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Cafe Libri: May: Little Children by Tom Perrotta 2 3 May 14, 2014 12:02PM  
The movie in comparison to the book. 4 63 Mar 16, 2012 06:47PM  
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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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“After all, what was adult life but one moment of weakness piled on top of another? Most people just fell in line like obedient little children, doing exactly what society expected of them at any given moment, all the while pretending that they’d actually made some sort of choice.” 106 likes
“It's not the cheating. It's the hunger for an alternative. The refusal to accept unhappiness.” 56 likes
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