Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Election” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,090 Ratings  ·  388 Reviews
A suburban New Jersey high school teacher confronts a student-body election gone haywire in this darkly comic novel by the author of The Wishbones. Scheduled for release as a feature film in 1998, starring Matthew Broderick.Who really cares who gets elected President of Winwood High School? Nobody -- except Tracy Flick. Tracy's one of those students of boundless energy and ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published March 9th 1998 by Putnam Adult
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Election, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Election

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Godfather by Mario PuzoAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueThe Shining by Stephen King
68th out of 134 books — 11 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 20, 2015 Eve rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
“The logistics of a high school election are no laughing matter. At the same time you’re educating your students about democracy, you’re working to safeguard the process against fraud. It’s sad but true: given half a chance, most kids will cheat to win. They’re a lot like adults in this respect” – Mr. M

I’ve never seen the movie adaptation of Election, but I understand that a lot of its cult followers can be likened to Rushmore enthusiasts. Winwood High School is an anonymous high school, in a
Karen Germain
Feb 15, 2008 Karen Germain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going through my Tom Perrotta phase. I held off on this one, because I loved the movie. As much as I loved the movie, I have to admit that the book was better, as usually is the case. In defense of the movie, it's a pretty decent adaptation and where is strays from the book, only make the movie stronger.

The characters in the book are much more sympathetic, especially Tracy and Mr. M. I also preferred the ending in the book, it brought the story full circle. The ending in the movie in funny,
Jul 20, 2014 rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, 2006-and-prior
Since early high school, I've read this book four times: twice in high school itself, once in early college, and again this year. While I don't want to sell young me short, I'm pretty sure a lot of the reason I loved it in high school was the scandal (a lesbian relationship AND a teacher/student relationship!) and perhaps even more, Perrotta's black humor. I still like both of those things about it today, but I also recognize how bleakly human it is. Like a grotesque circus. Or just a regular ci ...more
Jul 14, 2016 orsodimondo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
A suo modo romanzo di formazione, anche questo in ambiente scolastico come già in L'insegnante di astinenza sessuale, Perrotta, che qualcuno a casa sua con buona dose di esagerazione definisce il Cechov americano, attraverso il racconto di un’elezione studentesca, torna a mostrare come in USA il puritanesimo regni sovrano, la democrazia e l’egualitarismo siano ancora soprattutto miti, non traguardi consolidati, come anche in una democrazia in miniatura come quella scolastica la vera moll
Apr 05, 2010 j rated it really liked it
I picked this up because I love the movie. It turns out that the movie is a very faithful adaptation. As it, if you've done one, you really don't need to try the other, unless you're just curious. I was, and I wound up liking the book just about as much.
Abigail Hillinger
Apr 18, 2007 Abigail Hillinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
When I first saw the movie back in the 1990s, I hadn't embraced my dark side yet. I thought it was depressing and left me with the feeling of, "Now what?"

Of course, as I grew older, I realized that not everything has a happy ending. And I learned how to make fun of the bad parts of life. So when I picked up Election in a bookstore a few years ago, I figured I'd give it a go. Very smart move on my part.

Election is an interesting spin for Perrotta--it's the only novel he has written where the P.O.
Jul 12, 2014 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I was on a Perrotta reading kick, I rewatched the film version of 'Election' and listened to some of the commentary by the film's director - Alexander Payne. In talking about the novel, Payne didn't mention the author - and also said something about the character of Tracy being a lot more sexual in the book, so he wanted to tone her down. It was of little consequence to me if Tracy was more sexual in the book, but I hadn't read it. So now I have.

First off, Tracy is not more sexual in the b
Mar 23, 2011 Mariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adlai Stevenson
Recommended to Mariel by: Citizen Kane

I think that I liked the Alexander Payne adaptation of Tom Perrotta's Election a bit more than I liked the book. First things first, the movie wouldn't exist without the book. I know all of that. There were great things in the book. It gave me great joy the depiction of the pervert high school teacher and his "Sensitive middle-aged man music" (enter the Lionel Ritchie). I had a pervert teacher in high school who made us listen to Lionel Ritchie/The Commodores during class time (amazing that his
Feb 06, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a nearly-rabid fan of the movie version of Tom Perrotta's "Election", and it recently occurred to me that I had never read the book! Even though I'm also a big fan of Tom Perrotta's other books! Good Lord, what was I thinking? To Amazon, stat!

I'm almost certainly predisposed to give this book 5 stars given my intense love for the film, so take me with a grain of salt. But this nifty little story, with its staccato jumps from character to character as the voice of narration, as well as Perro
Apr 18, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Election was one of the first films I remember seeing that opened my eyes to the wonderful world of non-blockbuster, non-action, non-broad comedy films. It provided me with tears of laughter and a turned me into a loyal fan of Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor's films. It still makes me laugh and I continue to recommend it to people.

Ignorance is bliss and I wasn't aware it was based on a novel so the other day I bought it and finished it within 24 hours. Like the film, the novel provided me with la
Apr 26, 2012 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
This is my first Tom Perrotta book and on this evidence won’t be my last. I liked the characters and the way the author gets straight to the heart of them and his depiction of suburban America. I read John Updike’s ‘Rabbit’ novels (which are among my favourite books ever and which I must re-read) many years ago and this reminded me of those. I’ve seen it described as superficial but I prefer understated. The story quickly draws you in and the fairly straight forward storyline still highlights im ...more
Aug 20, 2011 Tania rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely not bad, per se. I just didn't love as much as I expected I would. It was a quick read. Perotta is a decent writer. The action flows really well, and he does a good job of hooking the reader into the story.

The problem is that the book is superficial. It is too short to really examine the characters in depth and give the reader any real insight of value into their motivations. Tracy and Mr. M needed a great deal more depth. I didn't get invested in any of the characters.
Jonathan Briggs
May 15, 2012 Jonathan Briggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an even quicker read than "The Wishbones," but it's a little meatier. Tom Perrotta has more on his mind than the life and times of the self-centered post-slacker. Oh, he's here, too. He teaches now. And he's right in the middle of a wicked satire of two of America's most absurd and generally pointless institutions: politics and high school. Perrotta writes convincingly from the POV of a variety of characters: History teacher Mr. M, who sabotages an election at school and his marriage at ...more
Matt Raymond
Jul 16, 2014 Matt Raymond rated it it was amazing
Pretty much the book I probably could have written and wish I did. It's hilarious how these selfish high school characters morph into the political stereotypes we all know by now, and somehow Mr. M the idealistic (or naive?) teacher somehow pays for it all in the end. As far as a satire goes, this is a prime example. Anyone looking to learn about politicians need not go further than a high school full of people filled with ambition but no goals. When I first read this book I was Mr. M full of id ...more
Wow, this one sure zips along at a breakneck pace. Read it in one sitting. The movie has probably become more iconic than the novel, but the latter's style and subject matter is right up my alley. It doesn't feature the deepest exploration of character or the most literary writing, but when you're chuckling this much throughout and so into it all, how much does that matter?

Can't wait for the release of The Leftovers later this month.
Aug 12, 2010 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I saw the film years ago, I never did get a chance (until now) to read Tom Perrotta's Election. I finished over the course of a day, so clearly I liked it. The film adaptation stayed pretty true to the book, in which Perrotta delivers his usual themes of American suburban angst. If the film came out today, I could picture songs from the new Arcade Fire album being on the soundtrack. Just like many Arcade Fire songs, this story does not have the typical Hollywood happy ending, which somehow ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Katy rated it it was amazing
I saw and loved the movie years ago (and multiple times) and when I picked up the book (it was around the house...) at first I thought, "Wow, this is basically just the screenplay." However! There are some differences and although I do enjoy the movie, I found that the character development was better in this - you definitely like Tracy more (and Paul...and Tammy...) I don't think you understand Mr. M. as well, oddly enough, even though he's the main character. But I enjoyed it...
Pat Herndon
Feb 27, 2015 Pat Herndon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's always interesting to approach an author's body of work backwards. I had a tough time getting my hands on Perrotta's first book, Election. I think that Perrotta has a real talent in observing and describing the contradictions of mainstream, middle-class culture in America. Somehow in all of his books, he manages to reveal a dark underbelly of discontent and unfulfilled sexual tension. I certainly encountered this in his book Little Children. Election is much tamer, but just as biting. He lo ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though I have seen the movie many times, I was surprised by how much I still enjoyed reading the novel; I didn't know what to expect out of the book but I was pleasantly surprised by the writing.
The characters are entertaining; they are all interesting and hold different perspectives. The flow of the book is consistent and the story is amusing and realistic.
I may just have to give some other Perrotta novels a try after this.
Laura Thompson
Mar 13, 2013 Laura Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Interesting, easy to read, characters who feel real. No one is perfect, they're this big jumble of messed up people. I loved the different perspectives and hearing what each character had to say. I would classify this as a dessert book-it's light and short and doesn't fill you up like some of those "steak dinner" books we all know and love, but it certainly is enjoyable.
Jun 09, 2011 Bells rated it it was amazing
Very cute. I finished this in about a day (well, technically I didn’t finish it because the library copy has the last ten pages missing, d’oh!). It was easy to get through but since I had seen the movie and it was still pretty clear in my mind, I feel like the book wasn’t as exciting. Also, it was really short. At a mere 208 pages, we barely delved into the characters’ lives.
Weeb Heinrich
Mar 19, 2013 Weeb Heinrich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a snow day and pulled this one off the shelf. It was a very quick read (less than 200 pages, big type, wide margins) and I think I would have enjoyed it much better if I the movie wasn't one of my all time favorite movies. This is a good introduction to the writings of Perrotta... and will be checking out more. I had fun with it, and loved the writing style
Apr 18, 2013 Peebee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the movie and loved the book. I also love Tom Perrotta, so that wasn't too difficult to imagine. And as subversive as the movie is, I think the book is slightly better. I know Reese Witherspoon is an Oscar winner, but reading this gave me new respect for how pitch perfect she played Tracy Flick. If you liked the movie, you'll probably love the book.
Mar 23, 2012 M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm not sure why it took me so long to read this, as I adore Tom Perrotta's other books... Maybe I was scared it wouldn't live up to the brilliance of his others. I needn't have worried. This book is fantastic. The characters are flawed, and their lives insightful and immediately engaging. Remarkable stuff.
Dec 09, 2010 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent portrayal of high school from an adult and young adult perspective. Loved the movie, but enjoyed the book more because I got to know everyone better, especially Tracy Flick. She was great in the film, but much deeper and more sympathetic in the novel. I'm very impressed with Perrotta's writing.
Dec 30, 2007 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone & everyone
Recommended to Karen by: My mom
Shelves: favorites
More love for Tom Perrotta! I'm just crazy about him. The movie was very faithful to the book, so no surprises. But, definitely more character insight. I think I liked Tracy Flick more in the book than in the movie and Paul is a lot brighter in the book. A great, quick read!
Jul 21, 2014 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Perrotta's books and this one was no different! I enjoy the way he writes as if the characters' thoughts have no filter. People are always thinking ridiculous things and it's nice for an author to be real about that. Now I want to re-watch the movie too.
Annie Crowley
Again, I'm afraid that I saw the movie first. (dozens of times, at that. I kind of love that movie.)
This is a short novel, and was super fun to read. I devoured it in a day. Perrotta is a master of the small-town scandals erupting from small-town frustrations.
Mar 09, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My all-time favorite book. I read it because I'd heard the movie (starring my beloved Matthew Broderick) was cool, but the book blows the movie away. A fast, funny, eloquent, sometimes wrenching read on youth and ethics that I try to revisit once a year.
J.T. Holden
Apr 21, 2013 J.T. Holden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plainly and simply, this is one savvy (and wickedly funny) book. If you're looking for a bitingly satirical exposé on high school politics, you will not find a better example than Perotta's sublime second novel Election.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Thank You for Smoking
  • Tuesdays with Morrie: curriculum unit
  • The Ice Storm
  • A Changed Man
  • Go to Sleep
  • The Death of Napoleon
  • Girl (Girl, #1)
  • Kapitoil
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • The Pleasure of My Company
  • Normal Girl
  • Reconstructing Brigid
  • Wonder Boys
  • Gossip of the Starlings
  • Syrup
  • Behind the Secret Window
  • Towelhead
  • Here They Come
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...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Maybe that's what we look for in the people we love, the spark of unhappiness we think we know how to extinguish.” 1784 likes
More quotes…