Abbey's Reviews > The Leftovers

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
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's review
Aug 04, 12

Read in August, 2012

GREAT premise, tepid story line. I _adored_ the movie "Election," so I had such high hopes for this book.

****Mild spoilers****

This could have been wonderful, which makes me all the more disappointed that it turned into a such a pedestrian, plodding story about how people get over trauma. The precipitating event might as well have been a slow-moving epidemic instead of something as out-of-this-world bizarre as the sudden disappearance of millions of people.

All the really good parts - details of how many millions disappear, the panic that follows, the investigation, the reactions - are mostly implied or referred to obliquely and then it's back to the plodding ordinariness of survivor's guilt, left-behind jealousy, and tragic romance.

Three good bits of humor, though:

1. It couldn't have been the rapture because the people who disappeared didn't fit any pattern - they were from every religion, age, and moral standing.

2. There's a minister who goes around knocking the halos off the memory of those who disappeared so he can feel better about "not making the cut." Also a good, tiny part of this boring tale.

3. I chuckled out loud at the mandatory smoking for the fatalistic, silent Guilty Remnant. That's better than whips for flagellants!

These occasional glimmers of humor keep me from giving it one star as a rating.

I know that I like plot-driven books rather than slow character-driven books, so if you're one of those people who like novels with a slow arc of character development, you may have a completely different take on this book.

Overall, it was disappointing - I do not recommend it.

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