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Bad Haircut: Stories from the Seventies

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,629 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Tom Perrotta's first book is "more powerful than any coming-of-age novel" —The Washington Post

Bad Haircut explores 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 ord
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30)
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Glenn Sumi
Apr 08, 2014 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
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
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.
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.
Feb 04, 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
...more JohnMorn
My good friend, Mark McCabe sent this book to me. Both Donna and I read and enjoyed it. It is a series of short stories about growing up in New Jersey during the same era when we were growing up. There is a lot of humor and wisdom in the stories.
Kevin Roones
Entertaining collection of short stories that brings the reader back to the Seventies.
Feb 22, 2017 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hingham-library
I really enjoyed these stories. The book is a very quick read but each story left me thinking of my experiences growing up in the 70's. Although most of the stories, with slight revisions, could have been placed in time period.
Cheree Martin
Feb 22, 2017 Cheree Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent but not a favorite. Easy fast read.
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
Gus Carter
Oct 08, 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.
Dan Phillips
Sep 18, 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
Feb 01, 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
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
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 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
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
Iris P
May 09, 2008 Iris P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 04, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
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
Mark R.
Jul 28, 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
Jun 28, 2011 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than The Wishbones and Joe College, not as good as The Leftovers or Little Children.
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.
Jan 11, 2008 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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).
Myke Reiser
Nov 12, 2007 Myke Reiser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like the 70's as much as Quentin Tarantino does
This book is frickin awesome. A tight, well drawn collection of short stories with a bad ass 70's attitude. Scope this one out if you like to imagine what life in New Jersey in '76 was like. I bet it was awesome based on the fact that a guy in a hot dog suit beats the shit out of a teenager in this book which is largely about that great American decade.
Nov 22, 2009 Tracyj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Tom Perrotta. I had read all of his books except this one and finally got around to reading this one today. I read it in a couple hours. I'm from Northern New Jersey and I'm about the same age as Perrotta, so all his stories ring to true to me. Funny, sad, touching, nostalgic - a little of everything in this.
Sep 05, 2012 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Evan Kirby
Pretty good collection of stories here. It's quite clear how good of a writer Perrotta is off the bat with this and I'm looking forward to diving into the rest of his work. Enjoyable throughline of having these stories set in the seventies which gives it a very "homely" and "lived in" vibe, especially since I'm sure a lot of these were inspired by Perrotta's own childhood.
Aug 21, 2016 Mara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not sure there's a living writer whose work I enjoy more than Tom Perrotta's. I gave this book five stars because I enjoyed it immensely. It put me right into the time and place, and I felt like I was there with the narrator. Is it his best work? Probably not. But Perrotta's lesser work is still well-written, honest, thought-provoking and still enjoyable to read.
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.
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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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