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Little Children | [Tom Perrotta]

Little Children

Tom Perrotta's thirtysomething 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 life on the Internet than with the flesh and blood in his own house; and Mary Ann, who thinks she has it all figured out.
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Publisher's Summary

Tom Perrotta's thirtysomething 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 life on the Internet than with the flesh and blood in his own house; and Mary Ann, who thinks she has it all figured out, down to scheduling a weekly roll in the hay with her husband, every Tuesday at 9pm. They all raise their kids in the kind of sleepy American suburb where nothing ever seems to happen, at least until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two restless parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could have imagined. Unexpectedly suspenseful, but written with all the fluency and dark humor of Perrotta's previous novels, Little Children exposes the adult dramas unfolding amidst the swingsets and slides of an ordinary American playground.

©2004 Tom Perrotta; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Intelligent, absorbing tale of suburban angst....Perrotta views his characters with a funny, acute, and sympathetic eye, using the well-observed antics of preschoolers as a telling backdrop to their parents' botched transitions into adulthood. Once again, he proves himself an expert at exploring the roiling psychological depths beneath the placid surface of suburbia." (Publishers Weekly)
"Darkly comic, with a mischievous eye for absurd and intimate detail...a virtuoso set." (The Washington Post)
"Warmly humorous prose....A fast-reading, wholly engaging novel." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (237 )
5 star
 (57)
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1 star
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Overall
3.7 (110 )
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Story
3.6 (111 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ashley Yeadon, PA, USA 11-06-08
    Ashley Yeadon, PA, USA 11-06-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Distracting..."

    This may be nitpicking, but I found the narrator's swallowing distracting. It seemed that every tongue smack and spit swallow made it on tape. It made me shudder.

    I did enjoy listening to the story, but found myself disappointed with the ending. I feel like it fell flat -- perhaps this is because I saw the film before listening to the audiobook. Overall, a 3 star experience.

    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly United States 05-06-13
    Kelly United States 05-06-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love the Story / Hate the Narrator"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Little Children to be better than the print version?

    No


    Would you be willing to try another one of George Wilson’s performances?

    NO.. either the narrator's microphone is too sensitive or this audio book is poorly edited but the swallowing and whistling breathing nuances are kind of gross and distracting


    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter J. Maerz South Florida 03-22-05
    Peter J. Maerz South Florida 03-22-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprise amid a seemingly mundane environment"

    I was a bit wary as I began listening: the wry style and, on the surface at least, typical characters made me think that the author would spend his time ridiculing the archetypes of American suburbia. This notion was quickly dispelled, though, as each character was more fully fleshed out, not only through the revelations of their inner workings provided by the omniscient narrator, but through their actions.

    Even the most seemingly predictable characters--the frustrated, tough-guy ex-cop, the internet-sex-addicted husband, and even the sex offender--acted in completely unpredictable ways and had subtle and complex nuances of personality and behavior. I found myself repeatedly predicting an outcome as a particular scene unfolded, only to find myself surprised and intrigued by the actual path the story took. The result is a very unique and thought-provoking look at what has become a cliche of American life, as well as a very illuminating and engaging look at a half dozen fascinating characters. Sensationalism is certainly not a virtue, but rather the exploration of personality and motivation.

    I hate to read reviews which spill the story so I won't. But, I will offer a caveat to audible listeners. I use high-end, in-ear ear buds which transmit every nuance of a reader's voice right into my head. I have to say that our narrator took some serious getting-used-to on my part. He makes a lot of noise: very noticable and noisy swallowing, gulping and wheezing sounds that, at times, were quite distracting. I found his narration style to be excellent and very apropos for the story. And I did get more used to the extraneous sounds as I went along. Just be prepared!

    All things considered, a very entertaining, often thought-provoking book that I found perfect for rush-hour commuting.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Sparks, NV, United States 09-10-11
    James Sparks, NV, United States 09-10-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring Basic and Removed"
    What did you like best about Little Children? What did you like least?

    The idea was promising but the author just couldn't connect in any real way. It was like watching an ant farm. You can tell what's going on but bugs are bugs. The characters were flat and the narration was basic and removed. Think Dick and Jane stories. I can't believe I made it to the end, which was abrupt and uneventful!


    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Round Rock, TX, United States 10-07-11
    Marcus Round Rock, TX, United States 10-07-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    4
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    "Sensitive microphone?"

    I really really enjoyed The Leftovers and was looking forward to listening to more by Tom Perrotta. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it very far with this book because of the narration. I can't even say it was the narrator, I think it was the way it was recorded. It seems to be recorded with a fantastic super sensitive microphone, which means the narrator's mouth noises are very loud. It was extremely distracting for me. I normally roll my eyes when I read a review like this, thinking to myself "it's an audiobook, what do you expect," but this is bad. Every smack and every swallow is in fine resounding detail. About 30 minutes in he starts to whistle on every inhalation. I wonder why they don't edit those things out? Sadly, I couldn't get past this issue and had to quit listening. I think I will try it in print next time.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Vashon, WA, USA 06-17-04
    Michael Vashon, WA, USA 06-17-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story inappropriate narrator"

    This is a mostly compelling, intelligent story. A few very funny scenes, and a lot of empathy for characters that are quite flawed. The weakest scene involves the kiss, which I found hard to believe, and it kind of diminished my respect for the rest of the story.

    Still, the biggest problem with this as an audiobook is the reader. His voice is far too deep and he is unable to handle the various women's voices in the story. The publishers should have had a woman narrate the story.

    That being said, it is a decent summertime listen.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Memphis, TN, United States 06-19-04
    Susan Memphis, TN, United States 06-19-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I liked the narrator"

    I actually liked this narrator very much. He gives each character a distinctive rhythm without trying to imitate a female voice. I wish more female narrators would trust to this technique rather than trying to adopt a gruff voice for male characters.

    11 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    daniel Hamlin, WV, United States 10-28-14
    daniel Hamlin, WV, United States 10-28-14 Member Since 2010

    I am a D-Bag.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "God these people suck, and I enjoyed them."

    You ever hang around someone because they make you feel better about yourself. Well that's this book in a nut shell. Cheating spouses, a loser cop, soccer moms who have sex on a schedule, grow men killing each other playing in a tackle football league no one cares about and a fat child molester. What a crew of losers. Great story and I loved the ending. This author does not apologize for his characters or his writing. One of my favs. Check out his LEFTOVER series on HBO or Showtime cant remember which its worth the time also.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsay 05-13-14
    Lindsay 05-13-14
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    "Narrator was awful!"
    What didn’t you like about George Wilson’s performance?

    The narrator was very boring and he sounded old, I could hear him wheezing at certain points. I could barely concentrate on the stroy because I was so annoyed by the narrator's voice. I will NEVER again buy an audiobook narrated by this man!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allie culver city, CA, United States 04-04-14
    Allie culver city, CA, United States 04-04-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Hilarious!"

    To my surprise, I really enjoyed this book because suburbia, in my opinion, doesn't always lend itself well as a good, non-cliche subject. His humor reminds me a little of Nick Hornby. I thought Perrotta handled his characters with insight and empathy, without sugar coating some of their banal choices, with a very funny turn of phrase and insight. I can't wait to read his other books.
    You could hear the narrator's whistles and swallowing noises in the first part of the book, but then they receded. He probably had his mic on too loud. Oh well, I got used to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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