What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.
"The title is the best part"
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.
Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school. Soccer coach Tim Mason is a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved. Adversaries in a small-town culture war, Ruth and Tim instinctively mistrust each other. But when a controversy on the soccer field pushes the two of them to actually talk to each other, they are forced to take each other at something other than face value.
"Same and Better"
Tom Perrotta’s first book, Bad Haircut, consisted of linked stories featuring a shared protagonist. Now, nineteen years later, he has written and compiled his first true short story collection. This twelve story book features a group set in Perrotta’s trademark suburban setting, focusing on the fissures in families and unexpected connections among members of typical American communities, including “Senior Season” and "Nine Inches".
"great short stories capture modern day life"
In The Wishbones, Tom Perrotta's characters are 90s adults still clinging to their 70s dreams. Thirty-one-year-old Dave Raymond has an adoring girlfriend and a steady gig as guitarist for The Wishbones, a New Jersey wedding band. He still lives with his parents, but that's a small price to pay for the freedom to play the music he loves.
Dave's world changes the day three little words fly from his mouth: "Let's get married."