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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    96
  • 4 Stars
    130
  • 3 Stars
    78
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    11

Performance

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    70
  • 3 Stars
    52
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    13

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    69
  • 4 Stars
    74
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ashley
  • Yeadon, PA, USA
  • 11-06-08

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.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kelly
  • United States
  • 05-06-13

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

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Sparks, NV, United States
  • 09-10-11

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marcus
  • Round Rock, TX, United States
  • 10-07-11

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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • B
  • 01-07-15

Distracting sounds

There was an entire chapter of nose whistling sounds with every inhalation that almost made me quit listening! Unfortunately that's my biggest takeaway from this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • Memphis, TN, United States
  • 06-19-04

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.

12 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 07-11-13

suburban fluff

i recently attended my 35th college reunion
tom perrotta and i went to the same university
he read from this book as part of that weekend

as he read i had the impression of a screenplay
it seemed, he wrote the book with the plan of a later movie
female suburban angst must be a very reliable subject

? is this book any better than a made-for-TV movie
? is peeling the veneer off comfortable suburbanites helpful
mr. perrotta seems like a nice man, but this isn't his best book

7 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Captivating, but could hear breathing & swallowing

The narrator was good, however, I could hear his nose whistling when he breathed in and I could hear him swallowing. Kind of gross for a misophone like me, but not so bad I couldn't stand it.