Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a fun read, and great in audio. Several characters are facing major transitions in their life - Eve Fletcher is a divorced empty nester, but still fairly attractive. After she drops her son off at college (with his stuff that SHE packed up), she also decides to go to college and signs up for a class about gender and society at the local community college. Her son Brendan is not prepared for adulthood, not even the adulthood light version of college, and the audiobook narrator for his sections is pretty perfect at pulling off a slightly whiny, slightly entitled, clueless college boy. There are a sprinkling of other narrators that pull in voices of some of the minor characters, and that adds nice variety. A word to all authors from this point forward though - I listened to this audiobook on my laptop because I had a review copy, so I listened without headphones. One of the characters had the name Alexa, and since we have an Amazon Echo Dot downstairs, Alexa kept talking back and hijinks ensued. No more characters named Alexa, okay?
There is a lot about sex in this book. Eve overhears her son calling his girlfriend names as they have one last sexual encounter before college and decides not to say anything (but this comes back in the story later in a great way), Eve discovers internet porn, Eve learns about transgender through her community college class, and explores her sexuality in other small ways with interactions with others. True to Perrotta's writing of American suburbia, it isn't particularly enticing, but fairly realistic. People talk up their desires more than they act on them, or when they do act on them, the results are disappointing. Pretty much the best part of most of what happens is that they can say it happened!
Some of the Brendan story line doesn't resolve the way I wanted it too, or maybe a direction I thought it was headed was dropped. The name calling comes back around as his own porn watching has negatively impacted his sexual interactions with women, and college women are not as forgiving as highschool girlfriends! But the boy he bullied in high school ends up befriending his mother in the class they both take, and while I felt carried toward a point of conflict there, it never appeared. Seems like a missed opportunity for another layer of potential weirdness.
My only issue with this book may not lie with the publisher or the author, but in how I heard people talking about it. They refer to Eve as "middle aged." Middle aged? At 46? Harrumph. That's just a few years older than me (although I can't imagine having a child, much less one in college!) and I don't think it quite qualifies as middle-aged. It was a huge turnoff for wanting to read the book but I decided to try it anyway, and was glad I did.
I listened to an audio version of this book provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.
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