Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book review: Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers

So this book can pretty much be summed up like this: a freaky global disaster happens, and people try to deal with it. The End.

The disaster in question is the sudden disappearance of literally millions of people worldwide -- men, women, children, Christians, Buddhists, atheists -- basically all sorts of people from all walks of life with no real rhyme or reason. They disappear instantly, all at the same time, vanishing in some cases before the very eyes of eyewitnesses. No one knows why or how, or where they've gone. And they don't come back. The book picks up on the three-year anniversary of the Sudden Departure, as it comes to be called, and follows a year in the lives of some of the folks left behind.

I don't know, you guys. It's not that I didn't like this book -- it was very well-written and all of the characters were interesting and I enjoyed spending time with them -- but there's not much PLOT. We just kind of see people trying to get through the day. For a year. Some of them try to ascribe meaning to the event, some of them suspend their lives completely in anticipation of what might happen next, and some just shrug their shoulders and go on with their lives.

Having just recently read a book that was all plot with very little character development, you'd think I would be up for the ol' switcheroo, but I guess I wasn't. I mean, I LIKED it. But it was one of those books that took me forever to read, you know? Not because it was at all difficult to read, but because it was way too easy to just read a page or two at a time and then go about my day.

If you like Perrotta, you will like it. I do, and I did. But don't expect a page-turner, I guess is what I'm saying. Oh, and don't expect any real answers, because it just sort of ends. Practically in the middle of a sentence.


  1. I abandoned it in the middle because it just didn't go anywhere. And I'm a big fan of Perrotta. But then I got my hands on Ready Player One, which I could put down, and just said to hell with The Leftovers.

    But really, read Ready Player One by Robert Cline. He's local too!

  2. Oops. I forgot that I read about Ready Player One here. And from a couple of others. So yeah, you know how awesome it is.

  3. What a bummer. Because it sounds like it could have been an interesting plot. But it would need some answers.

  4. I read it last week. I also felt like he left a lot of loose ends.