Thursday, 29 April 2010

Little Children, by Tom Perrotta - book review



Little Children is based in suburban America and follows the story of former-feminist and housewife Sarah, who hates the life she has fallen into, and her affair with 'The Prom King' Todd, while the whole town is disrupted by the arrival of a convicted sex-offender.

The characters are well developed and the pace hardly ever lags in Perrotta's intelligent and witty black comedy drama. We don't see Ronnie commit any of his offenses (apart from one unpleasant exposure) but instead hear only speculation and witness the town's reaction towards him, which makes for interesting reading.

The ending of the film has one major difference to the ending of the book. (Read the book first, by the way.) The film has a more dramatic ending, whereas the book has a more subtle ending that evokes a sense of empty epiphany. On first reactions, film ending seemed more satisfying as it was more climatic. But on further reflection, the ending of the novel was far more realistic and in tune with the characters.

2 comments:

  1. Why must I read the book first? I'm of the other school -- watch the film then read the book. Far less chance of being disappointed with the movie -or having unmeetable expectations for it-that way.

    I've been meaning to read this book since I saw the film (I recognized a writer I would enjoy in that screenplay). I'll get to it one day. :)

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  2. I think the endings are so different, that if you see the film first, you are almost set up for a disappointment with the book, though if you read the book first, it will probably be easier to appreciate the subtlety. I also couldn't get the actors out of my head when trying to picture the characters - which was very annoying because Sarah is meant to be plain and frumpy and Kate Winslet is absolutely gorgeous. The book and the film seemed to have different aims. The film tries to humanize the sex offender; the book does not (at least, not as obviously or dramatically).

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