This is one of those "what I'm reading" posts. Every once in a while I find myself curiously engaged by a chick novel (or flick), and Tom Perrotta's Little Children is one of them. As both a satire on suburban American life and an ambiguous morality tale, it caught my interest, and the reviews make it sound like it will appeal to my cynical view of life in general, and of the upper middle class in particular. Take these, for instance:
"Perrotta's characters aren't exactly likeable or sympathetic, but his language is so note-perfect that readers are dropped in to their lives, like them or not. He has a lot to say about a lot of things, and he does so with the same economy and transparency with which he creates the characters... Readers go with his flow because he's never stacking the deck. He's like the most accomplished of magicians, who do not even appear to be performing until the performance is complete and the end is utterly, terrifyingly apparent." (Rick Kleffel)The book has been made into a film -- to be released this Friday, though I believe only in NY and LA. That would figure. Most decent films these days are limited release. See the trailer. Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, and Patrick Wilson take the lead roles.
"What marks Little Children as the work of a satirist is the way Perrotta lures us into taking morally certain positions on some of these characters (a right-wing housewife, the flasher whose life is being made hell by the upright citizens around him) only to pull the rug out from under us, upsetting any potential smugness. What marks him as a compassionate writer is that even at his most pitiless he shows a bone-deep understanding of his characters and a refusal to judge them." (Salon)