I am so excited to be writing my first blog post for 2012! This post should have been completed WEEKS ago, but we all know how crazy this time of year is; with Christmas, family, final exams and working as many hours as possible to start saving up for next semester. But I digress.. I am here to talk about Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers!
If you are a lover of character driven novels, then this book is for you! The Leftovers uncovers the lives of the Garvey family and how they all coped with the aftermath of the rapture-like event that drastically changed their lives forever.
Could you imagine? One moment life is as it should be and within a blink of an eye–POOF!–over one million people have disappeared off the face of the planet. Perrotta refers to this event as the “Sudden Departure”.
Perrotta unfolds the lives of each member of the Garvey family after the Sudden Departure; from Jill Garvey (the daughter) who went from a straight “A” student to a rebellious, careless, juvenile delinquent; to Tom Garvey (the son) who was so lost and in need of some answers that he decided to embark on a quest for the meaning behind this rapture-like event.
In times like these, there is always an extremist of some sort trying to prey on the weak, so Tom Garvey drops out of college to follow a shady self-proclaimed prophet named Holy Wayne, unbeknownst to Tom’s father who believes his son has taken this catastrophic event quite well. But Kevin is so wrapped up in his own concerns at the time; he did not know how far both of his children have fallen into a catacomb of despair and are in desperate need of guidance.
Kevin is trying to keep himself together for the sake of his family, even with the immense loneliness taking him over.
Kevin is the mayor of Mapleton, and with that comes great responsibility, but he too was obviously shaken by the Sudden Departure. Not only is he trying to console the town, he has his wife, Laurie, who has decided to leave him to join the Guilty Remnant. This cult Laurie joins requires you leave behind all your earthly belongings and you must take a mandatory vow of silence upon moving on the compound, with no communication with outsider.
If your main interest in this novel is for the rapture-like event itself, then you will not be satisfied. I kept waiting for answers myself, but like the characters, I too will not find what I am looking for. But it took a couple days of reflection after I finished the novel to realize that I too became a character in the book searching for answers. Plus, the book wasn’t supposed to be about the event in its entirety, it was suppose to be about the characters and how they dealt with this event, and how they prospered in their own ways.
*END OF SPOILER ALERT*
As a reader, we will never be able to fully relate and juxtapose our reactions to an event so improbable. But Perrotta gives a great account of his characters and their emotional roller coaster throughout the years following the Sudden Departure.
I would like to thank Tom Perrotta, for reading the prologue of this novel to me at Random House and getting me hooked! As well as for signing my copy! It was an honour! 🙂
This novel is so unique in its story line and it had me hooked from the beginning! Enjoy!!