Review & Giveaway: The Leftovers

The Leftovers

The Leftovers
By Tom Perrotta
(St. Martin’s Press, Hardcover, 9780312358341, August 30, 2011, 368pp.)

The Short of It:

Perrotta’s decision to skim over the Rapture itself is a risky one, but in the end, it works.

The Rest of It:

The story is simple. In a Rapture-like event, several of the inhabitants of Mapleton disappear. Without any warning, while doing everyday things, they just…vanish. The story begins a few years later. The folks that were left behind have picked up their routines again, but they are not the same people they were before the event and they constantly ask the same question over and over again. Why? They’re alive, but do they want to be?

I have to tell you, it took me well over 100 pages to get into this story. I’d say, at around page 225, I started to get into it. Why did it take me so long? Well, the story is told by several different characters, and although it was never confusing to me, I found it hard to relate to them initially. They weren’t all that likable. There is a weird religious cult which I really did not get, a fanatical preacher-type guy who takes on many wives, etc.

Plus, the decision to begin the story three years after the event took some acceptance on my part. I felt as if I missed out on something, which may have been Perrotta’s point. These characters walk around in a trance, going through the motions, yet they aren’t happy. At one point I asked myself, will these characters ever be happy? Those who know me personally, know that I do not need happy characters in a story. In fact, I am a big lover of dysfunction in literature but even I wanted them to be a little bit happy.

That’s why this next sentence will surprise you…

Strangely, I found myself liking the book quite a bit. The last few pages were very satisfying (to me) and all the little quibbles I had with it, didn’t seem to matter anymore. I guess you could say that I lost myself in the ending. I think I traveled to three different rooms in my house just to ensure an uninterrupted finish and Perrotta did not disappoint!

Overall, a pretty good read if you’re willing to invest a little bit of time.

If you’ d like to win your own copy, check out the giveaway info below!

Source: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.

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Giveaway Information

This giveaway is for one copy of The Leftovers and is open to the US only. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on August 31, 2011 (pacific). I will email the winner!

This giveaway is now closed!

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26 Responses

  1. This one is on my list although it is strange…I always love your reviews…they help me to make my ever intense read or save decisions!!!

  2. I was hoping to get my hands on this one, so happy to see a giveaway. Thanks Ti

  3. Sounds like a strangely fascinating read – so, its definitely right up my alley. Loved your post – honest and informative as always :) And that’s great you having a giveaway for the book – Thanks! Oh, and throw my name into the hat :)

  4. Ti, loved your honest and informative review. This books sounds strangely fascinating and I definitely want to read it. So glad you are hosting a giveaway – thanks!

  5. Thanks for an honest review, if you didn’t love this book I’m pretty sure I won’t like it at all.

  6. If it is anything like Little Children (gripping but not necessarily something that makes you feel good about humanity!) it would probably be worth my time. He does make you work for it though. I saw that Overdrive had this one, so I may get in line for it.

  7. I have long liked Perotta’s writing, and have been so curious about this book! I think that it sounds like a very original story, though I am sad to hear that it starts off slow. This is a book that I will be reading for sure…sometime!

  8. Thanks for the giveaway and the honest review. I have been looking forward to this one.

  9. After reading this article, I have to buy the book and read beyond page 225;-)

  10. The cover makes me think that the guy just had really stinky feet.

  11. The plot description wouldn’t normally grab me, but I’m intrigued by your description of how it held your attention at the end.

  12. I like Perotta’s writing and don’t mind investing time and attention ina book that’s worth it in the end…or hopefully is! Although I tend to have issues when all or most of the characters in a book aren’t likable, I find religious cults and their adherents endlessly fascinating. I was already curious about this book and your review has made me even more so!

  13. It scares me that it took you so long to get into this book, but despite that I really want to read it!

    • It did take me a while to feel anything for the characters, but the premise is what kept me reading. I had to find out what happened.

  14. I’m extremely curious about the ending now!

    When I went to enter the giveaway, I hit enter too soon, so my first entry isn’t complete. Please delete it.

  15. Oh, wow, quite a review — I do know that feeling, of having problems with a novel and yet, liking it in the end. I’ve not read any Perrotta before but I’m kind of curious about this one!

  16. I just finished this one last week and really really liked it! I’m a big Perrotta fan to begin with so I was sooooo curious how he would tackle a subject like “The Rapture.” He managed to make it almost “ordinary” by focusing on those left behind and how they have to get on with life … despite the extraordinary thing that happened. I just love the detail in Perrotta’s writing … I feel like he is living in my neighborhood and observing life around me. I think he has such a good sense of suburban life. I’ll have to work on my review. I’m glad you came around and liked it in the end.

  17. Kudos to you for continuing to read for so long before getting “hooked.” I passed on this one and am glad I did. Thanks for an honest review.

  18. Sweet cover (I’m just sayin’). Though after reading Jill’s comment — it takes a little of my initial reaction away, haha!

  19. The fact that you had to read over 200 pages before you got to the point where it all came together for you and you ended up liking the book, is the very reason I can never put a book down. There are just some books that, once that get to that tight-it-all-together-point just make it all so worth it.

  20. The more I hear about this book, the more I want to read it. It sounds strange, and I like strange! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  21. [...] you’d like to know a little bit about the book, check out my review here but be sure to use the link below to [...]

  22. [...] Puchner 47. Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman 48. Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami 49. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta 50. Caribou Island by David Vann 51. Child Wonder by Roy Jacobsen 52. On [...]

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