Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel (Hardcover)
August 2017 Indie Next List
“With son Brendan off to college at Berkshire State and ex-husband Ted remarried, Eve Fletcher is feeling a bit unfulfilled, despite her sometimes-trying job as the director of a senior center - until she finds a new and decidedly adult pastime. Neither mother nor son knows what to make of their new lives, and all they know about relationships, to say nothing of sex, seems to be up for discussion. What I love about Tom Perrotta's books is how uncomfortable they can make me feel, while at the same time making me laugh hysterically; Mrs. Fletcher shows Mr. Perrotta in top form on both counts.”
— Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
New York Times bestseller!
From the bestselling author of The Leftovers and Little Children comes a penetrating and hilarious new novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America’s culture wars.
Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.
Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.
Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.
About the Author
Tom Perrotta is the bestselling author of eight works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into critically acclaimed movies, and The Leftovers, which was adapted into an HBO series. He lives outside Boston.
PRAISE FOR MRS. FLETCHER:
""Mrs. Fletcher," Perrotta’s seventh novel and first since 2011’s "The Leftovers," operates and succeeds in ways that will be pleasingly familiar to his admirers. It uses a fecund premise, a large cast of recognizable characters, a rotating point of view, a propulsive plot, a humane vision and clean, non-ostentatious ... prose to explore a fraught cultural topic. There be dragons, yes, but decency mitigates the danger. “Mrs. Fletcher” is the sweetest and most charming novel about pornography addiction and the harrowing issues of sexual consent that you will probably ever read."
—The New York Times Book Review
"[Perrotta] explores the redefining of American sex lives by technology. . . . Mrs. Fletcher is a wry, compassionate novel about the ramifications of porn filtering so effortlessly into mainstream culture, without hysteria or accusations. Perrotta [is] well-versed in capturing the manifold follies and fetishes of human behavior. . . . One of the sharpest elements of Mrs. Fletcher is how Perrotta presents two opposing forces colliding on campus: porn culture and PC culture."
"At times morbidly funny and, at others, grim, “Mrs. Fletcher” signals a return to familiar territory for Mr. Perrotta — sex, school and suburbia ... While “Mrs. Fletcher” may sound, from a plot summary, like an R-rated comedy or the outline for a raunchy Judd Apatow movie, it is more melancholy than many of his earlier books. Sex and pornography often serve as shorthand for characters’ loneliness and their search for self-worth."
—The New York Times
"Light, zingy, and laugh-out-loud funny."
"Satisfying, wise and deeply appealing, flying by in a day or two of nonstop immersion, and in Eve's character it has true insight into the strangeness of all those anonymous American suburbs — the simultaneous comfort and loneliness of a generic place, a common life."
—The Chicago Tribune
"Sublimely funny ... in this shimmeringly satisfying novel, Perrotta uses the sense of loneliness like a propeller, raising these characters into glorious flight if they can just let themselves trust they have wings."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"Raunchy, hilarious, and unexpectedly sweet ... [Perrotta's] latest might just be his best — it's a stunning and audacious book, and Perrotta never lets his characters take the easy way out. Uncompromisingly obscene but somehow still kind-hearted, Mrs. Fletcher is one for the ages."
"The sinews of Perrotta’s fiction, rather, are the tensions within and between characters, tensions that he steadily and artfully amplifies until the reader becomes possessed by curiosity about how they’ll be resolved ... "Mrs. Fletcher" is lit up by flashes of acute observation."
—The New Yorker
"[A] fantastic tease ... [Perrotta] knows how to capture the hilarious contradictions of teenagers."
—The Washington Post
"Perrotta has been called the “Steinbeck of suburbia” and an “American Chekhov,” but with Mrs. Fletcher, he’s become the Jane Austen of 21st century sexual mores ... [Mrs. Fletcher is] a delicious, tragicomic and finally forgiving take on the mistakes we modern people can’t seem to stop making. Mrs. Fletcher is a delight."
"Sublimely funny ... shimmeringly satisfying ... Perrotta is astute about complex social problems, including how well a mother and grown son can understand one another, what it means to be transgender and lonely, what our sexual mores really mean, and how anyone different — whether autistic or sexually fluid — can find a comfortable place in a confusing world."
—San Antonio Express-News
"Mrs. Fletcher is an intelligent novel that weaves together all the old issues about relationships along with contemporary issues of identity ... Perrotta expertly explores sexual identity, gender, pornography, and sex. This is a novel about overcoming ignorance. It urges readers to take advantage of opportunities for self-analysis and enlightenment. We must listen to each other’s stories."
—Los Angeles Review of Books
"Perrotta’s eye for contemporary mores and social details remains razor-sharp ... More spot-on satire with heart and soul from a uniquely gifted writer."
“From the thrill of learning of its existence, to the feverish turning of pages, to the contemplative afterglow that comes from having finished: there’s nothing like a new Tom Perrotta novel. Mrs. Fletcher is all you dream it will be: hilarious, provocative (a little too), relatable, and every moment a joy ride.”
—Maria Semple, bestselling author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Today Will Be Different
“Tom Perrotta has always been a smart, fearless writer, a wet-your-pants-funny satirist who will in the very next sentence ambush you with genuine emotion. Buckle your seat belt and surrender your dignity, because Mrs. Fletcher is a romp.”
—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Empire Falls
PRAISE FOR TOM PERROTTA:
“Tom Perrotta is a truth-telling, unshowy chronicler of modern-day America."
—New York Times Book Review
"Tom Perrotta writes with a satirist's ear and the heart of a romantic."
"Perrotta is that rare combination: a satirist with heart…Those who haven't curled up on the couch with this writer's books are missing a very great pleasure."
“He's the Steinbeck of suburbia.”
"Our Balzac of the burbs."
—Chicago Sun Times
"An American Chekov."
—New York Times Book Review
"...Prose so affable that the pages keep turning without hesitation. With Perrotta at the controls, you buy the set-up and sit back as he takes off.”
—Chicago Sun Times
"Tom Perrotta has to be considered one of our true genius satirists."
—Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River
"Perrotta [is] funny and deeply touching... A writer who's here for the long haul."