This is my first Tom Perrotta novel so I can’t compare this book with his previous works but what I can do is share my experience with Mrs. Fletcher. This isn’t a perfect book but it is ambitious and it fails in certain aspects.
Mrs. Fletcher follows Eve Fletcher a forty-six year old woman who is divorced and has just sent her only son to college. She works at a Senior Center and works with a lot of people but besides her degree in Social Work she decides to go back to school and take up a class at a community college called Gender and Society in order to change her views. It is here that she meets her classmates and becomes close to some of them as well as learning new things about gender and society. Having sent her son Brendan to college she is now all alone and tries to fill that void by watching some adult videos – specifically ones tagged with MILF – and soon becomes addicted to them. This addiction takes grasp into her reality and she begins questioning her own sexuality as well as her outlook on real-life relationships.
Our Mrs. Fletcher isn’t the only narrator to this story because the author includes her son as well. Brendan is a jock and he’s always had it easy with grades because of that reason but now he comes to a whole new world where things aren’t as simple as in high school. His expectations of college quickly change when he starts struggling with his classes and failing them but that’s not all because how he views sex also makes him an outcast in this academic community.
Will Eve and Brendan Fletcher be able to overcome their struggles and rise up to them or will life take them on a different path?
At the beginning of this review I said that Mrs. Fletcher is an ambitious novel and that’s true because the author tries to include many themes in today’s society but it just didn’t feel thoroughly executed. On the blurb we are promised two narratives but that changes as the story unfolds and introduces us to other narrators who I felt were unnecessary to the story even though there were some who I genuinely liked hearing from. I actually enjoyed reading this novel and definitely didn’t like most of the characters but the story wasn’t bad – I mean yes, it was weird and at times awkward reading about Eve [especially the part where she hears her son moaning] – I would call this book entertainment fiction. The themes of sexuality, autism, gender weren’t that much explored in this novel and this is the reason why I call it an ambitious novel. I’ll be looking out for Perrotta’s future works to see if he gets better at exploring these subjects.
Would I recommend reading this book? I mean if you are looking for a light and entertaining read then I would say yes but in case you prefer your fiction to be more thought-provoking then it’s a pass.
I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher (Scribner) for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.
**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.
Tom Perrotta is the author of several works of fiction: Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Election, and the New York Times bestselling Joe College and Little Children. Election was made into the acclaimed 1999 movie directed by Alexander Payne and starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Little Children was released as a movie directed by Todd Field and starring Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly in 2006, and for which Perrotta received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for best screenplay. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.