Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

"There's so much to read, but all I do is end up watching Netflix and play Candy Crush. I feel like I'm wasting my life."

Tom Perrotta has become well known for his comedic and insightful depictions of modern suburbia. I was intrigued by the timeless themes of his novel The Abstinence Teacher. While I felt the novel suffered a bit from being so rooted in the the time period it was written, there was no denying Perrotta's innate ability to depict the intricacies and moral conflicts of everyday life. Naturally, I was eager to read his latest novel Mrs. Fletcher, and Perrotta did not disappoint.

Eve Fletcher is at a crossroads in her life. Her husband left her for another woman over ten years ago, and now her only child Brendan is heading off to college. In a flash, Eve is left home alone with only her job as the director of a senior center and worries about her son to occupy her time. She has a choice on her hands. Eve can either wallow in her own self pity or make an attempt to form a more meaningful life. Fortunately for us, Eve chooses the latter. She enrolls in a continuing education class at the local community college. The course is taught by a transgender professor who seeks to challenge traditional definitions of gender and gender roles in society.

One night, Eve receives an anonymous text that reads, "You are my MILF!" Shocked at first, Eve pays little mind to the crude message. But she can't stop thinking about it. She's in her late forties and looks pretty good for her age. While her sex life has been essentially non-existent since her divorce, she sees no reason why she wouldn't be desirable to someone. Curious, she does an online search and is quickly thrust into the world of online pornography. She can't stop watching it! Empowered by a new found sexual confidence and eager to explore her deepest desires,  Eve sets out to reclaim her life and carve out a new path for herself.

While Eve is off finding herself, her son Brendan faces his new life as a college student. His roommate is pretty cool and there seems to be a plethora of booze and girls for his choosing. But all that glitters may not be gold. His classes are tough and he is struggling to make genuine connections with his peers. Then a beautiful feminist student comes along and rocks his world. He's immediately drawn to her, but his chauvinistic views on women and sex may prevent him from forming any meaningful relationship. This portion of the novel is even more timely when considering all of the stories of sexual misconduct that are currently filling the news.

Mrs. Fletcher is a stunning portrait of sex and enlightenment in the modern American suburbia.  As chapters alternate between Eve and Brendan, Perrotta brilliantly crafts a narrative of multigenerational self-discovery. He doesn't hold back in his descriptions of the sexual situations that the characters encounter, but the novel is never crude for crudeness's sake. While Brendan is the product of a generation desensitized to the complexities of sex, Eve suffers from the opposite. She is finding empowerment in the discovery of different sexual possibilities. Beyond the obvious themes, Perrotta also explores the inevitability of aging, the precariousness of a work/life balance, and the power of diversity. As humorous as it is insightful, Mrs. Fletcher is a enthralling novel that is easily one of my favorites this year.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2017, 47)

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4 Responses to “Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta”

  1. Wonderful review, I think I would enjoy this Ethan. I laughed about Netflix and Candy Crush. While my husband is the CC addict, we have been watching an awful lot of Netflix. Stranger Things is my new fav. Have a lovely weekend.

  2. I'm addicted to both lol. I'm really enjoying Stranger Things and Mindhunter. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Glad you liked this one. I've only read on book by him: The Leftovers, and it was fascinating. Absolutely enthralling. I believe they even made it into a mini-series but I haven't watched it yet. Hmm - I might have to go binge!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

    1. I've heard so many good things about that one! It definitely sounds very different from all of his other books.


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