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Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!
Little Children: A Novel - Tom Perrotta

Last year when I reviewed Tom Perrotta’s NINE INCHES, I couldn’t quite place why he’s one of my favorite authors. I think I get it now. His characters are beautiful in their flaws. None of them are perfect; all of them are unique. They are beautiful—just like each one of us.


Other reviewers credit Perrotta as a satirist, a humorist, but it’s more than that. When I first saw the movie LITTLE CHILDREN, I was instantly drawn into the opening playground scene: the “perfect” mothers gathering at the playground with their perfect children; the odd mother out, spilling her diaper bag while her daughter throws a tantrum. Awkward. Painful. Real.


What the movie may have not pointed out (I forget by now) that the novel eventually exposes is that no one—not even the well-manicured, well-read, well-funded mother—is perfect. There’s always something there. Perrotta crafts the perfectly flawed characters, makes them all totally different, and then throws them together.


Here: the gorgeous father who can’t pass the bar exam; the cop no longer on the force due to shooting a kid; the mother who doesn’t fit in, whose husband has strange habits; the sex offender seeking normalcy.  Each character is driven by their personal agendas, their desire to be apart, and each held back by that one, realistic thing that could haunt any one of us.


Perrotta’s neighborhood sure feels like my own. Chances are, it feels like yours, too.