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by Tom Perrotta
ISBN 0425167283 / 9780425167281 / 0-425-16728-3
Publisher Berkley Trade
› Find signed collectible books: 'Election'
Tom Perrotta is a remarkably astute observer and writer of the adolescent experience. His Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies is a delightful collection of coming-of-age stories, which give insight into the joys and agonies of adolescence. In Perrotta's first full-length novel The Wishbones, a 31-year-old musician can't quite cope with the responsibilities of adulthood and instead lives an extended adolescence. Perrotta's much-anticipated second novel Election again successfully ventures into the adolescent psyche.
The book is set in a New Jersey high school amidst a hotbed of political activity: students are voting for their school president. Perrotta's cast of characters are exaggerated but convincing. They convey adolescence as it often is--sometimes painful and frequently awkward. Tracy is the popular girl, smart and pretty, but she isn't quite as perfect as her classmates assume. A sordid affair with a teacher lurks in the shadows. Paul is the jovial football jock, but his parent's divorce has left him hurt and vulnerable. Then there is Paul's younger and geekier sister Tammy, the tormented underdog struggling with her sexuality. Plot develops through a series of mini-chapters, narrated by the main protagonists. There are also frequent interjections from Mr. M, the all-around good teacher every kid loves--the kind of teacher Hollywood loves to enshrine in sentimental flicks. A genuine crescendo of excitement and anticipation consumes the reader, as we eagerly await who has won the election. This is a novel of teenagers on the brink of adulthood, and is probably best appreciated by grownups with enough perspective on their own adolescent experiences to be able to take the bitter with the sweet. [via]