Little Children, by Tom Perrotta

When you read Tom Perrotta’s novel Little Children you enter an unexpectedly gritty suburbia, where the pecking order of housewives (and househusbands) is revealed, where broken-hearted ex-jocks pummel each other on a football field, where you fall in love with someone utterly unexpected (a former feminist lesbian with a beautiful jock–an underwear-sniffing business man with an online purveyor of porn), and where your next door neighbor might just happen to be a convicted sex offender.

Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Who are the adults and who are the children? All is remarkably unclear, as the lines between the good/bad and adult/child are blurred and merged and eventually end with a big group hug and the knowledge that the world is not so black and white, and there aren’t many love stories that end happily:

After all, what was adult life but one moment of weakness piled on top of another? Most people just fell in line like obedient little children, doing exactly what society expected of them at any given moment, all the while pretending that they’d actually made some sort of choice.

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