The Leftovers

Registered by Karenlea of Glendale, California USA on 10/4/2011
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Journal Entry 1 by Karenlea from Glendale, California USA on Tuesday, October 04, 2011
I have been eagerly anticipating Tom Perrota’s latest novel, “The Leftovers” for the last couple of years. If I could have only picked on book to read this year, this would have been it. He is one of my favorite authors and although this might not go down as my favorite Perrota novel, it still rates five stars in my book. Perrota is just a fantastic writer and all of his books are a treasure.

Perrota writes fearlessly about aspects of human nature that most people are uncomfortable admitting. This story is about the people left behind on earth after the rapture (or rapture like event that is never actually defined). The characters all deal with the event in unique ways, but have a common thread of all having a solitary experience. The realization being that human life is really a solo adventure, as you never know when people might come and go. People only pass through the lives of others as they are living their own lives. I think this is a point that doesn’t really resonate with people until they experience a great loss, much like the characters in this story.

Along the same lines, none of the characters are victims, they are all very much in control of their own choices. I love how Perrota writes characters with deep flaws, but they are never the victims of their circumstances, they are characters who make their own choices. Perrota writes with a detached quality that lets the reader create their own impressions, rather than telling us what to think about a character. This aspect of his writing is what I admire the most. He is able to let go and trust that the reader will “get it.”

I felt like the most poignant moment in the story was Nora’s letter to Kevin, when she finally explains her Rapture experience. It was an example of how sometimes things that seem so mundane actually become the most important turning point in your life. Also, how loss/grief/transitions are not all experienced in the same way and often times it can propel people into the next phase of their life. Change is often scary, but not always a negative thing.

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