Book Review: Election


Tom Perrotta

Berkley Trade

208 pages

It’s 1992 and we’re transported to a New Jersey high school where the election for school president is underway.  Initially, the title was automatically going to Tracy Flick.  Tracy is your typical brown noser and no one has bothered running against her.  That is, until popular teacher Jim McAllister recommends that star football player Paul Warren run as well.  Suddenyl everything is in upheaval, especially once Paul’s emo younger sister Tammy decides to run too.

Election may sound pretty straight forward, especially considering it is barely 200 pages, but there is a lot of subplot going on as well.  Mr M is having marital issues, mainly due to infertility issues with his wife.  Because his marriage is rocky, Mr M begins to wonder if he needs to look elsewhere to satisfy himself.  You also have a love triangle going on between Paul, Tammy and one of their peers, Lisa. Throw all that in along with Tracy’s overwhelming tenacity and this short novel packs quite a punch.

I have only read one other book of Perrotta’s, The Abstinence Teacher, so I have been desperate to read some of his other books.  The reason I chose Election over any of his other novels is because I was sick in bed and needed something that could hold my attention and that I wouldn’t need to invest too much concentration in.  This book fit the bill to a T.  I read it in one sitting and absolutely adored it.  The satirical element, which can be hard to execute sometimes, hit the perfect note and I found myself chuckling along as I read.

I know the movie adaption, starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, was pretty popular when it came out over a decade ago.  I have to admit, I never saw the movie, although now that I have read the book I am definitely interested in watching it!

If you’re looking for a quick, engaging read, this one is the perfect choice.  I think it would be an ideal book to read for the readathon!

Other Reviews:

Life . . . with Books

I purchased this book from Half Priced Books.


13 Responses

  1. This sounds cool. I love having a stack of easy, compelling reads on hand for low days. This sounds like it should join them!

  2. I have wanted to read this one for some time now, and I think that your very introspective review has finally convinced me that I should pick this one up when I can. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today. It was a great review!

  3. I have seen the film adaptation of this novel and I know that most people love it… but I only thought it was ok. I think satire is a difficult thing to do right and I guess I didn’t feel like the film nailed it, but then again, maybe I just wasn’t in the right place when I first watched it. I’d be curious to try the book, but first I will try Little Children and see how that goes!

  4. I haven’t heard of this one before. It sounds like a book I would enjoy. Great review.

  5. I’ve honestly avoided this book and other of Perrotta’s earlier novels because I worried they wouldn’t be as weighty or good as the later ones, but it sounds like this one might be fun to try out.

  6. Right, there is nothing simplistic about Perotta! I had no idea though that it was such a short book. Sounds like it would be perfect for a readathon.

  7. I’ve been wanting to read Perrotta… this sounds good!

  8. I’d never heard of the book OR the movie. How have I managed to miss Perotta all these years??

  9. I remember the movie, vaguely, but didn’t know it was a book!

  10. The movie was pretty good … in fact, I think I liked the movie better than the book, which almost never happens. If you want more Perrotta, I’d highly recommend Little Childen and The Leftovers. Both are excellent … but Little Children is probably his best (of what I’ve read so far).

  11. I read this one earlier this year and didn’t love it. It felt a little flat, I guess, but maybe I was comparing it too the movie too much in my head.

  12. Stephanie, I SO SO SO SO SO need to read Perrotta. I have the Abstinence Teacher AND Little Children on my shelves. I loved the Little Children movie, so I’m sure the book is a zillion times better. I used to have Joe College, too, but I’m not sure I still do.

  13. I’m another one that is shocked it is only 200 or so pages! I’m moving it up the list right now. Gotta get me some Perrotta.

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