Wednesday 2 November 2011

Devouring Books: Election by Tom Perrotta

This review is probably going to be quite short, because I read Election in the midst of readathon FRENZY, which means that I can't remember masses about it (just wait til we get to my review of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake which I basically sleep-read. That'll be fun!) I also might get it confused with the film on occasion, but they really are pretty similar so I guess that's ok. So I'll just get on with it, shall I?

Election is a fun, easy read, (I read it in about 2 hours) probably because the sections are tiny, and it's really clear whose perspective each part is from because the sections are handily labelled as such (although this isn't really that necessary, because it's pretty clear anyway). Hands up who thinks I could have said that more succinctly? Anyway, the story centres around the school election (something which, I might add, we don't actually have in England) for student president, and it coincides with the 1992 Presidential Election, and allows the school it's set in to see democracy in action etc etc. Running for the highly unimportant role of president are Tracy Flick, an academic overachiever who just had an affair with her English teacher which led to his getting fired, as well as having no friends to speak of. Against her, masterminded by Mr M (the government or whatever that lesson that we also don't have in England is called teacher, whose best friend is the teacher who just got fired because of Tracy) runs Paul Warren, a nice guy who Tracy considers real competition. Then, against Paul, as retaliation for stealing the woman she loves, runs Tammy, his sister, and the candidate that I would so be most likely to vote for.

I find Tammy by far the most interesting character in the book. She's a lesbian who's perfectly comfortable with that fact, but she's unfortunately fallen in love with a girl, Lisa, who is far less comfortable with her feelings for Tammy, and so does the obvious and goes and has sex with Tammy's brother. I mean, how cold can you get?! But Tammy is seriously awesome- apart from the times she's going 'oh poor me no one loves me I'm going to die alone, no one's ever been as sad as me' etc, she's running for President on the platform that it doesn't at all matter who you vote for, because the winner's not going to be able to change anything anyway. And I'm just all 'Hell yes Tammy! You tell them, and then you go get the girl!' Which isn't exactly what happens, but then Tammy expects too much from her teenage years anyway.

Tammy isn't the only interesting character (in fact, all those who get actual viewpointy sections are pretty interesting) and I also enjoy seeing the vulnerable core within Tracy, as well as the hypocrisy present in Mr M's views about stuff- mainly, adultery. Election, basically, has convinced me further that I'm a bit of a Perrotta fan (although I can't really remember how to spell his name) and I have to once again thank the shallowness of wanting to see Patrick Wilson's naked body that led me to the revelation that was Little Children (although I actually saw Election even before that, I just didn't realise it was a book and so didn't seek it out). So basically, good work Tom. And of course good work Patrick Wilson, who should really always be naked.


  1. "I have to once again thank the shallowness of wanting to see Patrick Wilson's naked body that led me to the revelation that was Little Children"

    That gave me a good laugh! I haven't read any Perrotta, but I think you've convinced me to pick one up. I've heard great things about his newest one as well. I think I'll most likely start with Little Children.

    Interesting that England doesn't do student government. It starts in the US in elementary school (primary school). I'm not really convinced the student government really does much though.

  2. I bought this one recently and I have only read one Perrotta book so far, so I hope to get to this one soon!

  3. Yeah, I'm a Perrotta fan, too. Loved Little Children and The Leftovers. And I watched Election but I never did read that one. I've got The Abstinence Teacher sitting on a shelf somewhere, so maybe I need to dig that out!

  4. @Kristi- Little Children is gooood- I think I liked it better than Election, but only just :).

    @Lola- Do it! I really enjoyed.

    @Crowe- Honestly, if you've seen the film of Election, you don't reeally need to read the book- they're really pretty similar. I really want to read The Leftovers, I'm just waiting for it to come out in paperback because I'm poor hehe.