Customer Reviews for

The Leftovers

Average Rating 3.5
( 198 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Incredible

This is one incredible book. If you've not preordered your copy, I seriously urge to do so.
The plot is so bizarre and yet remains believable because it deals with its very human aftermath, the way that people deal with being left behind. While in the case of this set...
This is one incredible book. If you've not preordered your copy, I seriously urge to do so.
The plot is so bizarre and yet remains believable because it deals with its very human aftermath, the way that people deal with being left behind. While in the case of this set of characters it's because of an "act of God", their reactions are as familiar to us any of us who's ever lost a loved one in any way. The way the book is structured, with many different viewpoints is complex and yet wholly satisfying, as we learn about situations between a couple, for example, from both sides. The plot is fast-paced, although it is literary fiction, so don't expect action stunts. I never found myself anywhere near bored.
The characters themselves are fabulous. Well developed and carrying their own emotional baggage, they overspill from the pages. Not all of them are lovable at all times, as people are not in real life, but we do get to understand them, and even cheer for them when they accomplish something unexpected. They make the story what it is, not the plot itself.
I can't recommend it highly enough, this is one book to which you have to treat yourself in the fall.

posted by Valca85 on August 17, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

46 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

Perrotta's decision to skim over the Rapture itself is a risky one, but in the end, it works.

The story is simple. In a Rapture-like event, several of the inhabitants of Mapleton disappear. Without any warning, while doing everyday things, they just.vanish. The story begins a few years later. The folks that were left behind have picked up their routines again, b...
The story is simple. In a Rapture-like event, several of the inhabitants of Mapleton disappear. Without any warning, while doing everyday things, they just.vanish. The story begins a few years later. The folks that were left behind have picked up their routines again, but they are not the same people they were before the event and they constantly ask the same question over and over again. Why? They're alive, but do they want to be?

I have to tell you, it took me well over 100 pages to get into this story. I'd say, at around page 225, I started to get into it. Why did it take me so long? Well, the story is told by several different characters, and although it was never confusing to me, I found it hard to relate to them initially. They weren't all that likable. There is a weird religious cult which I really did not get, a fanatical preacher-type guy who takes on many wives, etc.

Plus, the decision to begin the story three years after the event took some acceptance on my part. I felt as if I missed out on something, which may have been Perrotta's point. These characters walk around in a trance, going through the motions, yet they aren't happy. At one point I asked myself, will these characters ever be happy? Those who know me personally, know that I do not need happy characters in a story. In fact, I am a big lover of dysfunction in literature but even I wanted them to be a little bit happy.

That's why this next sentence will surprise you.

Strangely, I found myself liking the book quite a bit. The last few pages were very satisfying (to me) and all the little quibbles I had with it, didn't seem to matter anymore. I guess you could say that I lost myself in the ending. I think I traveled to three different rooms in my house just to ensure an uninterrupted finish and Perrotta did not disappoint!

Overall, a pretty good read if you're willing to invest a little bit of time.

posted by TiBookChatter on August 24, 2011

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Perrotta's decision to skim over the Rapture itself is a risky one, but in the end, it works.

    The story is simple. In a Rapture-like event, several of the inhabitants of Mapleton disappear. Without any warning, while doing everyday things, they just.vanish. The story begins a few years later. The folks that were left behind have picked up their routines again, but they are not the same people they were before the event and they constantly ask the same question over and over again. Why? They're alive, but do they want to be?

    I have to tell you, it took me well over 100 pages to get into this story. I'd say, at around page 225, I started to get into it. Why did it take me so long? Well, the story is told by several different characters, and although it was never confusing to me, I found it hard to relate to them initially. They weren't all that likable. There is a weird religious cult which I really did not get, a fanatical preacher-type guy who takes on many wives, etc.

    Plus, the decision to begin the story three years after the event took some acceptance on my part. I felt as if I missed out on something, which may have been Perrotta's point. These characters walk around in a trance, going through the motions, yet they aren't happy. At one point I asked myself, will these characters ever be happy? Those who know me personally, know that I do not need happy characters in a story. In fact, I am a big lover of dysfunction in literature but even I wanted them to be a little bit happy.

    That's why this next sentence will surprise you.

    Strangely, I found myself liking the book quite a bit. The last few pages were very satisfying (to me) and all the little quibbles I had with it, didn't seem to matter anymore. I guess you could say that I lost myself in the ending. I think I traveled to three different rooms in my house just to ensure an uninterrupted finish and Perrotta did not disappoint!

    Overall, a pretty good read if you're willing to invest a little bit of time.

    46 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2011

    Love Perrotta...but this is not his greatest.

    He does really well writing about relationships and how people interact with eachother. He set this 3 years after the rapture occured and how a small town deals with loss and change. I just kept waiting for something to happen and then I realize I'm at the end of the book and this is it. I actually think this was slightly worse then The Abstinence Teacher because there was too many plotholes and lose ends. What happened to everyone? Not one character narrative was concluded. The story just literally droped off. Like this review-

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Hmmmmm.

    Tom Perrotta is very good at developing characters you can fully imagine, and get to know. I was very excited to read this, and expected it to be much more creepy that it was (my mistake). The world is normal, and then one day, folks just vanish - disappear. I love his take on the whole Rapture thing, and the reactions that society had reference the seemingly random choosing of people to disappear was brilliant. Working with, around, and sometimes against the religious theme, Perrotta delved into the stories of those left behind. Some joined cults (where smoking was mandatory), some became the Barefoot people (no shoes, please), and some just tried to live as normally as they did before the disappearance. I think I was a bit disappointed in the ending, because I had it figured out pretty early on. However, I would say the rest of the novel was not bad, and I did enjoy some of the characters. I think on the whole, I was expecting a bit more. Good premise though!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Easy read

    The book gives interesting ideas of what could be, but tends to be choppy middle to end. There were a couple of surprises, it held my interest about half way then I began to rush the read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    recommend if you enjoy thinking

    When I finished this book, my only disappointment was that I did not know more about what happened to the characters further in the future. Perhaps the author will do a sequel?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    Ok but disappointing

    Intrigued by the subject but not quite as engaging as i had hoped.



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2014

    I really enjoy this author he has the nuance for suburban lives

    I really enjoy this author he has the nuance for suburban lives down, but this book left me oddly empty, and I'm not sure why. Everyone is empty and lacking. so difficult to really care about the individuals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2013

    A little slow to start, but otherwise great! Interesting read an

    A little slow to start, but otherwise great! Interesting read and great description of the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Great start, disappointingly predictable ending

    I was expecting a much better ending. The book did a great job keeping the reader engaged in the lives of all its main characters but fell flat with the ending. I was hoping for some more information regarding the rapture, like a better explanation as to why only some were chosen and others were left. I would love to see a follow up...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Kind of a disappointment---from all the hype, I expected more.

    Interesting characters and plot but the author didn't take them far enough. Seems like the book just stopped. I wanted more resolution and character development. As a grieving mother, my daughter died at 14 years old, I thought he often captured the grief that goes with losing a child. But other times, it was a bit "off". I found it hard to believe that a mother would leave her child to join a religious cult when she's already lost so much. Then again, people grieve in different ways. Sometimes it wasn't at all clear why a person would do what they did...motives weren't always clear. I had expected so much more. Maybe there will be a continuation of the characters and plot? He leaves the reader hanging even though I believe that the book wasn't about plot so much as about character.

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  • Posted April 21, 2012

    Not recommended

    The book starts off with a bang and the writing isn't bad, but half-way through I found myself not caring about any one of the dozen characters whose lives we were weaving in and out of. In the end, I'm not sure if the metaphor of a "rapture" worked. It seems like the rapture is supposed to be a metaphor for death--what happens when our loved ones explicably leave us but the metaphor didn't go anywhere. Many of the characters didn't have a purpose--maybe this was the point, but it made the book a meandering narrative that I lost interest in. The end is a win for one character, as far as I can see, but it didn't offer the explanation of the unrealistic opening that I needed as a reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    Good take on the Rapture

    Aside from some stilted language and awkward descriptions, this is a solid book. After hearing about it on NPR's Fresh Air I checked it out.

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  • Posted January 6, 2012

    A recommended,enjoyable read

    This was an interesting concept for a book. Now I need to read something else by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Tortured people

    About how well we recover from tragedy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    Barely Recommend

    This book sounded interesting but the plot turned out to be predictable and the characters were so thin I didn't really end up caring much about what happened to them. I kind of had to force myself to finish it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2011

    Unnerving!

    Very strange story!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Leftovers

    This book is the story of the residents of Mapleton three years after a Rapture-type event happens and some of its inhabitants disappear. This is not a religious book, but a look into the lives of several people and how they changed and cope because of "The Sudden Departure". Told in various characters' point of view, I found the story to be interesting and thought-provoking, but not quite fulfilling.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An intriguing tale of a town instantaneously altered into another dimension.

    The Leftovers is quite a unique book and totally fiction. Or is it? Although, some of what would happen if a number of people would just disappear off the face of the Earth all at once, is totally logical, some we can never know. Planes would crash, accidents on our roadways would be instant, empty seats in the classrooms and so forth. But what exactly would happen emotionally, to those left behind, after such a tragedy? Perrotta has taken this situation and brought it to life in "The Leftovers." By focusing on a few families in the community of Mapleton, one of which includes the family of the mayor, Kevin Garvey. Perrotta begins the story after the vanishing. Although it has been almost a year, wounds are still fresh for many in this small community. Others have gone back to their daily routines, including married men and women dating as if nothing had happened to their spouse. Their disapproval of this being one main reason why the Guilty Remnant has come into being. The Guilty Remnant is a cult that has recruited many since the vanishing occurred, and Laurie the mayors wife, is now one of their followers. Laurie seems to have regrets for leaving her family behind, yet she is not intending on going back, even though she is free to return anytime. In the meantime Kevin tries to lead a life that is as normal as possible, even if that means returning to the dating scene, now that his wife has deserted him. While Jill, the daughter of the mayor longs for her mother, she continues with school and hanging out with her regular group of friends. But since the vanishing her friend Amie has taken up residency in her home. Why not, they have the room now, with her mother in the cult and her brother Tom off in another direction. Tom finds he is not being able to emotionally return to his normal college routine, and decides to follow a prophet called Holy Wayne. There, Tom soon learns Wayne isn't as holy as he first thought him to be. Other characters join the mix, including Nora, the only person in the community who has lost her entire family to the vanishing. Nora finds out, after the vanishing, that her husband wasn't as dedicated to their marriage as she thought. While a former priest and member of the community decides he has the right to air the dirty laundry of those who have vanished. It took me a little while to get into this tale, maybe because it seems like such a far fetched story. I have heard of the Rapture and have read about how many Christians believe it will come to pass in this lifetime. However in The Leftovers, some of those who vanished came from all sorts of backgrounds, some where cheating husbands, others didn't believe in God, causing those left behind to question the reasons why this had happened, while trying to make sense out of it. As a reader I tried to figure out myself why those taken might have been taken, even though this is fiction it is quite thought provoking. This story reminded me of the Twilight Zone TV series or something Steven King would write. Certainly entertainment from another dimension and time, maybe even our future.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    Different

    I really enjoyed this book. Fascinating perspective on what happens after the rapture.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    End left me cold

    But it was an interesting premise.

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