Title: Mrs. Fletcher
Author: Tom Perrotta
Publication Date: August 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence. Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.
Mrs. Fletcher is a story so far out of my reading comfort zone, and I think it was just a bit too much for me to really enjoy it. I found this a bit disappointing because there are many interesting explorations of topics such as gender, adulthood, selfhood, and sexuality. But this is a very sexy book, to the point where it really takes away from these fascinating themes. This book was a bit of a flop for me.
Eve is exploring a new phase in her life as she becomes an empty nester. She’s an incredibly interesting character. As she attends a weekly Gender and Society class, she begins to explore and question her own sexuality, trying to discover who she is in this new role. Her story is the more fascinating of the two. I think Eve really faces some big struggles and some large life changes that she’s trying to make sense of. She’s not sure who she is when she isn’t a mother.
On the other hand, her son Brandon is a chauvinistic jerk. He experiences very little growth. He’s rude to women, self centre, judgmental, unforgiving. He’s hurtful and has no redeeming qualities. I didn’t find his part of the story enjoyable or relatable at all. He’s gross and his story isn’t funny or endearing in the end. He’s a complete mess.
I think this is a book that people will either love or hate. I don’t think there is any in between. I didn’t really get the humour of this book. It thought it had a lot of emotion behind it and there were a lot of intelligent themes, but it fell flat for me. Not into it.