Book Review: Mrs. Fletcher

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta Book ReviewTitle: Mrs. Fletcher
Author: Tom Perrotta
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Scribner: 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. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” 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—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. 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.

My Review: Thank you to Scribner and Netgalley for providing me this free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I adored Mrs. Fletcher. It’s a literary, coming-of-age story journeying thru personal growth, respect and acceptance. The topics explored cut to the emotional quick as most readers will be familiar in some way. But they are presented in a light manner which keeps the story upbeat. Tom Perrotta’s well-defined characters, engaging narrative and thought provoking subject matter really took this story to another level. Written from both Eve and Brendan’s perspectives, I felt like Perrotta nailed it perfectly coming from both angles.

Eve Fletcher is a single mom and brand new empty nester. After getting her son Brendan off to college she channels her loneliness in a gender studies course at the local community college. One night she receives a wildly anonymous text, U R my Milf! This text sets the wheels in motion for Eve’s indulgence in MILFateria.com, an erotic website that gets mileage out of middle aged women.

Eve is enjoying her new found freedom, a student pondering feminist theory, she’s drinking and dancing, exploring her sexuality and making stupid mistakes. One evening things really heat up after a small gathering of friends and this event is the defining moment where Eve realizes she’s just plain lonely. And it doesn’t help that her married friends plaster their Facebook walls with sappy Valentine’s Day messages.

Meanwhile, Brendan’s jerk-like behavior isn’t winning anyone over at college. After finally getting a date with pretty Amber he screws up any possibility of a relationship due to his chauvinistic sexual behaviour. His roommate Zack has pretty much ditched him because he doesn’t like the person he becomes when he’s around Brendan. He quickly realizes he is a big disappointment on campus and drops out of school and moves back home.

Eve’s freedom is stifled with Brendan at home again. She gives up taking another class at the community college to spare Brendan the embarrassment of running into his mom at school. Her freedom and carefree lifestyle is quickly swapped out for domesticity as she falls back into daily life as ‘mom’.

That hot and heavy night plays over in Eve’s head as she comes dangerously close to making a regrettable mistake. Fighting back her inner desires not a moment too soon, she offers up one lasting memory that is sure to never fade away.

I think the biggest takeaway from this book is our views and acceptance of others. This really came thru in Brendan’s transition as the story progressed. I think anyone who enjoys an entertaining story will appreciate this one. It’s light, funny and interesting from start to finish.

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