Election by Tom Perrotta
Reviewed by John Glover, Reference Librarian for the Humanities
Election is elegant, funny, and eminently readable at 200 pages, and it made me want to read more of Tom Perrotta's work. The story is an engrossing stew of angst, backstabbing, politicking, jealousy, ennui, and sex, all set in the midst of a high school election. For various reasons the election turns out to be unusually hotly contested, and readers get to watch the lives of various students, teachers, and parents implode and expand in a variety of colorful ways.
Perrotta's style will quickly draw you into the narrative, and the reader's viewpoint rotates between several different characters. The events look much different, depending on who's talking at any given time, whether it's the overly entitled Tracy Flick or the hapless Mr. M. Among all the electioneering and typical high school drama, there's also a substantial amount of sleeping around and inappropriate relationships, teacher-student and otherwise. Perrotta presents his characters as humans, warts and all, and these entanglements are handled neither with simple finger-wagging nor with Nabokovian glee. This novel also inspired a film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick.