2014: 54. The Leftovers

"Laurie Garvey hadn't been raised to believe in the Rapture.  She hadn't been raised to believe in much of anything, except the foolishness of belief itself."

The Leftovers, Tom Perotta

Oh look, a real book!  Yes, after 14 bits of fluff (sorry, J.K.) I've read another bit of literature.  And, I must it admit, it was by accident.  You see, I got stuck at Terminal A at National (aka the terrible Jet Blue terminal) when my flight was delayed by four hours, and I finished the book I had on me, so this was my emergency back up book.  And they were only selling this because it was recently made into a HBO tv series (my cover, in fact, has Justin Theroux instead of these sassy shoes). So, basically, Jet Blue made me read a grownup book.  

But this was pretty good.  I mean, its dabbles in the post-apocolypt, which is my least favorite kind of story (but again, it was this, or George R.R. Martin - and I already read the the Martin!)*. The premise is thus - two percent of the world's population has disappeared in a Rapture-like event (probably not the Rapture, since they took atheists and Jews and such too).  And no one knows why - and the survivors (the Leftovers, if you will) must grapple with the outcome.   Society has basically gone unmoored.  People join cults - like the silent, wearing white Guilty Remnant, or follow shady prophets like the Holy Wayne, or try to live their lives as best as possible.  The Garvey family has done all three - mother Laurie leaves to join the Remnant, son Tom drops out of college to follow Wayne, and father Kevin and daughter Jill are trying to figure out what to do in light of all this.  And they haven't even lost anyone - poor Nora lost her whole family - husband and two children, and can barely function.

It's quite a book - of course, I cried whenever they talked about the disappeared children (thanks,  parenthood, for making me soft).  And Perotta does a lovely job just playing out the threads of the banality of suburban life in the wake of tragedy - and even giving a bit of hope at the end.  But I found certain threads so frustrating.   The realization that there would be no answers - or even exploration of why this happened - of what was going on.  Or the whole Guilty Remnant thing - (MILD SPOILERS) that Laurie was really going to stick with it was super depressing (I felt so bad for her daughter - and it was hard to imagine that a mother who claimed to love her childred could act that was).   I did enjoy reading something that challenged my lazy little brain (omg, wait until I get to the Martin Amis next week), and I did enjoy the book quite a bit.  But my god, I cannot imagine watching the series - the book is depressing enough - the thought of visiting this world weekly so unappealing.  Has anyone watched it? Is it possibly anything but dreary?

*Why are the only books at Terminal A related to HBO? Or, James Patterson, which, no.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017