Nine Inches: Stories by Tom Perrotta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love Tom Perrotta. I love the honesty and vulnerability of his writing, the way he writes about people you could know, or might know, or do know. His characters are always recognizable and relatable without relying on stereotypes or tropes.
This collection of short stories falls right in line with his other work, each story told from the perspective of characters who could easily live in the same town, eat at the same diners, send their children to the same schools as any of us. And the stories play off of one another. The high school student narrator "The Test Taker" serves as a perfect foil to the overweight and under-appreciated math teacher who narrates "Grade My Teacher." A disenfranchised Little League Umpire, a defeated pizza deliver boy, an injured football player, a divorced neighbor, a meddlesome old mother, a beginner guitar player, and a high school prom chaperone round out the list of narrators, each one just as frustrated with life as the next. And yet, each story concludes on a hopeful note; not necessarily with a "happy ending," but with the very human sense that something is still in store for these characters, that their story is not quite over. Just like life, really. Like you, and me, and all the people we know.
When one of our stories concludes, another is just beginning.
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