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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Orlean, Susan: My Kind of Place | Main | McNicholl, Damian: Author Interview »

Perrotta, Tom: Little Children

  

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St. Martin's Press © 2004, 355 pages [amazon]
4 stars

The main characters of Tom Perrotta's Little Children find themselves, in their early thirties, stuck in imperfect relationships and in life situations that are somehow less than what they had imagined for themselves. Sarah, in her college days a short-haired feminist flirting with lesbianism, is married to an older man, Richard, who failed as a father and husband in his first marriage and is repeating his mistakes in a second. Sarah, though not a bad mother to her three-year-old daughter Lucy, is not fully comfortable with, or competent at, the task of caring for a child. Todd, on the other hand, a square-jawed former athlete whom the other mothers at the playground have dubbed the Prom King, thoroughly enjoys his role as stay-at-home dad. What plagues him is his failure to pass the bar exam, his failure to want to pass it, and his wife's relentless attempts to push him into a career for which he is unsuited. Sarah and Todd meet near the swings, enact a dramatic if unlikely scene for their audience of busybody playground parents, and fall into an affair which they hope will make their lives right. The drama of their relationship and its complications is supplemented by trouble in their town, the arrival of a convicted child molester, who has moved in with his mother after a stint in jail and has his own more extreme problems forming relationships.

The hierarchy of playground mothers, the less powerful personalities under the sway of a spandex-clad, fascistic, supermom, does not ring true.Perrotta's novel is about choices--the mate one selects, the children one chooses, or not, to have, the life that results from the small decisions one makes along the way. And it is about relationships, usually dysfunctional romantic relationships, unexpectedly supportive same-sex groups that play or read or pass out flyers together, ties between parents and children. The book is not always successful. The hierarchy of playground mothers, the less powerful personalities under the sway of a spandex-clad, fascistic, supermom, does not ring true. And the children's dialogue, what little there is of it, sounds to my ears more like an adult affecting childish speech than realistic three-year-old language: "Where it went? ...Where my snack?" But sometimes Perrotta gets it just right, as in his description of Todd's contentment with full-time fatherhood:

"Something had happened to him over the past couple of years, something to do with being home with Aaron, sinking into the rhythm of a kid's day. The little tasks, the small pleasures. The repetition that goes beyond boredom and becomes a kind of peace. You do it long enough, and the adult world starts to drift away. You can't catch up with it, not even if you try."

Little Children builds in suspense as Todd and Sarah's relationship consumes them and as the child molester's demons threaten to overpower him. One fears for the children of the book's title, not so much because of the threat posed by the sex offender in their midst, but because of the harm their own parents' bad decisions may cause. It is a powerful book, worthy of the read.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.