I know my last (first) battle post was about The Leftovers, but I’m coming back at y’all with another Tom Perotta: Mrs. Fletcher.
Before continuing, I want to warn you of spoilers ahead, for both the book and the show. I know I usually hate giving spoilers, but most of my pros and cons are based on major plot points.
If you have been reading my posts in the past, you wouldn’t think I’d enjoy a book about a middle-aged white woman going through the transition of an empty nest and trying to rediscover herself, especially written by a white man who has no idea what it’s like to be a woman. I legit only picked up the book because it was written by the man who blessed me with The Leftovers. But even I can enjoy a good story about white people every once in a while, lolz.
I’ll start with the book, since that’s what I read first.
- It was funny in a way I didn’t expect. Even though I knew the writing style of The Leftovers was lighter than the show, I think I somehow expected this book to be heavy too.
- I enjoyed reading about Eve’s coming-of-age. Usually this label gets attached to teen or young adult protagonists, but this was my first book where it was a real adultier adult. I loved the theme that rediscovery can happen to anyone at any age.
- There was no new love at the end. Despite a taboo relationship throughout and reexploring and redefining sexuality for Eve, there was no one she ended happily ever after. There was no pressure to conform to societal expectations of being in a relationship into old age.
- Using a trans character as a plot device. It may not have been Tom’s intention of using a trans character as a plot device, but that’s kinda what it seemed like to me since it was mostly like “Wow, here is someone different” with no real substance.
Honestly, I’m surprised I can’t think of more cons. I’m not even sure why I enjoyed the read so much.
Oh well, on to the show.
- Explored the lives of other characters more. I’m especially thinking of Margo, the creative writing teacher who came out as trans. They made her more complex and complete.
- Pushed the envelope more on concepts of sexuality. It didn’t seem like too much of a hesitation to explore sexually with other women. The show normalized bodies and the erotic, even more so than the book.
- Kathryn Hahn was made to play this character. She was absolutely perfect in this role!
- While we got to explore more characters’ lives, I HATED Brendan. Since it is a limited series, maybe I just didn’t get enough time to really see his character arc. I hate that the audience is made to side with someone who sexually assaults another person with out real consequence or attempt at redemption. Plus, he was a total ass for 90% of the show with little to make me think otherwise.
- The relationship with Julian was trash compared to the book. I know the point was to build up to the interaction in the finale, but there was more conflict and nuance in the book.
- It was a limited series. The show had set up so many character arcs I enjoyed and were ready to see developed. I read one article about the potential of a season 2, but Tom told us that he writes every season like it’s the last. That was a LIE! I don’t feel resolved after any of the events in the finale!
I think the book wins this one, hands down. My mind could change if I get a chance to have all this tension release through ACTUAL complete character arcs in a season two of the show. For now, at the time of this writing, the book is better. But the show was so funny (and surprisingly hot at times) I would recommend it anyway.