Mrs. Fletcher

Is this satire? It’s lumped in with another satire book at the Vancouver Writers Festival. I’m not sure. I’ll give the experts the benefit of the doubt. It’s comedic, certainly. It’s over the top, although not far-fetched. I feel like I’ve met people exactly like those being satirized, so I’m more inclined to accept the characters at face value.

In Mrs. Fletcher, author Tom Perrotta introduced readers to Eve, a 46 year old woman. She’s divorced, her only son is off to college and she’s all alone in her house for the first time. The only bright spot is her job at a senior’s centre, which she’s extremely good at. She doesn’t even mind the seniors. I’ve worked at a seniors home. Weird things happen.

Shortly after her son is ensconced in post secondary school, she gets a mysterious text from a number she doesn’t recognize: U r my MILF. If you don’t know what that is, I’ll let you Google it. Maybe not at work.

Eve is flattered and a little uncomfortable. She does, presumably, Google it. Only she ends up watching a lot of porn. So much porn. She’s also taking a class on gender studies, taught by transexual woman and attended by lots of randoms. It makes for internal confusion.

Meanwhile, her son, a butch, manly, athletic guy is floundering at school. People give him crap for making non PC statements. Brendan is confused by their militancy and the fact his equally butch roommate starts dating a girl in a wheelchair. Brendan has a crush on a girl with (heaven forbid) wide shoulders who’s also an activist. She is interested in him but not his horrible non PC statements, especially the ones he uses when they’re fooling around.

Heck, maybe it is satire.

Basically, reading Mrs. Fletcher is like meeting lots of interesting people and some people who maybe need to give their head a shake. There are some cringe-worthy moments—mostly caused by creepy old white dudes who can’t hear the word no. Ouch.

As one of the characters ponders: “She hated to be sexist, but it was undeniable: men were gross at Bikram.”

Perrotta has gone out of his way, almost, to make sure we think men are a little gross. Most men, everywhere. Not just at yoga.

Tom Perrotta was at Events 10 (Modern Day Satire), 16 (Uninhibited) and 32 (Screen Gems) at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival.

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