100 Books

139 Little Children

Weren’t we all Todd back in high school? Being young, we felt beautiful and infallible and invincible, thought we could do any thing, even regarded ourselves young gods. But we didn’t know exactly what it was we wanted, so we pursued our whims with naive enthusiasm and consuming passion only to abandon them recklessly in pursuit of other caprices.

In college, we morphed into Kathy: still young enough to be daring and still arrogant to be stupid with our decisions. But we were already starting to realize our infirmity and stupidity. We started to recognize our mortality, and with it, our insecurity and fear. We understood: we’re not at all indestructible.

Then we joined the work force and we became Sarah. We were always tired angry disgruntled. We started seeing wrinkles and feeling ugly. We’re stuck in our cubicles, nowhere else to go. We knew now what we wanted to do and be but couldn’t find the time for any of it. We wanted more of life but we just didn’t know where exactly to take our aim.

In a few years, we will be Mary Ann/Larry/McGorvey. We will be desolate and unhappy. We have all the time in the world to do what we want but we will no longer have the strength to even lift our pointer. The people we used to loathe and ignore, they will be the ones we’ll need to wipe our ass after taking a dump. The mistakes we committed are too stupid to be reversible. Death will be our merciful reprieve.

“Little Children” seems like my own life, the whole of it, in a frieze. Tom Perrotta reveals bits and pieces of my past present  (and of what I think will be my) future: my ideals, imperfections, dreams, secrets, aspirations, frustrations, disappointments, regrets. It’s chilling; but I will not be McGorvey.


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