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Mrs Fletcher by Tom Perrotta – “U r my MILF” someone said to Eve

January 15, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mrs Fletcher by Tom Perrotta (2017) French title: Mrs Fletcher ou les tribulations d’une MILF.

Mrs Fletcher by Tom Perrotta is a light novel about Eve and Brendan, a mother and her son at a crossroad in their lives. Eve is a forty-six-year-old divorcée whose only son is now going to college. We see her as Brendan moves out to his dorm and she comes back home with too much free time. And Brendan is now free to party as much as he wants.

Eve is the director of her town’s senior center. She has a successful career but discovers that she doesn’t have much of a social life. She decides to enroll at her community college and follow a night class, Gender and Society. There, she meets new people and is confronted to the question of gender and identity in the 21st century as their transgendered teacher tells them about her life journey.

At the same time Eve jump-starts her social life thanks to the new acquaintances she makes in college, her sex life is revived. She gets hit on in class and one night, she receives a text from a stranger: “U r my MILF”. Startled, she googles MILF and stumbles upon the amateur porn site milfateria.com. She starts clicking and coming back to it, again and again…

And, oh yeah, she’d also gone and gotten herself addicted to internet porn, not that that was anything to brag about. She understood that it was a little extreme, or maybe just premature, to call her problem an addiction—it had only been going on for a month or so—but what other label could you use when you did something every night, whether you wanted to or not? Tonight she knew she would go home and visit the Milfateria—it felt like a fact, not a choice—probably checking out the Lesbo MILFs, her current go-to category. Last week it was Blowjob MILFs—lots and lots of blowjobs—and the week before that had been a more eclectic period—spanking, threesomes, butt play—just to get a sense of what was out there.

Chapters alternate between Eve’s new life and Brendan’s experience in college. They take opposite directions. Brendan painfully learns that he behaves like a pig with women. He is also faced with the necessity to grow up and get out of his self-centered bubble.

Eve stops to be only a mother to reconquer the woman in her. Her discovery of pornography oddly emboldens her and fosters new fantasies. Brendan has visibility learnt sexuality and relationships to women in pornography and needs to make the journey towards respect. He needs to learn how to interact properly with girls.

Mrs Perrotta is a fun book to read and its humorous tone is deceptive. Behind Eve’s antics and Brendan’s blunders, there’s a fine description of our internet-based societies and a real look at people’s loneliness. Some tell their lives on Facebook and rub their happiness in other people’s face or, as Eve points out when she scrolls through her married friends live feed,

It had been a lot easier to be a loser back in the days before social media, when the world wasn’t quite so adept at rubbing it in your face, showing you all the fun you were missing out on in real time.

Mrs Perrotta questions the impact of pornography accessible to anyone, easy sex on Tinder and other aps. Perrotta is not judgemental, he just shows the consequences on his two characters, Eve and Brendan. It is also the turning point of the relationship between a mother and her son, now a young adult. As a parent, she also needs change from mothering a child to interacting with her adult son. It is a new time in a parent-child relationship, one that lasts until the balance shifts again and children take care of their ageing parents.

Besides Eve and Brendan, there’s a good collection of side characters in Mrs Fletcher, a group of people we are happy to follow in the novel. They are all confused in their own way and try to navigate our world as best they can.

I thought that the ending was a bit trite but, in the end, when I think about it, it’s realistic. Our real lives are not as fascinating as the ones in novels anyway.

I owe the fun reading time I spent with Mrs Perrotta to Guy whose review is here. Thanks Guy!!

  1. January 15, 2020 at 9:56 am

    A brave review. I think I would reflect too much on my (oft-divorced) life to attempt it myself. Porn is such a guy thing that I would rather a woman writer had given me the woman’s point of view, but it is the Brendans of this world I worry about. Sex was a mystery when I was young (late 60s) and it’s not any more though porn is hardly good sex education. Better than none? Maybe. I suppose if young women are being talked into more sex than they want then at least all that oral is relatively safe and maybe doesn’t feel like ‘the real thing’. But how would I know?

    Like

    • January 15, 2020 at 9:54 pm

      Why is it brave? (except for the fact that it’s a spam catcher)

      The book raises the underlying question of sex education for Brendan but also his vision of women. He doesn’t even realise that his behaviour is unacceptable, until other students force him to see it. How can a boy raised by someone as lovely as Eve become like this with women? Free access to porn certainly twisted his mind but I’m not sure it’s enough.

      With all the progress we’ve made in lots of areas, sex ed is still lacking, I think. For the rest, I’m too married to know anything about Tinder, hookups and stuff like that.

      Like

  2. January 15, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    I wonder if I should read this to understand a bit more my changing relationship with my sons…

    Like

    • January 15, 2020 at 9:39 pm

      I don’t know if it’d help but it’s a good “moment de lecture” (what’s the English equivalent of that?) I think that this is an interesting moment in a parent/child relationship.

      I sympathised with Eve and was a bit horrified by Brendan at the beginning. He’s been raised by an open-minded and respectful mother and yet he treats girls poorly. Where did he learn this? Not at home. Porn is part of the answer but it’s not enough. There’s something else around him that lets him believe that he can treat girls the way he does.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 16, 2020 at 11:28 am

        This is what I worry about nearly every single day…

        Like

        • January 19, 2020 at 9:32 am

          We, parents, do what we can and have to accept that some things are out of our control.
          That said, I think that my son and his friends are a lot more respectful of girls than boys were when I was his age.

          Like

  3. January 15, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    This isn’t something it would occur to me to pick up, but you’ve made it sound very appealing. These are contemporary issues that we still don’t know the full impact of yet.

    Like

    • January 15, 2020 at 9:32 pm

      It’s a good take on contemporary issues. He remains factual, never judges Eve or Brendan but he shows a part of the outcome of social networks (Eve feels like a loser when she sees the happy pictures of her friends on Facebook) and Brendan isn’t a bad person. His sex education came from porn and it’s his normalty. I agree with Bill above, the Brendans of this world are a worry.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. January 15, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    I have a couple of Tom Perrotta books in the 746 but have yet to read any! This sounds good.

    Like

    • January 15, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      It is good, indeed. Which ones do you have?

      Like

      • January 15, 2020 at 11:30 pm

        I have The Leftovers, Little Children and Election – all of which I’ve seen 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  5. January 21, 2020 at 9:12 am

    I have another of his novels on my piles, Little Children, which, I think is quite sad. This sounds entertaining and poignant at the same time.

    Like

    • Vishy
      January 21, 2020 at 11:16 am

      Little Children is the one which was made into a movie starring Kate Winslet?

      Like

      • January 21, 2020 at 1:27 pm

        Exactly. That’s why I haven’t read it yet. The movie was so powerful, I needed to get it out of my head first.

        Like

        • Vishy
          January 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm

          Nice to know that! I loved that movie too! It was so powerful like you have said. I didn’t know that it was based on a book.

          Like

          • January 21, 2020 at 1:30 pm

            I got the book right before I watched it. Should have waited and read it first. I really loved that movie.

            Like

        • January 21, 2020 at 9:44 pm

          You never know when to read a book that’s been made into a film.

          If you read it before the flm, the film is often disappointing and when you’ve seen the fllm, you don’t always want to read the book, especially when you have fond memories of the film…

          Liked by 1 person

          • January 21, 2020 at 9:48 pm

            I have had both spoilt for me. It’s tricky.

            Like

    • January 21, 2020 at 9:42 pm

      I think that Guy has reviewed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Vishy
    January 21, 2020 at 11:15 am

    This book looks very interesting! I love the contrasting ways Eve and Brendan approach life – very fascinating! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Like

    • January 21, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      It’s worth reading as it’s a good take on today’s society. I liked Eve, I sympathised with her.

      Like

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