I discovered Tom Perrotta back in 2008, when my mom was dying of cancer. I raced through all of his book as I sat with her through chemotherapy appointments and long nights in hospital rooms. Perrotta's keen mix of humor and heart, even amid awkward and morally tenuous situations, grabbed my attention. He is among a handful of authors of which I most eagerly anticipate their new releases and that I will purchase their books without a care towards reviews or subject matter. If he publishes, I'm buying.
Nine Inches Stories is Perrotta's second collection of shorts. Perrotta really excels at writing both novels and short stories, but as I have a huge affinity for shorts, making me extra excited for this collection.
It's strong and I enjoyed every story. However, the big stand-out was The Chosen Girl about a lonely senior citizen who reaches out to a young girl in a religious cult. It has a completely different feel from the other stories, yet it still keeps with Perrotta's usual theme of adult/teenager connections. Perrotta has a unique spin on what it means to grow up and often plays with ideas of how we are shaped by our childhood. The lines between adults and children are often blurred.
Another great piece was Senior Season, about a boy whose football injuries prevent him from playing in his senior year and the impact that it has both on his social life and the way that he views his life trajectory. As an adult reading this story, we know that high school is only a blip on the radar, but Perrotta so deftly writes the character's pain and frustration, that you can't help but have sympathy for him, even through his dramatic teenage gestures and complaints. Perrota writes teenage angst and awkwardness so well that I hope these are stories from a very active imagination and not ones that are developed out of experiences. His characters often do things that are very uncomfortable to read.
I was a little disappointed Senior Season was included in this collection, as over the summer, I purchased the story by itself on Amazon. I felt a bit cheated by this. It would have been nice to have been allowed the story for free as a teaser for preordering the book. Instead, I basically bought the story twice.
This however, was not enough to make me grumpy over the book. As with all of Perrotta's previous efforts, I throughly enjoyed Nine Inches Stories. I can't wait for Perrotta's next book and I'm also very much looking forward to the HBO Series adaptation of his novel The Leftovers .Damon Lindelof is involved, so that's another reason to get excited! If you've not done so already, make sure to read the book before the series starts airing.