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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Better than the movie, and the poor teacher and student settle the differences the have, reese witherspoone sucks! The book is a great read tho!
Published 3 months ago by naomi bir

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3.0 out of 5 stars quick & cute
Tracy Flick wants to win her highschool presidential election, & she'll be beyond bothered if anyone else tries to get in her way. This amusing little book (large print, 200 pages) is told through the various perspectives of those caught up in the election & gives a humorous look at the lives of those affected.
I hate to say I liked the movie better than the...
Published on April 5 2004 by lady detective


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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, Jan. 10 2014
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This review is from: Election (Paperback)
Better than the movie, and the poor teacher and student settle the differences the have, reese witherspoone sucks! The book is a great read tho!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High School Presidential, June 29 2002
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
The back cover of this edition of "Election" makes the following claims: Tracy Flick, prospective President of Winwood High, is the kind of girl who "edits the yearbook [and] star[s] in the musical"; Paul Warren, likable jock, is so dim he's described as "not sure what's going on"; and the election at the high school is fraught with "sex scandals, smear campaigns, and behind-the-scene power brokers". I mention this, because, curiously, none of these things are found in the book. Oh sure, they could be. Maybe in the in-between scenes, the one that author Tom Perrotta doesn't actually write, but that's reading a little too much into the book's subtext. Either that, or an overworked copywriter never read the book, but rented the movie instead.
This is one of those rare occasions where the movie is more fleshed-out than the book. At a scant 200 pages (it can't be more than 40,000 words long; the slowest of readers could polish it off in a couple of hours), I found myself waiting for favourite scenes from the movie to pop up in prose form. Can you believe that Mr. McAllister doesn't even get stung by a bee in the book? For shame! I know, I know, you can't blame Perrotta for any of this; he wrote the book he wrote and he can't change it now for an audience familiar with the story in another medium. They might be disappointed by the omissions, but I wasn't.
While the book rarely gives more than a preliminary expository sketch of its characters, Perrotta is smart enough to allow self-definition through their actions and their speech. Which any good book should be doing anyway. Listen to the way these kids talk. Paul describes his girlfriend Lisa as: "sarcastic-looking." It's a phrase that means nothing, but somehow I can picture her. A better example is this bit from Tracy, describing a torrid affair with a teacher: "We fooled around in the darkroom, the handicapped elevator (this was after school, when the wheelchair kids had gone home), and backstage, behind the curtain." This is the essence of Tracy's character: she's blunt, politically incorrect (ironic for someone running for class president), and unabashedly cold. Perrotta, in a style that stays away from overly purple prose, nails the language of the age perfectly. I suspect that Perrotta knew this was his greatest strength, for the book is told in a series of vignettes, each from a different character's point of view. The effect is "Rashomon"-like, as we get alternating viewpoints on situations and character that allows us to question just who is telling the whole truth.
In a pivotal scene, an overzealous campaign manager defines the 'base' voters of each candidate. Paul's support will come from the "jocks, cheerleaders, and wannabes." Tracy can count on "the AP crowd, [and] maybe the band." Tammy Warren, Paul's younger sister and bona fide alternative candidate, will garner most of her votes from "the burnouts and the benchwarmers and the kids who feel left out." Not only does this scene neatly define the election subplot, but also it quickly categorizes what it means to be a high school student: you're athletic and popular, smart and respected, or apathetic and unsympathetic. It's a pretty bleak school view that Perrotta lays out. For those of us who remember high school vividly, though, it can't be more accurate.
Perrotta's accurate eye is not only trained on the students, but it gets a good look at the teachers too. Jim McAllister, a.k.a. Mr. M., is our conduit into this little-seen world. He's a perfect example of the adage, "those who can, do; those who can't, teach." Although that's unfair, for Mr. M is too satisfied to see if he can 'do'. One moment of anguish has him detailing a dream of his perfect career, only to admit that he'd "done nothing to implement [those dreams]." In many ways, Mr. M reads like a typically content but not happy character. But in other ways, he's rather odd. Over his decade at the school he's built himself a prudent reputation, while simultaneously building a solid marriage. But he dallies from his wife and career in one destructive week, and it changes him from being a respected teacher to a man who would reflexively muse that "it's awful to admit, but I felt a powerful sense of relief every time I turned on the TV and saw buildings going up in flames, and that poor man being dragged out of his truck."
This last bit, an oblique reference to Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, also highlights the book's insistence on being anchored in a specific time period. The L.A. Riots, the Thomas/Hill hearings, and the impending election of Governor Clinton into the White House all form an early nineties backdrop that seems to be commenting directly on the events occurring at Winwood High. "The only difference was that Bill and Clarence lied and I told the truth," laments Mr. M., in one of the book's most poignant lines. The time and place are captured neatly, and relevantly.
"Election" is not a perfect slice-of-life. It's too short to be considered great, and there are some clunky plot-devices that I didn't buy. But it's still more than just a trifle. If you'd told me some prodigy teenager had handed this work in for a creative writing assignment, I'd believe you. For the accuracy and flavour of the dialogue, the complex yet simply believable characters, and the credible picture of high school it draws.
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4.0 out of 5 stars wickedly entertaining!, May 23 2004
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
A fresh book, easy to read and compelling. Perroti not only creates his characters, he sets them off so that they live on their own, not bound by the text of the book. In other words, Perroti creates the plot; the plot does not create the characters. One can easily argue that he is not only an exceptionally talented storyteller, but also a weaver of lives and events into a living tapestry. One will surely enjoy digging into this daring novel, a modern soap opera and a classic satire rolled in one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars quick & cute, April 5 2004
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
Tracy Flick wants to win her highschool presidential election, & she'll be beyond bothered if anyone else tries to get in her way. This amusing little book (large print, 200 pages) is told through the various perspectives of those caught up in the election & gives a humorous look at the lives of those affected.
I hate to say I liked the movie better than the book- but, I did.
While the book is charming & funny- the character's actually have less depth than they do in the movie- & the laugh's are much fewer. The book also lacks emotional resonance, whereas the movie actually gets you more riled up about the election & what happens to those involved.
It's a quick, easy read & it does provide some amusement- but I'm going to have to say, (and it pains me to do so) that you're better off watching the movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good summer read, Sept. 4 2003
By 
Daniel Holland (Arroyo Grande, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
I've read The Wishbones and Joe College, and Election is along the same lines. Characters I can really relate to (sometimes painfully so), easy to read, and really funny in places. Nothing groundbreaking or too challenging, just good fun and hard to put down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than the Movie, July 16 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
I have to admit that I didn't discover Tom Perrotta until I saw the movie Election. While the movie itself was hilarious in my opinion, the turnout of the book was better. The paths the characters take in the book is a whole lot better than the ending of the movie. If you liked the movie, you will love the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I swear there was a book here a moment ago., April 19 2003
By 
Kevin (Ann Arbor, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
I read this book in one sitting in a local bookstore. Because it was so short, I never became attached to any of the characters, and the story did not develop any real weight. Still, it isn't fair to criticise a book for brevity alone, and I thought that the characters interesting--Perrotta seems to have a talent for telling you a lot about someone through implication. He also evoked the early 1990s remarkably well, or at least I assume he did. (I wasn't paying much attention at that time.) The high school in the book is an excellent microcosm for human pride, folly and stupidity, as students and teachers take absurd risks to secure a completely useless and ceremonial position. This isn't a classic book, but it is a better way that most of spending an hour and a half.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular!, Aug. 29 2002
By 
Karina Montgomery "manyhats" (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
I read this book after multiple viewings of the excellent film adaptation, and I must say, Tom Perotta knows people. This book reads like a favorite junk food, yet it is actually filled with depth and thought. Good stuff, everyone should see AND read Election.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, July 21 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
I watched the movie first a long time ago and recently I decided to read the book. I loved the book. It was a quick fun read. I thought the book clarified a lot of what was in the movie since it was written with all the different perspectives (Paul, Tammy, Lisz, Tracy, Mr. M, etc). The plot and characters were interesting. If you're looking for a good, short read, pick this book up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome Read!!!!!, April 30 2002
By 
Shannon (Michigan!!!!!!!!) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Election (Paperback)
This is a great book! I found it so hard to put down! It is a very enjoyable and quick read. I love the way Perrotta tells thestory through the eyes of five different characters -- Paul Warren (the popular jock), Tracky Flick (he overachiever), Mr. M. (the teacher and student governmnet advisor), Tammy Warren (Paul's sister), and Lisa Flanagan (Paul's girlfriend and Tammy's ex- bestfriend). This is a crazy cast of characters. THe twists and turns of the student government election and the surrounding events almost have a soap opera feel in that you get so wrapped up in the plot you just can't get away. But, at the same time you get to know the character really well. I think that Tom Perrotta is a wonderful author and i look forward to reading his other books. I have this book a rating of 4 stars because i think it is a great book -- one of my favorites -- but it doesn't have wonderful literary merit. Perrotta focuses alot on the plot and there is no real deeper meaning to the book, and it doens't leave you feeling changed in any way.
I would definitely recommmend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable read, however this book is for a more mature audience. I would reccomend it for anyone high school age and up. So go read it!!!
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Election by Tom Perotta (Hardcover - March 1 1998)
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