As always, Tom Perrotta displays an uncanny ability to create full-bodied characters that feel less like characters in a book and more like vivid reflections of people that we all know.
There’s honest talking high school teacher and single mum Ruth Ramsay who unwittingly finds herself in battle with the local Church, and then there is Tim mason, former wild boy who has relinquished his former life and converted to Christianity. Facing their own personal crises of faith, Ruth and Tim are pulled into conflict and yet find themselves almost irresistibly drawn together.
Aside from his richly drawn characters, Perrotta creates for them a highly detailed world where we can really see, hear and feel what our characters experience. His clever use of pop culture references grounds the story in time and place, and constructs an entirely believable reality.
With deft hand and strongly satirical eye, Perrotta handles his subject matter with precision, and even when dealing with subjects as divisive as religion and sex, he manages to air all perspectives with supremely delicate touch.