Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel
". . . the perfect summer read."
Mrs. Fletcher enjoys getting off with the help of online porn. It’s a revelation—especially to her!
Mrs. Fletcher or more familiarly—Eve—is the single mother of a son just off to college and, before her own descent into the world of XXX websites, she is disgusted by the way online porn has taken over her son’s life.
As the book opens, Mrs. Fletcher is about to drive her son Brendan to college when his high school girlfriend drops by to give Brendan a special going away gift—oral sex. She’s honed her skills, she tells Brendan, by watching online instructional videos. It’s a classic porn setup come to life.
Poor Mrs. Fletcher—car all loaded and ready to take off—cools her heels while her son instructs his suddenly masterful girlfriend to “Suck it, bitch.” Mrs. Fletcher overhears this and wants to give her son a piece of her mind but cannot find the courage, at least not at this point in the book.
Cut to later that evening: After Mrs. Fletcher drops her son off at college, she finds herself trolling the web to determine what a MILF is. Some anonymous texter had anointed her such, and now she’s curious. Her search leads her to the world of naked MILFS, and Eve’s research blossoms into an online porn addiction.
As novelist Tom Perrotta writes: “there was always another one . . . The couple on the screen would seem inspired or even blessed . . . and maybe you envied them a little, but you also wanted to thank them for sharing this moment with you, and then that last barrier would crumble, and maybe for a minute or two you’d feel that you were right there with them, like when you heard a good song on the radio and the next thing you knew you were singing along.”
Very soon, Eve is indeed singing along.
The joke is that the proper Mrs. Fletcher—considered a very attractive middle-aged woman by everyone, even Brendan’s friends—by day runs a senior citizen’s center and is the last person you might think would have an online porn addiction. But with Brendan out of the house, Eve finds herself masturbating into the night.
Eve develops an appetite for lesbian MILFS and starts fantasizing about one of her underlings, a free spirited and tattooed young woman named Amanda. The online porn becomes a gateway drug for Eve’s sexual reawakening and eventual courage.
The novel could have been titled Mrs. Fletcher Gets Horny. Eve wonders whether everyone around her has been thinking about sex all these years while she was focused on raising Brendan, an erstwhile frat boy who seems to have bonded more with his father, Eve’s ex-husband.
Perrotta’s novel is not only about sex—it’s very specifically about sex in 2017. The PC police, the campus rape culture, gender fluidity—it’s all here. Perrotta even has Eve take a night class at a local college about gender identity, which is where she meets a transgender professor and a class full of open-minded adults.
No one writes better about suburbia than Perrotta, who has an eye for the messy lives hiding just over all those white picket fences. This novel could be a companion piece to his previous book Little Children.
Perrotta’s world is populated by plumbers, soccer coaches turned bartenders, senior citizen workers, and many a disgruntled college graduate trying to eke out a measure of happiness where every lawn is manicured. Nothing is out of place, and yet many are unhappy.
Perrotta is a master at switching points of view so that you come to understand and relate to each character easily. And he doesn’t fall into easy stereotypes. Brendan seems like an out of control frat boy, but there’s more there. Same with Amanda, Eve’s crush. Mrs. Fletcher is a very effective novel, the perfect summer read.