Tracy Flick Can't Win: A Novel (Hardcover)
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June 2022 Indie Next List
“A welcome return to a delightful character! Perrotta gives Tracy Flick the mic and allows her — and us — to reinterpret the events of Election. Deeply moving and incredibly funny, I never knew how much I needed this standalone sequel.”
— Shaun Manning, Booksweet, Ann Arbor, MI
I desperately needed a book to pull me out of my COVID haze, and Perrotta's latest gem was the answer. Fast, fun, relatable and engaging, I read the entire book in an afternoon. Tracy can't win: old white guys and coaches, sexual harassment, money buying power, and "famous people" get in the way of the rules of appropriate behavior. I identified, commiserated, and squirmed right along with her.— Heather
“Tom Perrotta is…one of the great writers that we have today. I love this book.” —Harlan Coben
An “engrossing and mordantly funny” (People) novel about ambition, coming-of-age in adulthood, and never really leaving high school politics behind—featuring New York Times bestselling author Tom Perrotta’s most iconic character of all time.
Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.
Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice.
But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers memories for Tracy and leads her to reflect on the trajectory of her own life. As she considers the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President’s wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?
A sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect chronicle of the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time, Tracy Flick Can’t Win “delivers acerbic insight about frustrated ambition” (Esquire).
"Even more piercing than its predecessor... With a lyric, polyphonic intensity, [Perrotta] poses a question to the class: What have we learned?”—The New York Times
"The verdict is in on Tracy Flick: we did her wrong."—The New Yorker
"Cleverly designed.... Perrotta has reclaimed the name Tracy Flick from the bucket of misogynist punchlines.”—Washington Post
"Perrotta catches up with Tracy as an adult, rescuing her from the fate of being used as an easy symbol of, well, anything. She’s much too complex for that."—Time
"Brilliant, biting satire... so lean and taut it almost reads like a screenplay."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[Tracy Flick is] a richly rounded character enduring a quintessential modern American struggle.”—Boston Globe
“Told with Perrotta’s piercing wit, wisdom, and exquisite insight into human folly, Tracy’s second act delivers acerbic insight about frustrated ambition.”—Esquire
"If you ever wondered what became of overachiever Tracy Flick... now you can find out in Tracy Flick Can’t Win."—Elle
"Perrotta [is] a specialist in suburban malaise.”—Slate
"Perrotta brings his trademark dark humor and insights into suburbia to the story, along with some sweet observations about friendship."—Real Simple
"Perrotta has what it takes to revisit the past without being predictable.”—The Atlantic
“Short chapters from many perspectives [will] keep readers alternately laughing and gasping.”—Los Angeles Times
"Humorous yet humane... prescient, darkly comical.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Perrotta’s great gift is that he lets his love for his characters, flaws and all, shine through. . . . I was rooting hard for Tracy Flick to, finally, win.” —Seattle Times
"Sharp and perfectly executed…This is the rare sequel that lives up to the original.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Smart, entertaining... The breeziness of the pacing provides tart counterpoint to weightier themes... which Perrotta handles with a deft but determined satiric touch.”—Booklist
“The plot unfolds with the you-are-there feel of a documentary, or mockumentary perhaps ... Nobody told this master of dark comedy there are things you can’t make jokes about. Watch him try.”—Kirkus