Cover Image: Tracy Flick Can't Win

Tracy Flick Can't Win

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Tracy Flick is a hard-working and ambitious Assistant Principal at a suburban New Jersey public high school.  She's a single mom of a ten-year-old girl who's feeling stuck in her career and her lot in life until she finds out the Principal of her school will be retiring at the end of the school year.  She is reignited with new hope and purpose as she sets about proving her talent and worthiness for taking over the role as Principal.  One of her new tasks is to support a burgeoning campaign to create a Hall of Fame for the school's alumni which brings with it a host of high school politics.  Lots of characters and drama emerge from this story, some from the legacies of the high school's past and some from its current students and staff.  It's well-written with a dynamic pace as chapters alternate from different points of view.  It's entertaining though perhaps a bit disappointing with how it glosses over some deep-rooted serious topics.  Tracy Flick is a likeable character, though I'm not sure how much of a connection it really makes with the first Tracy Flick book Election.  I never read that book or watched the movie and didn't find much detailed backstory that told me about that part of her life.  So that's good in that it's a standalone story, but worth noting that nothing compelled me to go back and read that part of Tracy's story.
Was this review helpful?
How fun to revisit Tracy Flick, one of my all-time favorite book and movie characters. Less satirical than Election, TFCW still includes lots of social commentary and I appreciated the different POVs. I was a little sad about where Tracy ended up but in the end, it seemed fitting.

Thanks to Scribner for the copy to review.
Was this review helpful?
I'll admit, while I had seen the move Election I have never previously read Tom Perrotta's books. This was my first one. Unfortunately I am not a fan. This story was told from the perspective of multiple characters surrounding the retirement of a longtime principal and the creation of a Hall of Fame at the school. It gave you a glimpse into the day to day lives of these characters. While parts were interesting, it felt like Perrotta was trying too hard to place in various pop culture talking points in order to make certain perspectives more relevant. Instead it fell flat. Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Tracy is in school again but not as a student. She’s assistant principal and still filled with the same energy and ambition. The position of principal is in her reach and she wants and deserves it so much she can taste it. Read and see if Tracy Flick will finally get what she’s worked so far for.
Was this review helpful?
Hilarious and fun.  Great insights into behind the scenes school operations.  Hope this one makes it to the big screen as it's predecessor "Election" did.  Great read.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book by Tom Perrotta.  It was an interesting take on revisiting with a character from another of his books.
Was this review helpful?
Confession: I never read the prequel to this book, Election. But I did see the movie adaptation. Which, now that I read it sort of sounds like saying "I'm not a doctor but I play one on tv." Anyway, I was a huge fan of that movie (in no small part due to the fact that it was filmed in the greater Omaha area by native son Alexander Payne. Also, if you haven't seen that movie but like dark humor, I highly recommend it). And again, anyway, I can't speak to how good of an adaptation it was but I knew when I saw this one that I wanted to give it a shot.

It does not disappoint. Tracy Flick is every bit the same person she was in Election but also she isn't. Life has worn her down. Whereas once upon a time, she was convinced that if she wanted something enough, it could be hers if she worked hard. Time has shown her otherwise. She did not become the lawyer (and eventual President of the United States) she expected to be. She's not even at the top of her school's hierarchy. She's never recovered from the loss of her mother and she's been disappointed to learn that she's not the mother her mother was. 

Now it appears that her luck has changed at last. The principal of the school has announced his resignation at the end of the school year and Tracy has already proved her mettle when she stood in for him following a heart attack. The president of the school board also seems to be on her side...provided she play along with his plan to create a Hall of Fame in the school and to declare the school's former star quarterback the first inductee. The Hall of Fame seems like a vanity project Tracy is sure won't survive the full school board's scrutiny and Tracy would prefer to see more academic standouts inducted if it does, but she goes along because she wants to make sure she finally rises to the top. 

But, as the title says, Tracy Flick can't win. 

Perrota moves us through the story through a chapters narrated by several characters as he explores the new world Tracy finds herself in - a world where she at long last has come to recognize that she can say "me too" because of events that happened to her when she was in high school,  a world where female ambition is still derided. It is, as one reviewer rightly pointed out, a tragicomedy which moves into more tragedy. And then, as we so often see following tragedies, everyone moves on with their lives as if nothing has happened. Count me know as a huge fan of Perrota and his ability to subtly point out our failures even has he makes us laugh.
Was this review helpful?
As someone who works in a public school, this book was perfect. Tracy Flick is a long-suffering assistant principal with her eye on the soon to be vacant principal position. True to real life, she must deal with people more concerned with money, reputation and appearances than how well she can do the job. After reading this book, I now have all of Tom Perrotta's books on my TBR list!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an e ARC of this book.
Fascinating study of a group of people told in short chapters. Fascinating and believable characters.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVEDDDDD this book so much! It was so fun and hilarious, and it teaches a great life lesson all in the same process.
Was this review helpful?
I chose to read Tracy Flick Can't Win because it takes place in a school, familiar territory to me. I didn't realize that this was a sequel but I had no trouble following Tracy's storyline.  
There are many characters in this book. The author does a fine job of presenting all the backstories as well as wrapping up what happens to each of them at the end.  
The issues addressed are timely and gritty, yet somehow both realistic and sometimes oddly humorous.  
This is a compellingly quick read and not a book that examines all of these issues under a microscope.  It was fun, fast and a book I'll happily be recommending. 
Many thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for the ARC of Tracy Flick Can't Win.
Was this review helpful?
This was my first Tracy Flick book, so I wasn't sure how this would go over, but it was great! I'm an Assistant Principal myself so I found so much to relate to and couldn't stop laughing (and sometimes crying) throughout.
Was this review helpful?
Having read Tom Perrotta's Election and seen Reese Witherspoon's iconic performance of Tracy Flick in the movie, I had high hopes for Perrotta's novel Tracy Flick Can't Win. But after I read it, I was left wondering -- what was the point?

Fast forward decades later, Tracy is a hardworking assistant principal and single mother. When longtime principal, Jack Weede, announces his retirement, Tracy assumes that she has the principal job on lock. Tracy is also asked to serve on the selection committee for the school's brand new Hall of Fame. Among the proposed inductees is Vito Corleone, the high school's star quarterback back in the day who had a short career in the NFL. As the ceremony comes up, Tracy wonders if the principal job will really be hers or if people are plotting against her. 

All of this makes for a really implausible storyline with multiple characters providing points of view (most of whom seem meaningless). A plot point is brought up (like Vito possible having CTE) and then just disappears. And the ending is so out-of-the-blue it's laughable. The worst of this for me though is that, besides the ambition, there doesn't seem to be much of the Tracy Flick we know from Election. Which again brings me to -- what was the point of it all?

MY RATING - 2
Was this review helpful?
I had some memory of the book Election when I chose to read this book. As I started to read, I remembered how unlikable the people in that book were.  I wonder how the same story would play now.  I just don’t know about my opinion of Tom Perrota, especially as he writes women.  I spent a lot of my reading time rolling my eyes.  The book was OK.  It wasn’t very aware of the ways high schools and school districts work at this time.  I was hoping to enjoy it more.  It was just OK and not terribly memorable.
Was this review helpful?
I had not read Election before starting this one and I was a little nervous I would be confused.  However, having a basic understanding of the plot line of Election I felt I was fine without having read it.  

Tracy has moved from student council in high school to the Vice Principal as her career having left law school to help be there for a sick mother.  She dreams of moving up to the Principal position and with the opening being on the horizon is set to show her skillset and form the necessary relationships with key players to secure her spot.

I think the book does a nice job of social commentary and felt very timely.  The school politics felt real and relatable.  There were a lot of characters to get to know and I felt it almost felt like a few too many.

Overall an enjoyable, quick read.  3.5 stars rounded up from me.
Was this review helpful?
I liked Election, but I loved Tracy Flick Can't Win.  Tracy has grown up and even though there are signs of her maturation, she is still the girl from the author's first book.  There are several stories in this book and even though Tracy is unaware of some of them, she is the glue that holds them all together.  This book is fun because none of the characters are protagonists--they all are a little antagonist (even Tracy), but that is what makes them so likeable and enjoyable.  Reading the first book is not required the gist of the story can be gotten from this book, but I recommend the first, just to see Tracy as a teen and better understand her character  in the second book.
Was this review helpful?
Tracy Flick has gone back to school. Back to the high school she went to. She had left, to go to law school and then Congress and then the White House. But she had to leave high school to go back home and take care of her mother, and she ended up back in her school. But this time, she is the Assistant Principal. And when Principal Jack Weede announces his retirement at the end of the year, she wants that job for herself. 

Tech millionaire sold his Barky app and decided to take his money back to his hometown. He let his wife design their new house in the suburbs, and he joined the School Board. He meets with Tracy to tell her that she is a shoo-in for the job, but he has an ulterior motive. He has an idea he wants to move forward with, and he could use her support. He wants to set up a Hall of Fame at the school for important alumni. She agrees to back his idea and helps set up a selection committee to come up with ideas for who should be inducted into their new Hall of Fame. 

The committee takes applications and starts vetting the nominees. And what Tracy is worried about is happening—most of the talk is for a former football player. Given things that have happened to her in the past, she is not excited about the idea of letting another football player get all the attention, get all the votes. She can’t let another athlete win just for playing sports. So when Principal Weede nominates Diane, Front Desk Diane, who has spent decades working the desk in the office, helping generations of high schoolers with whatever they need, Tracy is very happy to vote for her. 

But as the months go by, and the job search for Principal turns up no other good candidates for the job, Tracy still can’t relax. Despite all the years she has spent at Green Meadow High School, despite her education and her dedication, even taking over for Principal Weede when he had his heart attack, Tracy feels uneasy. She senses that something is going on, that there is something the Board is keeping from her. That the job she’s worked so hard towards may not be hers after all. 

But Tracy’s not a kid anymore. She’s an adult, and she can deal with this. She can find another job, or maybe she’ll go back to law school. But the night of the Hall of Fame induction read carpet ceremony, everything changes for them all, and Tracy sees who she really is, right before the world goes dark. 

Tracy Flick Can’t Win is the follow-up to Election, where a teenaged Tracy Flick first learned how unfair the world can be. Now she’s an adult, a leader at the school that was such a big part of her early story, and she’s still fighting to be seen. Author Tom Perrotta has brought readers back to Green Meadow, New Jersey with a worthy story that mixes old friends and new faces to tell another chapter of Tracy’s story. 

I will admit that I could see a certain (legally) blonde actress slipping back into this role as I read this book. I could hear her voice and see her moving around in Tracy’s life, and I am hoping that there are powerful people in California (like, said actress) who has a similar vision. But even if there isn’t a film like there was for Election, fans of Tracy can read this and see the impressive woman she has grown into. I love how insightful she’s become about her past and about her present, and I couldn’t help but root for her as she comes to terms with the decisions being made around her. Her story is given texture by the stories of the other characters, from the alcoholic former athlete to the current students finding their own voices to the retiring principal and his new RV. 

I loved Tracy Flick Can’t Win, and I think fans of Election (the book and the movie) will be doing themselves a disservice if they don’t read this and catch up with Dr. Flick in the prime of her life. 

Egalleys were provided by Scribner through NetGalley, with many thanks.
Was this review helpful?
Tracy Flick is back.  In the sequel to "Election," Tracy is once again "campaigning" for herself.  After high school, she continued with her plan to attend college and become a lawyer.  Her mother's illness, though, changed Tracy's course, and she found herself back in her hometown as an assistant principal at the high school.  Of course, Tracy does a stellar job, often covering for the Principal and taking over his duties.  When Principal Jack Weede finally announces his retirement, Tracy feels she certainly has the job in the bag, and is even assured she does by the President of the School Board.  However, other school board members feel that the football team needs the most support and when a former, award winning coach offers to come back on one condition (you know what it is!) Tracy's assured promotion is no longer as assured as what it seems.

I was privilege to receive a galley (Thank you NetGalley!) of this book, and read it right after reading "Election," the first Tracy Flick book. Tracy was so much more likable than she was in the first book, and the misogynistic males were much more awful.  Great sequel and highly recommend both books.
Was this review helpful?
It’s been more years that I care to admit since Election by Tom Perrotta came out. The movie was a dark comedy that resonated with me, mainly because its big screen adaptation starred an up and coming Reese Witherspoon who I always, not so secretly, wanted to be.

However, unlike Reese, (who seemed to go on to rule the world), the fictional Tracy Flick didn’t have the same sort of luck. Despite being an over the top, overachiever in high school, life is what happened while Tracy was making plans. Before long her presidential aspirations had to take a backseat. What she didn’t abandon though was her desire to be a leader. That’s what led her to ultimately being the vice principal of Green Meadow High School.

One day, the principal, Jack Weede, announces his retirement and with it, a chance for Tracy to move up to being the leader she knows she was born to be. Inspired by this new turn of events, Tracy finds a renewed passion for life that she thought she had lost years ago. Despite Tracy’s best efforts, however, her goal, seems to be just out of reach yet again.

Although this is a sequel of sorts to Election, this story doesn’t focus on Tracy alone. Rounding out the mix are the perspectives of peripheral characters who all play an indirect role in Tracy’s life. The book is depressing, yet oddly comedic, its timely climax culminating in an event that could be triggering to some. A worthwhile read for fans of the original, it might not be as memorable if you don’t know the backstory. Predated by a superior predecessor, it falls a little short, not unlike the character of Tracy Flick herself.
Was this review helpful?
I'm a huge fan of Election and of Perrotta's other novels, including Little Children and The Leftovers, so I was excited to get to read this one early. We once again get a captivating character in the iconic Tracey Flick, now a single mom and vice principal of a high school. When the principal announces he's retiring, she thinks she has a great shot at the job she once filled when he was out for medical reasons. But as a wealthy new school board member suggests the creation of a Hall of Fame for alums, Tracey and the rest of the nominations committee have to wrestle with ambition, secrets, anger, frustration, and doing what's right. A little draggy in the middle, with multiple POVs, we ultimately get a satisfying ending I've come to expect from Tom Perrotta.
Was this review helpful?