Cover Image: Tracy Flick Can't Win

Tracy Flick Can't Win

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Member Reviews

Tracy Flick is back!!

It was nice to revisit one of my favorite teen protagonists now that she's an adult, and it was really wonderful that Tom Perrotta was able to maintain her voice and characterization even though it's been a few decades (and many novels) since Election was first published. 

<spoiler> I initially thought this book was going to be a revision of Tracy's "affair" with her teacher, and while it was discussed and visited, this book is so much more than that and I'm very thankful that the author didn't get bogged down in philosophical discussions about abuse & trauma.</spoiler>

Tracy is the sum of her experiences, including what happened to her in Election, and she's just as driven now as she was when she was a teen-ager. It's refreshing to see her as a mid-40s woman reflecting on the events that got her to where she is at the start of this novel, and continuing to follow her dreams and ambitions in spite of all the hurdles she's faced. 

Thank you so much to the author, Scribner & Netgalley for the ARC! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope everyone who loved Election will pick this up when it's released this summer!
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I was so excited to receive an ARC of this because I just read Election recently and watched the movie. I struggled to finish this one. I really wanted to like it but didn’t. Thanks for the review copy, though.
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A book by this author is a new experience for me. The description caught my attention with having many family members in the school system. I love the way the author gets the reader involved in the personal lives of all the characters in the story including the updates on their lives at the end of the book. The story was an interesting quick read with both amusing incidents and also character reflection. I will definitely be checking out the movie Election to see how Tracy Flick evolved from a student into an administrative position. #TracyFlickCan’tWin #TomPerrotta #NetGalley
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Although I didn’t just love these characters, they were developed enough that I did care what happened to them. It was a quick, enjoyable read. I will always read Tom Perrotta’s books.
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As a fan of Tom Perrotta, to say I've been waiting years for an update on Tracy Enid Flick's life is a massive understatement. Flick, the titular main character, was first introduced in Perrotta's Election. Her growth through the author's eyes in his latest is about what i expected: Flick is still as driven and hyperfocused on running high school as she was when her character was in HS in Election. 

She is the only Election alum who makes it into the sequel, but no worries: Perrotta's new characters compliment Flick well (and give her a little PTSD along the way). Def recommended to those who enjoyed either the novel or movie adaptation of Election. Would love to see Reese Witherspoon revise this role.
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While the reader doesn't have to have viewed Election with Reese Witherspoon as high-schooler Tracy Flick, you might want to rent the movie just to feel the magic before reading Tracy Flick Can't Win.

Tracy is the all grown-up assistant principal of Green Meadows High School and things are looking good for her to be named principal with Jack's imminent retirement.  However, a series of incidents may keep this from happening.

The return of the school's star quarterback from years gone by, Vito Falcone, could prove problematic.  He is returning to be honored at the first Wall of Fame induction ceremony at the high school.  Complications arise with the president of the school board that make Tracy question her future in administration.  

Another very subtle yet ultimately explosive incident  brings this book to a thoughtful and redemptive conclusion.

You don't have to work in the education system to live alongside Tracy Flick in Tom Perrotta's continuation of Tracy's story.
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Tracy Flick is back! I loved reconnecting with Tracy. I was both surprised and not so surprised to find her as an assistant principal and single mom.
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One of fiction's most memorable characters, Tracy Flick,  is back ini Tom Perrotta's wonderful sequel to Education. Tracy is an assistant principal trying to move up to principal, but nothing ever comes easily to her, no matter how hard she works. Green Meadow High School is planning to honor two alums in its new Hall of Fame. A variety of characters involved narrate the story in a succession of chapters as it winds towards its dramatic climax.  This sequel more than lives up to the first book. I couldn't put it down!
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This was a fun look into the post-high school life of Tracy Flick (of Election fame). Tracy is now a vice-principal at a high school and a single mom. There are enough flashbacks to help you refresh your memory of what happened to Tracy back in high school so there's no need to re-read Election first. This book has a fairly big cast of characters so it isn't as focused on Tracy as Election was.  Tracy's life is far from perfect but is it finally her chance to not come in second when the current principal announces he's retiring? This isn't ground-breaking literature but anyone who enjoyed reading or watching Election back in the 1990's will appreciate this book.
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Perrotta revisits the character Tracy Flick from his 1998 book “Election.” The ambitious Flick, now middle aged and working as a school administrator, has experienced some of life’s disappointments but hopes to rekindle her winning ways by finally becoming head principal. Exploring the differences between youth and experience, Perrotta uses Flick’s voice as well as a variety of other characters’ viewpoints. These multiple perspectives propel the narrative at a breakneck pace. The characters (if not always likable) are interesting and understandable. This novel’s pacing, length, and themes make it an excellent book club choice.
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Tom Perrotta is always a reliably great novel and he continues that streak with Tracy Flick Can't Win.  It was a pleasure revisiting Tracy Flick and her Type A personality.  Highly recommended
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A sequel to the unforgettable Election. 
Even though this book was set in the present day, it still has that nostalgic feel to it. I was so happy to be reintroduced to Tracy at this stage of her life. 

Tracy Flick is a single mom and an assistant principal at a New Jersey high school. She finds herself going through the motions every day, and not working up to her full potential…almost settling for her position in life. But everything changes with the announcement of Jack Weede’s retirement from his long-held position as principal. With this coveted position soon opening up, and the prospect of a promotion, she finds herself thrown back into her work, re-energized with the prospect of new challenges and responsibilities. 
There was an abundant amount of things that she felt needed to be improved upon in the run-down school once she became principal, and a high school Hall of Fame wasn’t on that list. Yet Tracy finds herself enlisted to be a part of the selection committee for it(I feel the story picks up speed here, as the reader is introduced to some fun characters and subplots). 
Bringing back painful memories of the past, this new Hall of Fame search serves as a reminder to her how quickly plans get blown off course and where she may be headed if she continues down her current path.
Peppering in a little bit of paranoia, regret, and sexism, these are just a few things Tracy experiences as she tries to determine who she is and what she has lost on the journey to rediscovering herself.

I adored this book and flew through it in a day. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read. 

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Tom Perrotta gives us a fabulous sequel to his novel ELECTION.  Tracy flick's life hasn't turned out at all the way she planned (and she had BIG plans).  As she struggles with her job as an assistant high school principal, and her own self-esteem, Tracy reexamines her own high school experience.  Viewed through her adult eyes, and the wake of the #METOO movement, she realizes that one of the most impactful relationship she had was not at all what she had believed it to be.  As always, Perrotta gives us great characters and a compelling story.
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Even if you have never read or seen Election, you'll get something moving out of Tracy Flick Can't Win. Despite the title, the novel doesn't only center around Tracy, who now is a middle aged assistant principle vying for the top job. Instead, like other of Tom Perrotta's novels, it focuses on a larger cast of characters who you don't entirely see how they all relate until the very end. 

This novel is fast-paced, interesting, and at times heartbreaking. There isn't just right or wrong painted, but shades of grey for all of the characters and their actions. You do not have to like them, but the book challenges you to understand them and feel some empathy even if you don't like their actions. The person you feel the most for though is Tracy, who after a lifetime of trying and trying, she simply boils down to a person who no one quite likes enough to let win. This is especially apparent when she is part of a group who are selecting the first two people to be inducted into the high school hall of fame. She is to the world what the front desk lady is to the committee, fine but mostly there for optics. 

It's somewhat sad to read about the women that are overlooked, from Tracy to Marissa to Diane to Alice, but you get the sense at the end that despite everything, they find peace. That's all that's really needed. 

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I love Tom Perrotta. I loved Election- but I will admit that it's not my favorite book by him and I did prefer the movie to the book, which is a rare thing for me. I just can't imagine it getting better than Reese as Tracy. I was excited to read this and see what my favorite little perfectionist is up to in middle age. It's also been about 5 years since Tom Perrotta's last book, so I was anxious to dive into his newest book. We learn that Tracy Flick is an adult now and the assistant principal at a local NJ high school. So she's still playing runner up and once the current principal announces his retirement, she becomes obsessed with getting what she believes is a much deserved promotion. Tracy thinks the job should easily be hers, but then a well known techie from the school board decides to create a high school hall of fame and the plot, as they say, thickens. Tracy plays the games and jumps on board with the hall of fame to please the board and ultimately get their votes to become principal. We follow a few members of the high school as they work to nominate the hall of fame members, leading to the eventful ceremony. This was one of the things I really enjoyed: the format of alternating first person perspectives from many of the characters directly involved in making the choices of new Principal and Hall of Fame inductees, we also got third person narratives about the candidates for the Hall of Fame such as a former football star allegedly suffering from CTE (I say allegedly because this can't be proven until after death), the school's longtime front desk secretary, and a former student turned policeman. I don't want to say much more except that I thought the ending was a little much, but overall, I really enjoyed hanging out with Tracy again. I also enjoyed the school setting and all the third person testimonials, Definitely recommend.
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Perrotta’s new novel—a continuation of both Election’s style and one of its main characters, Tracey Flick—is an enthralling read by one of America’s great novelists. The passage and the consequences of time is central to the story, which is a darkly comedic look at the inextricable hold the past holds on the present, and perhaps the dangers of drudging it all back up.
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Not too shabby….
Nope…..not too shabby at all! 
Very fast speedy fun read! 

“Mom, Sophia said. Are you okay?” 
“I’m fine honey”
        [can’t you just hear Reese Witherspoon‘s voice?]
“I’m fine honey”. 

A fan of Tom Perrotta and his distinctive style? 
Enjoyed the book or movie, “Election”, with Reese Witherspoon playing the character role of Tracy Flick?….
Then ….
“Tracy Flick Can’t Win” …. the sequel to “Election”, should tickle your fancy. 

The chapters are noticeably short with shifting - provocative character viewpoints…. 
but it’s our star-protagonist- Tracy Flick we are rooting for. 

Tracy is 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 comes easy to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be…..

As an adult, a grown-up, an educator, Tracy Flint knew that what her drama teacher had done years ago was wrong. 
In the privacy of her own heart, though, she couldn’t manage to hate him for it, or even judge him that harshly. There was a migraing factor at work, and extenuating circumstance”. 
Tracy tells us that the circumstance with her. She wasn’t a normal high school girl. She was unusually smart and ambitious and way too mature for her own good. 

     “I never wanted to be famous, not really. It was more that fame was the necessary precondition for, and inevitable by-product of, the thing I really did want, which was to be the first woman President of the United States”. 
     “I know, there’s nothing more pathetic than a person talking about a dream that never happened, one that never even came close. It just makes you look like a fool. But being President wasn’t some girlish fantasy of mine, some cute little idea that dissolved at the first contact with reality”. 
     “Being President was my ambition not my dream”. 
      “There’s a difference”. 

“You failed”. 
“You did the best you could”. 
“You failed”. 
“You did the best you could”. 
      “Both those statements were true, and I excepted the mixed verdict. I was an adult; I had no choice. But I desperately wanted to go back in time, to find the girl I used to be and tell her how sorry I was for letting her down, that fierce young woman who never had a chance, the one who got crushed”. 

Tracy Flick is more subdued this time around. 
She has mellowed in middle age. 
Setbacks are opportunities…
She was strong, smart, a fighter, and she believed in herself!  
      ….[the perils of a well-determined woman].

Wonderful engaging comic novel….smart, funny, brutal and messy. 

Reading Tom Perrotta is as delicious as Häagen-Dazs rum raisin ice cream!
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I was SO excited to read this - and while I am glad I did and I did enjoy it - it didn't quite meet my high expectations.  The ending especially disappointed me.  I work in a school, so found it funny/sad how true it is that so many men get accolades, while the women actually do the work....!  Enjoyable read, and had I not read election, probably would have enjoyed it more - but I set myself up with expectations.
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Tracy Flick is back! 25 years later, she has gone from overachieving high school student to underachieving Assistant Principal at Green Meadow High -- underachieving in at least the sense that she did not realize her ambition to be President of the US, or even a lawyer.

And as was the case in her first turn in Tom Perrotta's 1998 novel Election (even better known as Reese Witherspoon's character in Alexander Payne's 1999 movie), Tracy Flick can't win -- as you can tell by the title. No matter how hard she tries -- and of course she always tries too hard -- she just can't win.

This time around, Tracy is the leading candidate to become GMHS's next Principal. To help her candidacy, she agrees to participate in a publicity stunt, the creation of a GMHS Hall of Fame along with a former graduate who has struck it big in tech and has come back to his old hometown as a big muckety muck.

Perrotta changes the format slightly -- while we still get alternating first person testimonial vignettes from many of the characters directly involved in making the choices of new Principal and Hall of Fame inductees, we also get third person narrative about the candidates for the Hall of Fame -- a former football star suffering from CTE, the school's longtime front desk secretary, and a former student turned policeman.

This is all good fun, as was Election, with relevant themes about contemporary suburban life, appropriately set in New Jersey, very snappily written by Perrotta -- a quick and entertaining read of the highest standard.

My only qualm is the way it ends with an externality -- having been totally driven by character to that point, the same ends could have been more satisfyingly achieved via character. Even though you could totally see it coming, I was still hoping that Tracy and Co. could work things out on their own, for better and/or worse, without having that happen.

But just a relatively minor quibble. Otherwise, loved it, happy to have had a chance to revisit a great character form the past. Can Reese Witherspoon reprise this role in a movie version?

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and author for kindly providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I have never read or seen Election but I was familiar with the character to Tracy Flick and was interested to see where she'd be in middle age. This was a very quick and enjoyable read with memorable characters and shifting perspectives. Tom Perrotta does a great job at making the characters specific and memorable. I wished the book had been a little longer because I was having so much fun with them. Now I'm planning to check out Election and am looking back to see if there are any Perrotta books I've missed over the last few years!
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