Tracy Flick Can't Win
by Tom Perrotta
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Pub Date 07 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 07 Jun 2022
Simon & Schuster Canada, Scribner
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.
Among her many other responsibilities, Tracy is enlisted to serve on the Selection Committee for the brand-new Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers bad memories for Tracy, and leads her to troubling reflections about the trajectory of her own life and the forces that have left her feeling thwarted and disappointed, unable to fulfill her true potential.
As she broods on 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?
In classic Perrotta style, Tracy Flick Can’t Win is a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 21 members
Thank you, Tom Perrotta, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for this ARC!
What a fun, satisfying read! I came to this book without having read Election (though had watched the movie adaption many times) and can confirm it reads well as a stand-alone. No prior knowledge is needed.
Multiple points of view told in short, punchy chapters build a full story that is laugh-out-loud funny as well as unexpectedly heart-wrenching.
I found myself wishing for a little more insight into Tracy's relationship with her daughter but I think the lack of detail there is intentional. Tracy's identity as a mother isn't a huge part of who she is.
The glimpses into the lives of the other characters were also very compelling.
Thoroughly enjoyed it. 4 Stars.
This was a fun read. The story is about Tracy coming to terms with her life path in comparison to her high school plans and ambitions. The same teenage fierceness and drive is there within a more aware and kinder understanding. The story touches on the imbalances of power in 'Me Too' situations and on what we as society value and choose to honour. We get perspective from several other characters but it is Tracy that I wanted more of as well as Vito's redemption path.
'I'm not angry. That's just how my face gets when I'm thinking.'
'She was hard at work, as usual, hammering away at her keyboard like she was mad at the letters.'
'I was the one with the mission; she was just support staff.'
'New fires kept popping up, and I was the person with the extinguisher.'
'That's the thing about a can of worms. It doesn't always come with a label on it.'
'I know, Principal of a midsize suburban high school isn't the same as Senator or Judge or CEO, but it's something, and it becomes your identity. Let go of that and you become a smaller, sadder person.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Tracy Flick can't win or can she? It sure doesn't seem like she can however she never gives up. Great cast of players with an ending you won't see coming. I loved this book and can see it on the big screen.
I have not seen the first book in this series nor did I see the Reese Witherspoon movie. Indeed I can't even remember now quite what it was in the summary Netflix provides that prompted me to request this book.
There is something about it that is remarkable. As soon as I started reading it I was captured. I had to keep reading. The narrative shifts between characters who each have their own point of view. And their own histories - all of which are somehow intertwined, and inseparable. I cannot say any of them is especially likeable or for whom I felt some kind of identification. This is a world that preoccupies Americans but is quite foreign to me. High school seems to be the place where people find out who they are, but only in a certain limited number of available roles. Those who fit in and those who stand out.
Tracy Flick wanted to be Someone - but as Assistant Principal feels she gets no respect. She does all the work, someone else gets the credit. I know about yearbooks - but do they really have a Hall of Fame? They seem to agree that one is needed - and it seems almost inevitable that the quarterback gets pride of place, even though others are obviously better people. No I won't write spoilers. I am sure that once you start reading this book you will have to keep reading to see how it all works out.
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