A new movie opening around the country this week is based on the novel Little Children by Tom Perrotta.

The movie stars

The movie stars
Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly. What more do you need to know?

The guy, known as The Prom King, in this book has to decide between running off with his summer-girlfriend or sticking around with his beautiful wife. There are plenty of complications to keep you wanting to read straight through to the end.

Connelly appeared in
Seven Minutes in Heaven, a 1985 release that was filmed partly in Nutley and Bloomfield, N.J. She played a high-school girl living alone in a big house who let her best friend, a boy live with her, platonically, of course.

She later played a dutiful wife opposite Russell Crowe in
A Beautiful Mind, a 2001 film that was partly filmed at the former Essex County Isolation Hospital in Belleville, N.J. A portion of that film set is now City Homes at Essex Park whose streets were recently renamed.

I first read New Jersey native Tom Perrotta in
Italian American Writers on New Jersey: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose.

A while ago I ordered Bad Haircut - Stories of the Seventies, and it was so weird to be reading and living on those New Jersey streets again.

I picked up Joe College. Now, that book was such a hoot, I was afraid of becoming Perrottatized! Turns out that I worked with a lot of the same characters Joe College worked with, although a decade earlier and not on a roach coach. But it was all too real to me.

So the latest thing I pick up, and find so hard to put back down, is Little Children. I was a good ways through the book before I remembered reading something about a movie based on the book in my hands.

So I Google Perrotta because I remember reading that he did the screenplay. Well, sure enough, there's the info and a
film trailer on the film made from the words on the pages in my hands.

Now, I'm thinking of these characters in terms of the actresses in their roles.

There are two things to do. 1: Go out and see the movie now that I've finished the book. And 2: pick up the last two Perrotta books I don't have: Election and The Wishbones.

It's the book cover. What's up with the goldfish?
Yes, yes, that's all very good, but by now you want to know why I keep reading this fellow. Don't you? (Why else would you have read this far?)
It goes back to one of the stories in BAD HAIRCUT. The story, SNOWMAN, starts out with two teens on their way to shoot hoops on a super cold north-Jersey winter day. They have a snow shovel to clear the court and a basketball.
Turns out that on the way, they have an altercation with another teen on a bike who gets the best of the teen telling the story.
The would-be basketball players split up when the tale-teller splits with some hoods to go find the kid on the bike to beat him without even gettting off the bike.
So the tale teller and one of his hood friends spy the bike kid staring at a snowman. The bike kid gets away but the hood and the tale-teller stare down the snowman - which is meticulously created and has a dog photo wrapped in plastic.
The boys figure the snowman belongs to the bike kid and the hood smashes it with the crowbar he was carrying to use on the bike kid.
But here's the thing, the story takes a heck of a twist when the boys go into the house to wait for the bike kid to come home.
And though it's been a month or two since I read this story, I still can't get it out of my head.
And that's why I keep reading Perrotta.
Copyright © 2006 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission.

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