New York Times bestselling author Tom Perrotta’s first book is "more powerful than any coming-of-age novel" —The Washington Post
Bad Haircut explores the themes that have fascinated Perrotta throughout his career: suburban rituals and mores; sports and religion; the cheerful cheesiness of American consumer life; public tests of manliness; and the moral dilemmas faced by ordinary people, parents, and teenagers alike. Perrotta has continued to explore these subjects in novels from Election to The Abstinence Teacher.
The ten rich stories here are linked by a single protagonist: Buddy, an adolescent suburban New Jersey boy who is truly seeing his world for the first time and already finding it both mysterious and lacking. Whether he’s out on a Boy Scout trip with his mother and discovering that his mother actually knows—and has a history with—the man inside the battered foam hot dog costume in "The Weiner Man", feeling the first glimmer that sex might actually be possible for him in "Thirteen", or finding himself swept along on a prank gone very wrong in "Snowman," Buddy is both a recognizable American boy and a trademark Perrotta hero. Bad Haircut is a moving, spare book from a writer who, even this early in his career, had an assured sense of the complexity of his characters’ emotional landscapes.
“More powerful than any coming-of-age novel I’ve read recently…These stories of the ‘70s deserve to be read by everyone who grew up in that blighted decade.—The Washington Post
“Somewhere between Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’ and Princeton’s tennis courts lies the New Jersey of these darkly tender, simply written tales about growing up in the Garden State in the 1970s.”—The New York Times Book Review
“His stories remind me…in their wit and humanity and cumulative impact, of Philip Roth’s Goodbye Columbus. Like that book, Perrotta’s funny and deeply touching collection marks the arrival of a writer who’s here for the long haul.”—Tobias Wolff
“So sharp and sure in its description of growing up…Because this set of stories, like those of J.D. Salinger, are so based in the kind of truth that spans generations, no reference to a particular decade is needed.”—Hartford Courant
“First-rate fiction…In its modesty it sheds a soft light on that state of eternal dread that is adolescence. Best of all, it is that rarest product of the ‘70s: It doesn’t leave us feeling cheated.”—San Francisco Examiner