The movies have been very, very good to Tom Perrotta. His novel Election went unpublished until Alexander Payne adapted it into a film. The adaptation of Little Children garnered Perrotta an Oscar nomination. And his latest satire, The Abstinence Teacher (St. Martin's Press, $25), is set for a 2008 release. What a movie it will be: Divorced suburban mother of two fights the Tabernacle crazies who have taken over her school.
An Esquire editor and a seven-year-old review the new graphic biography of Ronald Reagan. Needless to say, the kid's got some questions about Iran-Contra.
By Tyler Cabot
There's no room for analysis in the stripped-down visuals and dialogue of Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography (Hill and Wang, $17), by Andrew Helfer. It's a life told in tiny pictures. We see Reagan run for governor, then president. His former national-security advisor attempts suicide, the Berlin Wall comes down. It's an abbreviated narrative, for sure. But it's also as compelling as it is serious and objective. There's no pretense, postulating, or setting up. Just the essential plot points. Just the story.
I didn't know that Ronald Reagan existed before I read this book. I learned that Ronald Reagan at first was a boy without hope. Then he started going to church. At the beginning, I couldn't follow who the main character was. But the pictures were good. The most interesting thing was that he got shot and survived. The writer really should tell us where he got shot, in what part of the body. I wanted to know. I think Ronald Reagan was a good man, except when he traded 21 guns for a hostage. And at the end of the book he had a nasty expression on his face, so I didn't think he was up to any good. -- Zeke Warren-Weigmann, age 7