Kakutani’s reading seems lazy to me. She’s misjudged these folks — not to mention Hornby’s intentions — and is punching herself silly, chasing after her straw men.
So many of Perrotta’s observations of suburban life are so spot-on — I especially like the way that his lead characters absolutely adore their children while still resenting somewhat the life-changes they’ve caused — but the narrative voice never quite transcends the banality of the lives it is documenting. Maybe that’s the point. I doubt it.