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Tracy Flick Can't Win  By  cover art

Tracy Flick Can't Win

By: Tom Perrotta
Narrated by: Lucy Liu,Dennis Boutsikaris,Jeremy Bobb,Ramona Young,Ali Andre Ali,Pete Simonelli,full cast
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Publisher's Summary

“Tom Perrotta is an auto-buy for me. He's one of the great writers that we have today. I love this book. You'll read it fast. It moves you. He's so authentic. And you'll see what happened to Tracy Flick.”—Harlan Coben

A pitch-perfect novel about ambition, coming-of-age in adulthood, and never really leaving high school politics behind—featuring New York Times bestselling author Tom Perrotta’s most iconic character of all time. 

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 10-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.

©2022 Tom Perrotta. All rights reserved. (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Lucy Liu, Dennis Boutsikaris, and other talented performers rivet listeners with this sequel to Election.... Liu as Flick sounds no-nonsense yet girlish as she voices Traci's midlife frustration and hope for a promotion. Boutsikaris, as retiring Principal Weede, has a world-weary, wistful tone.... This lively ensemble captivates right up to the audiobook's unexpected, timely conclusion." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Tracy Flick Can't Win

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Lacked focus

Unlike his singleminded heroine Tracy Flick, Tom Perrotta seemed all over the place on this one. So many characters and subplots …so many different points of view. Some of the subplots were interesting, and might have been developed into full fledged novels of their own, but others were so insubstantial I didn’t understand the point. Perrotta seemed intent on hitting all the hot button social issues — Me Too, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter…the book felt almost like an apology for any unwoke transgressions the author might have committed in Election.

That said, even three star Tom Perrotta is a delight to listen to, and I was sorry when this story came to an end — an ending so abrupt (and to my mind contrived) I wondered if Perrotta had been under some sort of deadline pressure and needed to wrap things up in a hurry.

The connection to Election was a stretch for me. Election had a wonderful dark humor, which was not present in the sequel. And after Reese Witherspoon nailed Tracy’s character so brilliantly in the movie, it was jarring to find her reappearing in the voice of Lucy Liu, whose interpretation — though perfectly fine in its own right — was quite different. All in all, I’d give Tracy Flick Can’t Win a B-.

5 people found this helpful

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Just read the book to me

The over-acting of the readers and the staccato delivery of the person reading Tracy's voice are distracting from the story itself. I cannot finish this. I would like to return to the days of someone simply reading the book, not emoting and using so many voices. This type of delivery colors the story and interferes with what I am imagining about the characters. I would think authors would be annoyed by this subjectivity as well as it has the potential to change what they intended. In the future, I will listen to samples before buying.

4 people found this helpful

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Audio format not ideal

There are too many characters to follow, & having different narrators for each character doesn't solve that problem. If I hadn't had a library copy of the actual book, I'd have had trouble keeping it straight. The story was enjoyable but I'm going to avoid titles where there are multiple narrators.

1 person found this helpful

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Truly terrible

I could barely make it through. Literally no story. Probably the worst book I’ve ever listened to on audible. Narrators were fine. Surprisingly Lucy Liu sounded the most forced/unnatural.

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Outstanding

Really well done in so many ways. Must read “Election”first before you will appreciate the book.

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Dull and disjointed

This book did nothing for me. I couldn't even begin to care about the characters or the story line. All around disappointing.

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The perfect follow up

I loved Lucy Liu’s performance as Tracy Flick - it was so fitting. This book is exactly fitting for a sequel to Election. Loved it.

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Straight As

This book made me laugh out loud. Some dark humor but as a former educator, I was loving it! The use of multiple narrators was helpful and made the story flow. A+ for this one!!

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Awful

This was a rough attempt at piling every current social issue into one meaningless book. The characters never mattered. The storylines were sporadic and broken. It was literally just one person’s attempt to make every social issue show up, and it read like a steaming heap of garbage.

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Well, that was extremely gloomy …

I expected humor and a well-crafted story. This was all over the place and pointless.