Election (novel)

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First edition cover
AuthorTom Perrotta
CountryUnited States
GenreBlack comedy
PublisherPutnam Adult
Publication date
March 9, 1998
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback) & Audiobook
Pages200 pp
813/.54 21
LC ClassPS3566.E6948 E43 1998

Election is a 1998 novel by Tom Perrotta. It is a black comedy about a high school history teacher who attempts to sabotage a manipulative, ambitious girl's campaign to become school president. The novel was adapted into a film of the same title prior to publication, but not filmed until fall of 1998.


In 1992, amidst the U.S. Presidential Elections that year, students at high school in Winwood, in suburban New Jersey, are preparing to vote for their school president. Tracy Flick is an unpopular girl but very ambitious, intelligent, and manipulative (and even described as attractive and rather buxom by some teachers and fellow students). However, she is not quite as perfect as her classmates assume. She had a heated sexual affair with her former teacher, and after Tracy told her mother of their relationship, his career and marriage were ruined. One of Tracy's current teachers, James "Jim" McAllister, known as "Mr. M." to his students, learns that Tracy is taking part in the election, and feeling that Tracy needs to be taken down a notch, prompts Paul Warren (a student of whom he approves) to run against her. In turn, Paul's outcast lesbian sister, Tammy, begins a reckless campaign to be school president in retaliation to her ex-friend who is now dating Paul. Mr. M ultimately loses his job as a teacher when it is found that he has sabotaged the election by pocketing Tracy's winning votes, making Paul the winner of the presidency. Mr. M then ends up working in a car dealership.


The novel was a moderate success and received critical praise. The San Francisco Chronicle called it a "darkly eerie and winning new novel", and The New York Times wrote that the novel "provides gratifyingly exact and telling portraits of the kids themselves. Solid plotting guarantees that the reader really does want to learn who wins when the ballots are finally counted."[1]


  1. ^ "New York State Writers Institute - Election". Archived from the original on 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-11.