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The Leftovers is a 2011 novel by American author Tom Perrotta chronicling life on earth after a rapture-like event takes some and leaves others behind.

Chapters and Character POV[]

  • Prologue (Laurie)

Part One: Three-Year Anniversary[]

  • Heroes' Day (Kevin)
  • A Whole Class of Jills (Jill)
  • Special Someone (Tom)

Part Two: Mapleton Means Fun[]

  • The Carpe Diem (Kevin)
  • Blue Ribbon (Nora)
  • Vow of Silence (Laurie)
  • Get a Room (Nora / Jill / Kevin)

Part Three: Happy Holidays[]

  • Dirtbags (Tom)
  • Snowflakes and Candy Canes (Kevin)
  • The Best Chair in the World (Nora)
  • The Balzer Method (Laurie / Kevin / Nora)

Part Four: Be My Valentine[]

  • A Better-than-average Girlfriend (Kevin / Nora)
  • The Outpost (Laurie / Jill)
  • Barefoot and Pregnant (Tom)
  • At the Grapefruit (Nora / Kevin / Jill)

Part Five: Miracle Child[]

  • Any Minute Now (Kevin / Tom / Laurie)
  • So Much to Let Go Of (Nora / Jill / Laurie)
  • I'm Glad You're Here (Tom / Kevin / Laurie / Jill / Nora)

Cultural References[]

Literature[]

  • Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (the Prologue mentions Laurie feeling pity for people she sees reading this Rapture- based Christian novel series in an airport or train)
  • Books Nora borrows from her sister Karen to pass the time include the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella, Mr. Right (possibly referring to the book series by Barbara Precourt), and Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner.
  • When an old man takes a long time in the bus restroom, one passenger jokes about him reading Leo Tolstoy's infamously long novel, War and Peace ("Dirtbags")
  • Kevin reads Andrew Meachem's American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House ("Snowflakes and Candy Canes")
  • The garish Christmas display seen in the G.R.'s Christmas slideshow includes an inflatable Grinch (from Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!) and a statue of Ebenezer Scrooge (from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol) ("The Balzer Method")
  • "To Build a Fire" by Jack London (Ouch and Kermit discuss the two versions of this short story, "Barefoot and Pregnant")
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Jill is having difficulty reading it; when Tom was in high school, he stabbed it with a steak knife, claiming he was trying to kill it before it killed him) (Tom Perrotta has cited Nathaniel Hawthorne's works overall as an influence on the novel The Leftovers, and he named the middle school where the dance occurs Hawthorne School in tribute)

Television[]

  • The "nerdy guy in the Verizon ads" is listed among the Departed, presumably referring to a series of ads from 2002-2011 featuring Paul Marcarelli ("Special Someone")
  • A "chick who'd been dissed on The Bachelor" is listed as one of the Departed. ("Special Someone") The lineups of G.R. males Jill has to view are compared to "a creepy religious version of The Bachelorette." ("So Much to Let Go Of")
  • Nora has made a ritual of watching Jeremy's favorite show, SpongeBob Squarepants, and journaling about it. She specifically references the 2002 episode "Snowball Effect" and the 2007 episode "Slimy Dancing."
  • Nora is much more dismissive of other "bland crap" her kids had watched such as Dora, Curious George, and Clifford the Big Red Dog.
  • Remembering the way Valentine's Day was mocked in her college days, Nora references the 1950s sitcom Leave It to Beaver ("Ward bringing June a heart-shaped box of ohocolates") ("At the Grapefruit")

Movies[]

  • Jill references the Harold Ramis movie Groundhog Day when she and Max end up getting a room again. ("Get a Room")
  • Christine enjoys the animated Disney movie Bolt on a bus; Tom does not enjoy it ("Dirtbags")
  • Kevin watches Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas morning ("The Balzer Method")

Plays[]

  • Our Town by Thorton Wilder (Jill has not started reading this play, even though they have been discussing it in English for the past three weeks, per "A Whole Class of Jills")
  • Ouch mentions one of the Harvard flagellants bragging about playing the lead role in a Harvard production of Stephen Schwartz's Godspell while whipping himself ("Barefoot and Pregnant")

Music[]

  • "Hawaii Five-O" by Morton Stevens (the horn section plays this TV theme repeatedly during the Heroes' Day parade in the chapter "Heroes' Day")
  • "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley & the Wailers (playing in the Frosts' Prius in "A Whole Class of Jills")
  • "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor (Mapleton High's "wandering troubadour" Jeff Oristaglio repeatedly sings this song in the hallways, "A Whole Class of Jills")
  • "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles (Matt Testa incorrectly states this as the song Jon Verbecki needed to fall asleep, "Special Someone")
  • "Julia" by the Beatles (this is the song Jon Verbecki listened to to fall asleep when he was young, "Special Someone")
  • "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glenn Campbell plays at the Safeway ("Vow of Silence")
  • "Litte Red Corvette" by Prince (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Nora and Karen dance and sing along, "Get a Room")
  • "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Nora says she has always liked the song, "Get a Room")
  • "Love Shack" by the B-52's (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Kevin and Nora dance, "Get a Room")
  • "Brick House" by the Commodores (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Kevin and Nora dance, "Get a Room")
  • "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" by James Brown (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Kevin and Nora dance, "Get a Room")
  • "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Kevin and Nora dance, "Get a Room")
  • "Turn the Beat Around" by Vickie Sue Robinson (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Kevin and Nora dance, "Get a Room")
  • "Surfer Girl" by the Beach Boys (plays at the November Adult Mixer; Kevin and Nora dance, "Get a Room")
  • "The Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby (plays at Daisy's Diner, "Snowflakes and Candy Canes")
  • "Rock the Casbah" by the Clash (Nora has a bike ride where her unconscious mind just keeps singing this song over and over, "The Balzer Method")
  • "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley & the Wailers (plays in the Frosts' car, "I'm Glad You're Here")
  • Departed celebrities include musicians John Mellencamp and Jennifer Lopez ("Special Someone")
  • Wayne is compared to Bruce Springsteen. ("Special Someone") Karen's husband Chuck is also said to like Springsteen. ("The Best Chair in the World")
  • Doug's passions apparently included the music of Tito Puente and Bill Frissell. ("The Best Chair in the World")
  • The music of the Grateful Dead is listed as a signature of the Barefoot People lifestyle ("Barefoot and Pregnant")

Celebrities[]

  • Other departed celebrities mentioned include Shaquille O'Neal, Adam Sandler, Greta Van Susteren, Vladimir Putin, and the Pope. ("Special Someone")
  • Mark Henning mentions "bionic sprinters," likely meant as a reference to Paralympics sprinter Oscar Pistorius (who, two years after the novel was released, gained wider notoriety for murdering his girlfriend) ("Dirtbags")
  • Jill gets Kevin a biography on Teddy Roosevelt for Christmas ("The Balzer Method")
  • Jill compares Adam and Scott Frost to Venus and Serena Williams ("At the Grapefruit")
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