our annual book exchange, I offered the book groupers a chance to review Rachel Joyce's new book, Perfect. My friend, Kim, decided to give it a try, and now she has become my first ever guest blogger. Here is Kim's review of Perfect:
Apparently, people with OCD want things to be perfect, because they believe that then nothing bad can happen. As a result of Byron's obsession with the addition of two seconds to the yearly clock things go horribly wrong in the summer of 1972, in Rachel Joyce's book, Perfect.
To begin with things did not seem to be going well in Byron's household. Especially not on the weekends when his father came home from the city. Perhaps his father also suffers from the OCD, as shown by his insistence that his wife wear certain clothes, that nobody touch anything in his office and his excessive car washing. I believed that he was just more worried about what people thought about him than that he was mentally ill, but perhaps I was wrong.
Diana, Byron's mother, really let me down. Besides being mostly (but not completely) controlled by her husband, she desperately loved her children, but could not fight her unhappiness with her life. Depression medication did not work, and at times I thought that she might be an alcoholic. Can you drink yourself to death without alcohol? Can drowning permeate your body that much? Why didn't Diana know that she was being taken advantage of? It was obvious to her son.
We, the reader, were led to believe that the flash forwards to Jim were to James. James, Byron's best friend, was odd, but I wasn't sure if he was mentally ill. I was quick to judge James' mother and jump to conclusions. Instead, his mother did better for him than Diana did for Byron.
The ending seemed a little "Silver Lining Playbook" to me. I am not sure that love can cure OCD. I would like to think so. God bless Eileen and everyone at Jim's work for sticking with him. Tears were in my eyes (at work) at the end.
To me this is what makes a book great:
1. Hooks me from the beginning
2. I can't wait to read more of it and find out what happens
3. Moves me (maybe to tears - maybe not) because I care about the characters so much
By that criteria, I guess that Perfect is great. In fact, I find myself frequently thinking back on it even days after I finished it. Would I pick it as a book group book? I went back and forth on this, mostly because I am known for reading too many mental illness books. Why I think this would be a great book club book is because it would provide a lively discussion. Besides, it is an enjoyable, complex, and surprising read.
Thanks, Kim! Kim and I generally like the same books, so I think that I will have to read Perfect soon. Full disclosure: I was offered and accepted a free copy of Perfect, which I let Kim borrow. No promises were made, no payments were received. Perfect will be released on January 14, 2014. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Still Reading: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I am really loving this book, but wish that I had more time to read it.
Still Listening to: Winter of the World by Ken Follett