Friday, January 10, 2014

Perfect by Rachel Joyce - TLC Book Review

Perfect by Rachel Joyce
Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (January 14, 2014)

Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours

** FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of Perfect from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Why? Perfect just has a classic sound to it...a child who becomes the parent, London, Cambridge, clock towers, fogs, and moors.  

What Now? Perfect is a keeper.  Now, I must get my hands on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry!

Golden Lines

"When she cleans, I have to stay outside.  Sometimes I'm not sure my mother wants me." With this confession, James studied his fingertips and fell quiet again. (90)

Andrea said, "This is what happens when women go to work.  We can't be men.  We are females.  We have to behave like females." (95)

Nothing happened.  Nothing happened, Byron.
It did, though.  He knew it. (117).

"Was there no salt please? he asked.
"Salt?" his mother replied.
"Yes," he said. "Salt."
"What about salt?"
"You seem preoccupied, Diana."
"Not at all, Seymour.  You were saying something.  About salt."
"I was saying I don't taste any.  On my dinner." (138)

James was deeply troubled by the news of Jeanie's two stitches.  "This is not good," he said.  "It does not reflect well on your mother." (185)

"You think you can invite me for tea and then have a better idea and drive off and forget all about me."  (247)

Where did this begin?  With two seconds?  A bridge over the pond?  Or was it there from the very beginning, when his parents decided their son's future should be golden? (344)

If only - My God, if only I'd never told you about those two seconds." (364)

Amazon Summary:  Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other: his school uniform draped over his wooden desk chair, his sister arguing over the breakfast cereal, the click of his mother’s heels as she crosses the kitchen. But when the three of them leave home, driving into a dense summer fog, the morning takes an unmistakable turn. In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, eleven-year-old Byron understands that from now on nothing can be the same.  What happened and who is to blame? Over the days and weeks that follow, Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Unable to trust his parents, he confides in his best friend, James, and together they concoct a plan. . . .

 As she did in her debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce has imagined bewitching characters who find their ordinary lives unexpectedly thrown into chaos, who learn that there are times when children must become parents to their parents, and who discover that in confronting the hard truths about their pasts, they will forge unexpected relationships that have profound and surprising impacts. Brimming with love, forgiveness, and redemption, Perfect will cement Rachel Joyce’s reputation as one of fiction’s brightest talents.

What I Liked

Diana - the mother...the stepford wife who dared to wonder if there was another life somewhere.

Byron - the intelligent young son who loves his mother

James - the young friend and his "Operation Perfect folder."

"Jim" - the damaged grown man who remembers

The end...whoa, Nelly...I'm not surprised often...really, I'm not, but Joyce got me; she got me good! A powerful, powerful read.

What I Didn't Like

Seymour - really, who could like this fella?  An arrogant ass of a husband, father, and human being.  I swear he reminded me of Mommie Dearest.

Andrea Lowe - you'll find out.  Why does one life have to be sacrificed for another? And, how can anyone justify being the sacrificer?

Overall Recommendation

Oh, you need to read this.  
Redemption, love, forgiveness, life, greed, want, friendship, expectations, and on and on and on.  This story will sadden you, touch your heart, and leave you with hope.

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour

Monday, December 16th:  Great Imaginations
Tuesday, December 17th:  She Treads Softly
Wednesday, December 18th:  A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Thursday, December 19th:  Lit and Life
Friday, December 20th:  BookNAround
Monday, December 23rd:  Bibliotica
Monday, December 23rd:  Books Speak Volumes
Thursday, December 26th:  The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Friday, December 27th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, December 30th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, January 2nd:  50 Books Project
Friday, January 3rd:  Not in Jersey
Monday, January 6th:  The Blog of Litwits
Monday, January 6th:  Books and Movies
Tuesday, January 7th:  The Scarlet Letter
Wednesday, January 8th:  Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Thursday, January 9th:  A Bookish Affair
Friday, January 10th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Monday, January 13th:  Books a la Mode
Tuesday, January 14th:  Caribousmom
Wednesday, January 15th:  A Novel Review
Thursday, January 16th:  From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 17th:  Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, January 20th:  Bibliophiliac
Tuesday, January 21st:  5  Minutes for Books
Wednesday, January 22nd:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, January 23rd:  A Bookworm’s World
Friday, January 24th:  My Bookshelf
Monday, January 27th:  The Daily Mayo
Tuesday, January 28th:  Cold Read


  1. I have Harold Fry - can tuck it in with Harlot's Tale if you send me your address.....

    1. Patty, you are too sweet! I'll email you my address :) THANKS!

  2. Alas, I wanted to love this one but could rarely muster interest in it. I kept reading it 'cause I wanted to love it the way I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and because I kept assuming it was about to get better, but this book was simply not a good fit for me.

    1. The circumstances were so depressing that I was afraid it was going to end without a glimmer of hope. I wouldn't have liked it had it ended with everyone's circumstances so dire. I also wouldn't have liked it had it ended like a fairy tale. Perfect actually reminded me a lot of A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, which is one of my all time favorite novels. Books do touch us all in different ways :):)

  3. I wonder if I would like this? I don't have the stomach for much! :) If it's not graphic and/or gruesome, I can read it. Just so you know, I can't watch any kind of crime show on TV---I can't sleep if I do. The story line sounds so intriguing---I am going to see if I can get it on my kindle….I'll let you know if I read it.

    1. Roan, I don't remember any graphic scenes in Perfect nor much language...while there is one character who comes into the story later who is very free with "the F word." Just thought you should know. :)

  4. The cover did not do it for me so when I came across it the first time, I passed on it. I just realized a little while ago that it's the same author as Harold Fry so I requested it and hope to have it soon.

    1. Can you believe I haven't read Harold Fry? Going to remedy that soon though :)

  5. Loved Harold Fry, must read this -- thanks for sharing Patti

  6. Thanks for the warning. If I get all of my housework/school stuff done today, I may download it to my iPad...

    1. I always like people to know what they're getting into. One of my mentors at JC asked me about Gone Girl. I knew that despite all the hype surrouding the novel (which is why she had even heard of it) that the language would offend her greatly, so I made sure she had an honest account of what she would be getting herself into.

  7. I haven't read Harold Fry either. Now I have two books to add to my TBR list. Terrific review!

  8. I liked Perfect but I loved Harold Fry. Joyce is definitely a writer to watch!

  9. Thanks for being a part of the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.