The hardest reviews, the ones I sometimes never get around to writing, are for the books that profoundly touch me in some way. The fear that whatever I would say might not be worthy overwhelms me. And it's how I feel about Rachel Joyce's Perfect.
The world is a different place when you are a child. The things that catch your attention, the things that worry you are beyond what an adult can see or understand.
What if your best friend, the cleverest boy in your school, tells you that two seconds are being added to the day but you weren't sure exactly when? And what if something terrible happened because of that? How could it change the course of your world and to what lengths would you need to go to save someone you love?
"Two seconds are huge. It’s the difference between something happening and something not happening. It’s very dangerous.”
In Perfect, when something unfortunate does occur, the quiet, underlying sense of dread begins to affect the reader as well as the characters.
"Sometimes caring for something already growing is more perilous than planting something new."
There's a mystery here too. The story alternates between 1972 with eleven-year-old Byron's life and forty years later with Jim's struggle with mental illness. How do these pieces fit together?
"The rift between the past and this moment is so huge it is like being marooned on a square of ice, seeing other patches of his life also floating around him, and unable to piece them together."
Sometimes I was annoyed briefly when I had to leave one world for the other, put down one thread to follow the other; but it is impossible not to be drawn into the web of Rachel Joyce's tale. The ending is the only one I can imagine now.
Bottom Line: Beautiful writing and elegant plotting make Perfect a book to be experienced. It will be on everyone's best book list for 2014. Highly recommended.
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Random House
No. of Pages: 400 pages
Copyright: January 14, 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsSource: NetGalley
Disclaimer: A copy of Perfect was provided to me by Random House/Net Galley for review purposes.
Rachel Joyce is the author of the international bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. She is also the award-winning writer of more than twenty plays for BBC Radio 4. She started writing after a twenty-year acting career, in which she performed leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and won multiple awards. Rachel Joyce lives with her family on a Gloucestershire farm. (Source: AMAZON)