Young children idolize their parents. They might see brilliance, beauty, honesty or perfection where there is none. Sometimes when life imparts its’ painful truths, children still ignore these truths or at least they practice denial of them. That is because as children they want things to be ‘perfect’. If they are not, then they will do what they can to make it so.
Bryon Hemming is an English schoolboy in the early 1970s. He is a serious, clever, and well-behaved child from a family that is far from perfect even if appearances might hint otherwise. When his friend James tells him that two seconds will be added to time in order to balance time with the earth’s movement his belief in certainty wavers. Then – when he believes this time adjustment is taking place – his mother makes a mistake that will impact his entire life. Are the two seconds to blame? If not, then what or whom is to blame?
Rachel Joyce’s novel “Perfect” is a study in human nature. She explores human frailty in its many guises. She describes the dark and the light side of human nature. Not a mystery as such, but a psychological novel of astute perception. She manages to engage the reader with her characters to such a level that one might almost imagine that the novel’s scenes had been played out in real life. I found the dual story lines (which take place over forty years apart) both intriguing and engaging. Perhaps this is why, when the author provides the reader with a ‘twist’ in the narrative, the reader is so taken aback. Or at least this reader was.
Not a novel for those who want everything tied up neatly, “Perfect” makes sure that the reader is aware that life can be quite the opposite of perfect. Despite this somewhat depressing premise the novel leaves you with a feeling of hope.
Rachel Joyce is the author of the internationally bestselling novel “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”.
“Perfect” is the first novel I’ve read by this author. I highly recommend it. Yipee… I’ve found another favorite author.!