Book Review: Perfect by Rachel Joyce

Perfect by Rachel Joyce
Published by Random House on 2013-07-04
Genres: Fiction, General
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Random House

Summer, 1972: In the claustrophobic heat, eleven-year-old Byron and his friend begin ‘Operation Perfect’, a hapless mission to rescue Byron’s mother from impending crisis.

Winter, present day: As frost creeps across the moor, Jim cleans tables in the local café, a solitary figure struggling with OCD. His job is a relief from the rituals that govern his nights. Little would seem to connect them except that two seconds can change everything. And if your world can be shattered in an instant, can time also put it right?

I received this book for free from Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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My Review:

Rachel Joyce has been on my radar for a while now.  I remember the first time I saw the cover of her first book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – I was completely smitten with it.  In fact, I fell in love with it so much that I have yet to pick up the book for fear that it won’t live up to the cover.  But then, I picked up Perfect, excited to see it offered by NetGalley, and I was immediately sucked into the story.  The premise: two boys in 1972 and a problem with time, appealed to me and I couldn’t wait to find out what exactly the big mystery was.story of the story as well as the modern day problems of Jim.  I sympathized with the boys and wondered just when the mystery surrounding James would be completely revealed.  I was, frankly, obsessed.  I stayed up late to find out just what would happen and I will say that it was totally worth the reveal.

I have to say that I thoroughly admire Joyce’s way of weaving a web of a story.  I was captured completely by both the history of the story as well as the modern day problems of Jim.  I sympathized with the boys and wondered just when the mystery surrounding James would be completely revealed.  I was, frankly, obsessed.  I stayed up late to find out just what would happen and I will say that it was totally worth the reveal.

What I found most interesting, however, was Joyce’s treatment of differences.  I loved how sensitive she was when dealing with a modern-day Jim, and how patient she was in telling the back-story of Byron and James.  I will admit to being a bit frustrated, at times, at the leisurely path the story took to get to the ending, but I wasn’t disappointed.  I do want to say, however, that if you are looking for an ending that will make you gasp out loud and exclaim about how crazy good this book is, you may not find it here.  Instead, what I experienced was a deep sense of satisfaction when I closed the book.

I have to say that if a book moved a bit slowly at times is the only criticism I can make, then I have to say that Perfect by Rachel Joyce is just nearly … well, perfect.  I would recommend this story to any that feel as if they need to explore the quieter, but just as desperate, side of life.

Check out these reviews!

  • “This book is a well-crafted, strange little tale of what time means and how it can affect the most mundane parts of life.” –  The Blog of LitWits
  • ‘”Perfect is quirky, well written and, I suspect, just as great a book club selection as Harold Fry.” –  So Misguided
  • “With its lasting discussions of guilt and innocence, Perfect is the type of story that compels and haunts.” – That’s What She Read

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