Perfect by Rachel Joyce
I’ll be honest. I went into it expecting it to be one of those books that everyone makes a huge fuss out of and then I don’t get – or at least don’t enjoy as much.
It wasn’t. And I’m not just saying that.
“Perfect” refers to a decision to change time. “Perfect” refers to Byron’s life before his friend saw fit to casually tell him about said decision. “Perfect” refers to how even perfect things are fragile and rarely as good as they seem. There are certain things you shouldn’t mess around with; time apparently is one of them.
I spent most of it thinking I understood why it was good. The story’s well written and it has an unusual dual narrative – not just two stories, but a past-tense story and a present-tense story that come together in one of the best-written twists I’ve seen in a while. I’m admittedly someone who’s terrible at guessing what’s coming, but I really thought I had it figured out this time. I really didn’t.
That said, don’t let the two stories throw you off. The first switch was a little jarring and I did sometimes find myself reading an extra chapter because I wanted to get back to the “main” story, but stick with it. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’ve been considering buying and haven’t because of the 1972 setting, go get it. The year isn’t overly important and time-specific things don’t get in the way of anything, and I say that as someone not a big fan of books set in the past.
A mini-lecture about ARCs
First, a tip: I actually asked for this by accident. It was an impulsive request after a too-brief Google search that had me thinking it was actually a different book by the same name. So be careful. (Not that I have any regrets!)
And the preach: I recently saw a tweet along the lines of “ARCs are not free books, they’re for publicity purposes.” It wasn’t directed at me, but it might as well have been: at the time of reading I had one I’d read and not reviewed and another – this one, so I have now! – I hadn’t even read. And I’ll admit, every time I get one the ‘free book!’ thought does pass through my mind.
But they’re not. The “price” of that free book is ten minutes of your time to write a review and help spread the word. If you’re not willing to pay that price, leave your copy for someone who will. It’s true that “my one review won’t make or break it”, but spare a thought for the author; where would they be if everyone thought that way?
What are you still doing here? Go! Buy!