I have just finished reading Perfect by Rachel Joyce.
Her first book – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – is one of my favourite books. I loved Harold Fry because the writing has this sense of lightness throughout. I started reading and couldn’t stop. It was ‘flash light worthy’. I think I was up until 2am reading it. With a box of tissues.
Harold Fry is a book I recommend to everyone without provisos.
Perfect has a lot sadder feel throughout. In fact half way through I almost gave up because I couldn’t take the sense of impending doom. I was skim reading because I wanted to know what happened but I couldn’t cope with the sadness. Eventually I went to Amazon and checked out the reviews. Basically they confirmed that it was unremittingly sad, but worth reading for the ending. So I kept on going.
Soon I was hooked, and the rest of my life was put aside for this book. I actually guessed the ending so it wasn’t a surprise, but the denouement was beautifully handled. I am still thinking about how cleverly she managed the story before and after the denouement; and am still putting the pieces together.
I love books that leave you with a sense of loss afterwards. When you have been totally carried away into another world, and there is a sense of sadness to leave the characters and return to real life.
Afterwards I read these reviews – at The Telegraph and The Guardian – and they really disappointed me in that they just didn’t seem to convey how brilliant this book is. They focused on elements that just seemed irrelevant to me. To me this book was about intelligence, and loneliness, and mistakes, and good versus evil.
Not perfect but worth reading.