Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Review: Perfect by Rachel Joyce
How many times have we convinced ourselves that we'd only missed a change so profound to our lives by a few second? Or that if only we'd been somewhere at a certain time could our luck have gone differently? This is the idea that cripples Byron Hemmings when he's sure that the 2 seconds added on to time have caused a chain reaction of events that forever change his life. Rachel Joyce's Perfect explores time and how it affects us all. Good or bad.
In June of 1972, Byron's overactive imagination convinces him that the alter in time will only end with horrible consequences. He asks his best friend James Lowe, who's also the person who told him the news of 2 additional seconds, how can they add 2 seconds that don't exist. It wasn't safe. If only he hadn't been told about the 2 seconds, his life could quite possibly have gone in a different direction.
While rushing from the home one morning, Byron's mother, Diane, decides to take a shortcut through a part of the town that's considered to be seedy. Digby Road is one to be avoided at all costs says his father and their other upper-crust friends. While trying to recoup the loss of time, Diane's new Jaguar seemingly collides with something. Byron is sure that his mother has either ignored that she hit something/someone or is just oblivious to what has happened. They continue on this forbidden road but Byron is unable to forget that something tragic has happened.
Perfect alternates with an equally interesting story of a man named Jim. Jim has been in and out of psyche institutes and bases his life on rituals. These rituals he must perform is in order to avoid mistakes or misfortune. Ironic since he lives out of a van and seems like a shell of a man. His story is heartbreaking yet I still had hope for this man. He seemed to be so damaged and in need of a friend. Anyone who would care about what time has done to him or cost him.
A few short months after the time change life changes drastically for both boys Byron and James. Because Perfect primarily focuses on Byron, we readers are able to take the journey with him. It's almost like a coming of age story at times when Joyce describes the inner struggles that Byron goes through. We also see how protective of his mother he is. Lovely Diane...
Perfect seems to focus heavily on Diane. She's the forgotten housewife who's husband only comes home on the weekends. Sure she gets to live in a magnificent home in the English countryside and has two wonderful children. But why does she seem so neglected? Byron seemingly wants to protect her from everything. He almost takes on the role of being man of the house especially where her new friend Beverly is concerned. The two, Diane and Byron, are definitely close. It is because of Byron's intentions of her well-being that things fall apart.
Overall, Perfect was the perfect book to start off 2014. Although it is heavy and dark there are moments where hope prevails. The best way to welcome the new year is to realize that time waits for no one. What's done is done. What will be will be. Sometimes it's better to just live out the mistakes instead of working to repair them. ****
Copy provided by Random House via Netgalley