Review: Perfect, Rachel Joyce

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*
Perfect, Rachel Joyce cover
On a foggy spring morning in 1972, twelve-year-old Byron Hemming and his mother are driving to school in the English countryside. On the way, in a life-changing two seconds, an accident occurs. Or does it? Byron is sure it happened, but his mother, sitting right next to him in the car, has no reaction to it. Over the course of the days and weeks that follow, Byron embarks on a journey to discover what really happened-or didn't-that fateful morning when everything changed. It is a journey that will take him-a loveable and cloistered twelve-year-old boy with a loveable and cloistered twelve-year-old boy's perspective on life-into the murkier, more difficult realities of the adult world, where adults lie, fathers and mothers fight without words, and even unwilling boys must become men. By the end, Byron will finally reconcile the dueling realities of that summer, a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit and the power of compassion.

Rachel Joyce has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for both the Classic Series, Woman's Hour and also a TV drama adaptation for BBC 2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for best radio play. She moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl, winning a Time Out Best Actress award and the Sony Silver.

I totally loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Rachel Joyce impressed me with her ability to place normal people with their quirks in a book and make them likable. When I saw this book I was very curious how she would work out a young boy.
The first 50 pages of the book were a bit confusing. A lot is happening and Byron is a very confused and kind of depressing kid. There are two stories told, the one of Byron and one of Jim. I was not sure who Jim was and what his role would be. The only thing clear was that he was living in the now in the same town Byron grew up in and where the accident happened. I was very curious how these two stories would touch.
I felt sorry for Byron most of the book. He felt very responsible for both his mother and sister and blames himself when things go wrong. Jim was easy to love. With his past and the way he needs everything to be right I wanted to help him so bad all the time and felt sorry when things went wrong and he could not help it at all. His confusion and his need to control things were so clear.
I did have a hard time with the idea that no one noticed the way things were going wrong with Diana and her family. Even the dad who was still visiting should have seen something.
I loved the end, the way things developed and both Byron's and Jim's lives touched. Though I kept asking myself what their lives had to do with one another I could have never guessed the outcome.

Perfect
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 400
Format: eGalley
ISBN-10: 0812993306
ISBN-13: 9780812993301
Random House: eBook | Hardcover | Audiobook
Perfect
4 stars

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Jennifer
AUTHOR
17 January, 2014 delete

I really liked this one too! Great review! I think it would make a really fabulous book club pick.

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17 January, 2014 delete

There are indeed a lot of discussion topics in this one!

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18 January, 2014 delete

I’ve been wanting to read this one from the first time I read about it. The cover reminds me of 80’s books and, for some reason, it completely draws me in. Glad to know the book has more substance than just the cover.

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18 January, 2014 delete

There are various covers for this book and I must say I dislike this one the most. I think this is the best fitting https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1371481158l/17883962.jpg

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Melinda
AUTHOR
21 January, 2014 delete

I've never read any Rachel Joyce! I have thought about her former book, but thanks to your review I feel like I want to read this one first. Great review!

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21 January, 2014 delete

Her writing style is great, both books are safe choices.

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17 May, 2014 delete

Great review (I linked to it in my review)! I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which probably made me expect too much of Perfect. I liked Joyce's second novel, but I didn't love it. Bryon's narrative was confusing and far-fetched, and I didn't appreciate the twist at all. I liked Jim's narrative, though. I agree that he was easy to love!

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