My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've been waiting to share this story, and am really excited that this is one of my first books of 2014! It provides a thoughtful look on how time--seconds, even--can affect so much.
Perfect is character-driven . . . and the characters are exquisite. It took me a little while to get to the point where I couldn't put it down or stop thinking about the characters, but eventually they work into your mind and you kind of fall in love with them, especially Diana.
The children give the story that quality of uncertainty, of not knowing everything about the world, being surprised when you figure some things out, and in general a feeling of wonder and the mystery of the world and the unknown. That was probably my favorite aspect of this book--those qualities and feelings of childhood that make it imaginative and deep-feeling. Without trying too hard it simply says so much about humanity, our fears, friendships, gender expectations, and the revelatory experience of growing up.
The two stories of Byron and Jim create a mild suspense, because you know that they're connected, but not sure how. While I haven't read her other book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I've heard a lot of good things about it, and I can definitely say this: Rachel Joyce's flowing, descriptive writing is discerning in the best moments.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review.