Full of Books

Perfect by Rachel Joyce Review

Title: Perfect

Author: Rachel Joyce

First published July 4, 2013

365 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780857520661 (ISBN10: 0857520660)

Rating: 3.57


In the year 1995, a young girl named Charlotte was obsessed with the idea of perfection. She believed that everything in life had a certain order to it, just like the numbers in a multiplication table.

But when her father suddenly disappears, Charlotte’s world is turned upside down. Was it her fault for not being perfect enough?

As she delves deeper into her father’s disappearance, she realizes that the truth may not be what she wants it to be. Can Charlotte accept the imperfect reality of life, or will she be forever haunted by the idea of perfection?

About the Author

Rachel Joyce is a talented writer who has penned more than 20 unique afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4. She has also adapted several major works for Woman’s Hour, the Classic Series, and BBC 2’s TV drama.

Her work has earned her numerous accolades, including the Tinniswood Award for best radio play in 2007. Prior to her writing career, Rachel spent 20 years in theatre and television, where she played lead roles for prestigious companies like the RSC, Royal National Theatre, Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl, winning the Time Out Best Actress award and the Sony Silver.

Editoral Review

Perfect by Rachel Joyce is a captivating novel that explores the themes of love, loss, memory, and the power of the human spirit. It was first published on July 4, 2013, and quickly gained critical acclaim, becoming a Sunday Times bestseller and earning a place on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize.

Rachel Joyce is an accomplished British author who has written several bestselling novels, including The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. With Perfect, she once again demonstrates her talent for crafting complex, nuanced characters and poignant stories that resonate deeply with readers.

Set in 1972, Perfect spins a masterful tale that alternates between the perspectives of two main characters: Byron Hemmings, a young boy struggling to understand the world around him, and James Lowe, a teacher grappling with his own demons. Against the backdrop of a suffocatingly rigid British society, these two characters navigate the challenges of growing up, forming connections, and ultimately confronting their own mortality.

Without giving away too much of the plot, suffice it to say that Perfect is a slow burn of a novel, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. Joyce imbues every scene with a sense of intrigue and mystery, deftly balancing the emotional weight of the story with a taut sense of suspense.

One of the most striking aspects of Perfect is Joyce’s attention to detail. She creates a vivid, immersive world that is both nostalgic and timeless, imbuing even the smallest details with meaning and significance.

The setting of the novel – a small town in suburban England – is rendered with exquisite care, evoking a sense of place that is both familiar and foreign. In terms of flaws or limitations, the novel does occasionally lag in pacing.

Some readers may find the slow build-up frustrating, and the constant teasing of secrets and revelations may grow tiresome for those who prefer more straightforward narratives. However, for those who stick with it, the payoff is more than worth it.

Overall, Perfect is a beautifully written, deeply moving novel that will stay with you long after you turn the final page. Fans of Joyce’s previous work will not be disappointed, and newcomers to her writing will find much to admire.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy thought-provoking, character-driven fiction. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.