I’ve been going on a bit of a Rachel Joyce kick of late. Her novels are so easy to read and her characters unbelievably endearing that I’ve been going through her back catalogue.
Perfect tells two stories at once, both set in separate timelines. The first story is that of 10-year-old Byron and his family, chiefly his mother Diana and what happens as a result of two seconds being added to time in the 1970’s. Along-side this story is that of Jim, a man with severe mental health issues, chiefly that of OCD. His story is told in the present day.
The great strength of Rachel Joyce is formulation of character. Her characters always have something to like about them, regardless of their flaws. They’re always so relatable and have a warmth that makes them feel very human. Even the antagonists have a relatable aspect and that’s not easy to accomplish.
Towards the latter end of the plot there were a couple of moments when things became a little laughable and of course this took away from my enjoyment, but it didn’t stop me reading because I was so invested in the characters. I also guessed 2 or 3 plot manoeuvres, which was a little annoying. Even though I would have preferred a stronger plot, I read her books because I know that there’ll always be a character in her book that feels like my best friend.
If I had one criticism of this book it would be that it was a little clique at some points, I guessed virtually all the twists and there were really too many themes crammed in. The main theme was about the little mistakes that we all make and how these seemingly small instances can cause a ripple effect that travels down the years. There was also that of mental health, abuse, romance, relationships etc. This was a little too much, but I still enjoyed the book, even if it wasn’t my favourite Rachel Joyce.