Saturday, 31 May 2014

Perfect - Rachel Joyce

I admit to loving Harold Fry. I loved the tweeness, the sentimentality and it made a welcome change from the crime thriller that graces my bookshelves and infiltrates my reading time. I even passed it on.
So Perfect was a book I was wary of. How would an author follow a book as different as Harold with something equally leftfield and yet so different as to be beyond compare. Difficult to do.
Rachel Joyce introduces us to Byron at a time when he's in his youthful element, full of what ifs and whys.
When 2 seconds are added to a day he's not slow in realising that anything could happen in that space of time that until then would have been denied it's opportunity. And it does.
With no official notification of when the 2 seconds are added Byron nevertheless notices and registers the events with dismay.
Can he be the only one aware? Should he stay that way or tell?
With a mother desperate to keep up with the neighbours and a father who pops back home now and then to check that she is Byron resorts to his best friend James. Despite previous impressions of Byron James is the nerdy one!
Alongside events unfolding in the 70s (+2 seconds) we are told the story of Jim who is employed in a local cafe and struggling with OCD. The only smile in his life comes from a rebellious colleague who ignores his differences and gives him a semblance of confidence.
How do the two lives relate? Do they overlap, crash, imitate?
Whilst very different from Harold the book is written in the same gentle style. In Harold the point of the tale could not be missed, with Perfect the nuances are much more subtle.
Personally I preferred Harold but I'm honest, that's because I don't necessarily want to overanalyse a book, I simply want to read it.
Which was your preference and why?

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