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How Perfect Is That

How Perfect Is That is a story of becoming. When Blythe Young begins her tale, her world is in the process of crashing down around her. Though she married into a wealthy Texas family, her mother-in-law was one step ahead of her and insisted upon a prenuptial agreement—an agreement which carefully stipulated no provisions for Blythe in case of a divorce. Without any cash, Blythe tries to make ends meet by cutting (slashing) corners in her catering company, serving discount liver sausage as gourmet pâté and drugging her clients so they won't notice the difference. Everyone is after her—her clients, her staff (whom she can't afford to pay), the IRS—except for her family, her ex-husband, and her friends (apparently you really can't buy those). With the IRS literally dogging her heels, Blythe turns up at the doorstep of her college roommate and collapses, utterly exhausted.

What follows feels somewhat predictable. However, by this time, the reader might be curious to know how author Sarah Bird will subject Blythe to the consequences of her actions. At least, that is what happened to me. Blythe is cynical and irritating during the first third of the book. When it becomes clear to her that something's got to give and that she has to both appraise and change her life (her friends, her outlook, her direction, her drug habits, her values), she grows more interesting. It is entirely a testament to Bird's writing skill that Blythe's reorientation never feels sudden, clumsy, or didactic.

Blythe continues to make mistakes, but becomes a sympathetic character by the end of the book. She reinvents herself again, realizing that there is more than one way to escape an upbringing of which one is not proud. Perhaps this is not the next great novel, but it's not too bad either. It's perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon, as a traveling companion, or for the bathtub.

Written by: kristina grob, November 19th 2009

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