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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 August 2017
Super book. Unusual and very engaging. Loved the style of writing and the way in which the central ws addressed.
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on 15 August 2017
An excellently written, thought-provoking book. Rachel Joyce is a true talent
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on 20 August 2016
Great book arrived very quickly!
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on 21 March 2014
Byron Hemmings is a poor little rich 11-year-old boy living in a posh country house in Cranham Moor, and a seemingly picture-perfect family, with an upper-class education at a preppy boy's school. Jim is in his 50s, a former inmate at a mental hospital, and who now lives in a van at a cul-de-sac, and works at a cafeteria in a supermarket. The connection between these two parallel narratives become apparent very much later in the novel, and it is a rather ambitious structure that Rachel Joyce experiments with after the success of her luminous debut novel "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry".

The unravelling of Byron's world begins when his brainy best friend James, tells him about the extra two seconds that would be added to the clocks in that leap year. This causes Byron much anxiety and he has a premonition that something disastrous would happen, and true to his fears, there is an accident when Byron's mother, Diana, makes a detour through the "ghetto" area of Cranham village in her swanky Jaguar, one misty morning, at the precise moment that his watch goes back two seconds.

With such a fantastical premise as a inciting incident, Joyce however thwarts the reader's expectations when the accident brings about a more prosaic threat in the form of an opportunistic and manipulative character, Beverley, who milks Diana's soft-natured kindness for all its worth. The imperfections in the Hemmings household becomes apparent we see the relationship between Byron's parents through his eyes, and we share his anxieties as he takes on more responsibility than he should on his young shoulders.

Jim, too, is a rather well-sketched character, and the reader feels drawn into his world as a disenfranchised man who is trying to find his way in the world, even as he copes to master his fears though the daily ritual of locking up his van 21 times before he can retire for the night. His tenuous relationship with his co-workers are also portrayed with much humour and tenderness.

If there is one flaw in this otherwise engaging novel, it's the near-maudlin climax, complete with thunderous rain and stricken sky. Still, it's a worthwhile read, and I look forward to more of Rachel's Joyce's works.
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on 24 June 2014
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry left me in tears but, whilst Perfect touches on similar areas of love and loss, I feel that it is a slightly (just slightly) more upbeat novel.

When schoolboy Byron hears that there are going to be an extra two seconds added to the year to correct time, he becomes obsessed about it and, as a result, there follows an accident that has repercussions for the rest of his life. This is the unusual concept on which the book is based.

Although I felt that some of the events in the novel felt a little contrived (an organ concert in particular) the story is fascinating as poor Byron and his friend James attempt to resolve the fallout from the accident. Byron's downtrodden mother and his near absentee father are beautifully drawn characters as too is the supermarket cafeteria worker in the future whose story runs parallel throughout the book.

Rachel Joyce's prose is an absolute delight - she weaves her words together poetically and it is worth the price of the book for this alone.
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on 28 July 2013
I loved this book and didn't want to finish it. I hoped that I wouldn't be disappointed after reading Harold Fry which I also loved and couldn't put down. Perfect was a delight to read. Rachel Joyce is a clever writer, she writes with such insight. This book was both poignant and humorous. I would certainly recommend this book to my family and friends.
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on 21 March 2014
A perfect story, with a perfect plot. The intimate scenes are completely subtle, so children reading this book, will be totally oblivious to them.

The plot thickens, towards the end. The author has the reader, drawing their own conclusions. based on self perceived assumptions, but the reality is really amazing.

A book that will be loved by teenagers, and all ages of adults, alike....
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on 3 June 2017
Fantastic exploration of the relationship between two boys and their involvement with a scientific anomaly that impacts on their lives, their families and their futures. The two lads are drawn with a delicate touch whilst the other characters remain shadowy, most ethereal. There is a lot of humour drawn from the immaturity of youth and this is gradually overwhelmed by the harsh reality of the ugliness of human exploitation on a very small scale. Tragedy leads to overwhelming mental stress and long term loss for one of the characters, but the book manages to trace this lightly and with great depth of feeling. There are several sublime sequences in the book that ring true and genuinely lift the heart. Joyce seems to be able to write about the most mundane events in life in an extraordinary way, endowing beauty where you had not previously expected it. I hovered between a 4 and a 5, due to a slight loss of pace in the middle of the book. My true rating is 4.5!
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on 15 August 2013
This book kept my interest throughout. I didn't guess the twist until it was right upon me. I cried at various points throughout the book. Thank you Rachel for a lovely read.
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on 2 June 2014
Whilst I enjoyed "Perfect", it didn't engage me as much as "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry". Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read.
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