Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Review: How Perfect Is That by Sarah Bird

Blythe Young was summarily divorced by her husband and subsequently dumped by her supposed friends from the creme de la creme of Austin society. Desperate not to disappear from the stratified group, she resurrects her catering company, but without the money to produce the events for which she was known in the past. Obviously a dreadful idea, she manages to alienate her so-called friends by serving them hors d'oeuvres from Costco and them knocks them out with tiny doses of Rohypnol. As if that wasn't enough, she is being chased, literally, by the IRS.

So she runs to the only place she can find refuge and sympathy: back to the grotty student co-op she lived in with friend Millie before she met the Biggs-Dix family (yes, that really is their name and I snorted each time I read it, feeling grateful when it was shortened just to Dix) and became a social-climbing twit. Millie, because she is the long-suffering and compassionate friend, takes Blythe in, lets her stay, and even forgives Blythe for dropping her like a hot potato when other, more glamorous so-called friends came along. But things won't be quite that easy for Blythe, who must face several of her former employees who also live in the house and whom she hasn't paid. She gets called on the carpet for acting like a spoiled princess to whom things are due. Even Millie quickly reaches her limits with this incarnation of Blythe. And so it is time to learn and practice humility.

This is really a novel about friendship and redemption and remaining true to what matters, not just as a fall-back option. And as Blythe learns the importance of these things, she really grows. Almost like the Grinch on Christmas Day, you can see Blythe's heart re-learning how to care, to reach outside of herself, and to lose so much of what was bad about the laser self-focus that had become a hardened selfishness. We watch this transformation without being bludgeoned by the morals and this light touch makes the tone just right. As Blythe learns her lessons, we are reminded of the rightness of what she is learning without feeling as if we are reading a sermon.

Blythe's desperation to remain a part of Austin society is definitely over the top but since she has dumped her only other friend in lieu of the barracudas who populate the monied ranks, she really doesn't have a choice. As a reader, you waver back and forth between feeling sorry for Blythe and thinking she's a complete jerk who has gotten what is coming to her. There are other characters too, who walk a thin line in this reader's mind: the sanctimonious Sanjeev and Millie as doormat are just two. But the frustrations over character flaws serves to make them more complex and real than they might have been had I loved them all the time.

I was uncertain about the IRS storyline, wondering how on earth Blythe has had enough time to be a serious target for the IRS given that her husband took her for every penny in their divorce, said divorce had only been final a year, and her business went bankrupt in the blink of an eye. The character's own explanation that she was being made an example of based on her name and connection to her ex's family just didn't hold enough weight to be completely believable for me. But that was a minor irritant in an overall cute and entertaining story.

Bird excels at this sort of book and this one will delight her readers. It proved a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a few hours. A big thanks to the publisher for sending me the book. Check out other stops on the blog tour of this book to see their take on this novel:

Jenn’s Bookshelf: http://jennsbookshelf.blogspot.com/
All About {n}: www.bookwormygirl.blogspot.com
A Journey of Books: http://ajourneyofbooks.blogspot.com/
Readaholic: http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
Book Soulmates: http://booksoulmates.blogspot.com/
Booking Mama: http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/
Bookin’ with “BINGO”: http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/
My Guilty Pleasures: http://www.mgpblog.com/
Just Jennifer Reading: http://www.justjenniferreading.blogspot.com/
Wendy’s Minding Spot: http://mindingspot.blogspot.com/
Bella’s Novella: http://www.bellasnovella.com/
Living Life and Reading Books: http://ilovelovebooks.blogspot.com/
Book N Around: http://booknaround.blogspot.com/
The Eclectic Book Hoarder: http://eclecticbookhoarder.blogspot.com/
Pick of the Literate: http://bookrevues.blogspot.com/
Drey’s Library: http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
The Epic Rat: http://epicrat.blogspot.com/
A Book Bloggers Diary: http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/
Horror and Fantasy Book Review: http://horrorandfantasybookreview.blogspot.com/
Find The Time To Read: http://www.findthetimetoread.blogspot.com/
Gaijin Mama: http://gaijinmama.wordpress.com/
Blog Business World: http://blogbusinessworld.blogspot.com/
Carolina Gal’s Literary CafĂ©: http://susansliterarycafe.blogspot.com/
My Book Views: http://my-book-views.blogspot.com/
Me, My Book and the Couch: http://memybookandthecouch.blogspot.com/
Joanne Huspek's Blog: http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com/
Power in the Blog: http://jesharris.wordpress.com/
Marta’s Meanderings: http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com/


  1. This one sounds interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. I really liked this one too. Great review. :D

    RYC: haha about the slippers - my favorite color is green (winks)

    ♥ Nely


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