Jessica Shattuck - Perfect Life: A Novel

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Perfect Life by Jessica Shattuck: Depressingly Realistic

Jun 6, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:deep, realistic characters

Cons:too realistic at times; I don't want to read about my own life

The Bottom Line: The Bottom Line needs a day in bed with a tub of ice cream and some chocolate after this.


There are times when I read a really good book but sort of wish I'd never picked it up. Reading Jessica Shattuck's Perfect Life was one of those times.

::: The Plot :::

Four friends who attended Harvard together have hit their mid-thirties, most of them still in touch with each other regularly. Elise and her partner Chrissy have twin boys Chrissy conceived using a sperm donor. Laura and her husband Mac have two girls and a typical suburban life, complete with Laura's low-effort job and an au pair. Jenny has been upwardly mobile in her marketing job for a pharmaceutical firm where Elise also works, as a researcher. But when Jenny's husband turns out to be infertile, she turns to a friend of the three women (and Jenny's ex-boyfriend), the brilliant but seemingly unmotivated Neil for a sperm donation. Neil agrees to her terms: any child conceived would never know he was the father, and he has no contact with her or her familiy.

Neil, however, throws a monkey wrench into the perfect set-up and returns to Boston for a year-long gig for a game company, his version of "selling out." In no time, he's creeping around Jenny's house to see his child, having an affair with Laura, adding to a rift between Elise and Chrissy, and screwing Jenny's employee (who's also a work colleague of his) on the side.

::: All Too Real :::

I like to read fiction as an escape from the stresses of everyday life. Perfect Life is anything but an escape. Shattuck has a fairly large cast of characters to keep track of, but she's given each of them the depth that makes them real. Anyone of a certain age can identify with Laura's ennui: stuck in the suburbs with an inattentive husband and a lackluster sex life. It's the same with Elise and Chrissy; Elise fears that Chrissy's biological link to their sons is shoving her out of the picture, and when her perfect job adds to the stress, the perfect life she thought she had doesn't look quite so perfect anymore.

The reader will find him- (or her-) self rooting for Neil, though. The wunderkind who never managed to get out of the starting gate, he's even more lost than his old friends, and you want him to find something--anything--that gives him something to hold onto. That feeling of waking up one day to find out that your youth has passed you by with not much to show for it is palpable, and painful.

Perfect Life is an all-too-realistic novel that may hit a little too close to home to be what I'd call enjoyable.


Recommend this product? Yes


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Perfect Life: A Novel eBook

Perfect Life: A Novel eBook

Buy Perfect Life: A Novel by Jessica Shattuck and Read this Book on Kobo's Free Apps. Discover Kobo's Vast Collection of Ebooks Today - Over 3 Millio...
Kobo eBooks

$10.09

FREE Shipping
Shattuck Lecture: The Past, Present and Future of Tuberculosis (Primary Source Edition) by Shattuck, Frederick Cheever [Paperbac

Shattuck Lecture: The Past, Present and Future of Tuberculosis (Primary Source Edition) by Shattuck, Frederick Chee...

Shattuck Lecture: The Past, Present and Future of Tuberculosis (Primary Source Edition) by Shattuck, Frederick Cheever [Paperback]
Sears Marketplace
The Banquet Years by Roger Shattuck

The Banquet Years by Roger Shattuck

Free Delivery Worldwide : The Banquet Years : Paperback : Random House USA Inc : 9780394704159 : 0394704150 : 29 Apr 1988
BookDepository.com

$13.18

FREE Shipping
World I Live in - Roger Shattuck - 9781177620635 - 1177620634

World I Live in - Roger Shattuck - 9781177620635 - 1177620634

9781177620635 - 1177620634 - Roger Shattuck - Biblio Bazaar - 10 Edition
Textbooks.com

$12.22

+$3.99 shipping
Jessica London Wool Pencil Skirt

Jessica London Wool Pencil Skirt

Plus Size Pants & Skirts by Jessica London. Plus Size Pants & Skirts by Jessica London. Classic plus size pencil skirt in a soft wool blend perfect fo...
Jessica London

$49.99

+$8.99 shipping
Jessica London Poplin Shirt

Jessica London Poplin Shirt

Plus Size Tops & Sweaters by Jessica London. Plus Size Tops by Jessica London. Classic tailored plus size poplin blouse has three-quarter sleeves wit...
Jessica London

$29.99

+$6.99 shipping
Girls Jessica Ann Dress Patriotic Halter 4t $26

Girls Jessica Ann Dress Patriotic Halter 4t $26

NWT Girls JESSICA ANN Halter Dress PATRIOTIC New $26 Size 4T Up for your consideration is a New with Tags halter dress by Jessica Ann. Adorable! Perfe...
eBay

$9.99

+$3.50 shipping
Story of My Life - Helen Keller and Roger  Shattuck - 9780393325683 - 0393325687

Story of My Life - Helen Keller and Roger Shattuck - 9780393325683 - 0393325687

9780393325683 - 0393325687 - Helen Keller and Roger Shattuck - Ingram Book Co. - 03 Edition
Textbooks.com

$13.48

+$3.99 shipping
Jessica Simpson Lace Feather-Hem Dress

Jessica Simpson Lace Feather-Hem Dress

A fully feathered hem and fitted lace overlay give this Jessica Simpson dress alluring, party-perfect appeal.
Macys.com

$188.00

FREE Shipping
Jessica Simpson  Plus Size Burnout Lounge Top

Jessica Simpson Plus Size Burnout Lounge Top

Jessica Simpson Plus Size Burnout Lounge Top. This soft top is perfect for lounging around on a lazy day.The burnout style updates the look, making it...
Belk

$40.50

+$9.50 shipping