30 Books in 30 Days: 8.24.11

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz

This is a tale of a woman who did not know her husband as well as she thought she did.  And, page by page, we learn of the rather elaborate other life he led all while married to her.  I guess the reader reads partly to see how this woman could have missed it.  We may read a little bit to feel like, “Wow, thank god this isn’t me!”  We may read for the delicious scandal of it (even though this isn’t the tale of anyone famous.)  At the end of the day, I guess, it’s just a book that gives a window into another person’s life.

I have to say, by the time I got to the end of this book, I was a bit exasperated.  Metz states, (and I am paraphrasing) toward the end of the book, “I have come to see that I am just a pretty poor judge of character.”  By the time I had read to the end of this harrowing story between this man and wife, Metz’s statement seemed like the largest of understatements!  The reader can’t believe her husband is so deceiving.  But the reader also can’t believe what Metz accepted as reality for a long time.

Metz is a good writer.  Her depictions of life in the suburbs as well as the city are accurate and help to show how these two different settings can in fact contribute to romantic happiness or discord. This book may in fact get a lot of readers if only because of its promise to tear open the “perfection” of what looks so good and satisfying on the outside.  I guess the trouble with reading books like this is that, though they are fascinating, they can, in fact, break your heart when they show just how cruel the world can be.  I can’t say I felt very uplifted by the end of this book.  I felt a little trashy for having been so voyeuristic in looking in at someone else’s pain.  And, I felt sorry for Metz.  The writing, in the end, is where I hope that Metz has found her solace.  Though she writes about happier relationships after this failed marriage, I feel that her greatest comfort, hopefully, has been the introspection and insight gained through using her writing voice to tell her story. 


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