Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Review: How Perfect is That

Summary: WHEN YOU'RE PERFECT, YOU CAN'T FALTER... Because if you do, the piranhas will get you. Blythe Young, Austin socialite, has two secrets she can't allow to escape: she's actually high-flying trailer trash, and her divorce left her penniless. Before becoming Mrs. Henry "Trey" Biggs-Dix III, Blythe owned the exclusive catering company Wretched Xcess, and for the second time she's determined to fake it 'til she makes it -- passing off warehouse club taquitos as Petites Tournedos Béarnaise à la Mexicaine and relying on her own private concoction of Stoli and pharmaceuticals as a substitute for sleep.

But then a blabber-mouthed accountant puts the IRS on Blythe's trail at a most unfortunate moment -- just when her catering staff turns vicious about missing pay, and a garden party of Austin belles sniffs out the Crisco in the pâté. There's no option except to cut and run. Blythe's been ducking calls from her friend Millie for over a decade, but now Millie is the only person with a heart big enough to take her in. So, just one step ahead of the law, Blythe sputters in on fumes of gas to the fleabag co-op boarding house at the University of Texas where the two met and that Millie still runs.

What do you do when you hit bottom? Sharing a bathroom again with anyone -- let alone computer geeks and white Rasta wannabes -- wasn't in Blythe's game plan. But in a time when both new and old money can turn into no money before you can say Jimmy Choo, Blythe's story is a morality tale for the new millennium as, with the help of her reluctant housemates, she faces down the crème de la crème of Austin society one last time, and by doing so finds the way out of her own ethical quagmire. -- Pocket Books

I decided that I wanted to read HOW PERFECT IS THAT by Sarah Bird because it sounded like a good book to read during the summer. Based on the description, I thought it would be a light, entertaining book with a cute little message in the end -- you know...normal chick lit fare. However, after reading this novel, I hesitate to call this book chick lit because of some of the negative connotations associated with that word (don't get upset with me, I happen to love good chick lit.)

The first half or so of this book definitely had "chick lit" elements; however, I actually found the messages in this book to be quite deep -- surprisingly so. As I was reading the last few pages of this book, I was actually tearing up -- real tears of joy. I found HOW PERFECT IS THAT to be almost an inspirational book for me, and it had with some wonderful words of wisdom about love and the value of friendship. This book made me think of all the things in my life that I'm grateful for (as well as those things that I should really work on); and I just wanted to call all my good girlfriends and tell them what they mean to me. (I didn't do that because they'd think I'm nuts, but I hope they are reading this review now and realize what they mean to me!)

Now, I know this review might sound like it's going overboard; and I think some people who read this novel might find it "corny" and feel that the story is tied up entirely too nicely. However, I have to say that I really appreciated this book. That's not to say that HOW PERFECT IS THAT is by any means the "perfect" book or even my favorite book of the year -- I just like that this book made me evaluate my own feelings and actions.

I have to admit that I wasn't always this crazy about this book. I didn't exactly love the first half of it because I found the character of Blythe to be so terribly annoying. After reading the entire book, I understand that that was the author's intent; however, Blythe really was despicable! I got more than a little tired of all her snide comments and how she treated everyone she encountered. Having said that, I did think that the writing was extremely smart and witty; and I found myself laughing at her social commentaries about the Texas wealthy crowd as well as Texas politics.

What I definitely liked about this book is that it shows that even the most unlikeable character (i.e. Blythe) can redeem herself. Trust me when I say that Blythe did a full 180! So ultimately, this book is about redemption. Yet, it's also about forgiveness -- forgiving others as well as ourselves. And, there are lots of other messages too like realizing what's important in our lives and doing things to actually make a difference (like helping those less fortunate than us.) I also loved that HOW PERFECT IS THAT featured the strength and importance of female friendships!

One of my absolutely favorite scenes in this novel is when all the richy-rich (and shallow) women are sharing their feelings at a retreat. It really jumped out at me:

"Friends. Our friends exasperate us. They annoy us. They compete with us. They gossip about us. We gossip about them. But we wouldn't be who we are without them. Millie told me that each friend God gives us is sent for a reason. Maybe she was sent to comfort you. Maybe you were sent to comfort her. Maybe she was put in your life to prod you to become more than you think you can be. Maybe she is the aggravation in the oyster that makes you form a pearl. Maybe she was sent to make you laugh or talk or think."

If you want some more opinions about HOW PERFECT IS THAT, then check out these other tour stops:

Jenn’s Bookshelf

All About {n}
A Journey of Books
Book Soulmates
Bookin’ with “BINGO”
My Guilty Pleasures
Just Jennifer Reading
Wendy’s Minding Spot
Bella’s Novella
Living Life and Reading Books
Book N Around
The Eclectic Book Hoarder
Pick of the Literate
Drey’s Library
The Epic Rat
A Book Bloggers Diary
Horror and Fantasy Book Review
Find The Time To Read
Gaijin Mama
Blog Business World
Carolina Gal’s Literary Café
My Book Views
Me, My Book and the Couch
Joanne Huspek's Blog
Power in the Blog
Marta’s Meanderings

A big thanks to Sarah from Pocket Books for organizing this tour.

Also reviewed at:
Breaking the Spine


ANovelMenagerie said...

I love chicklit and am proud of it! It sounds like a fun read!

I have a give chicklit giveaway at my site for Jane Porter's new one. You may already have it, though.


ANovelMenagerie said...

P.S. I forgot to mention that my website address and feed URL have changed. If you follow me in a reader, especially Blogger Friends, you aren't getting my posts. The new feed address is just http://anovelmenagerie.com/ghost/feed/


Lenore Appelhans said...

I like chick-lit which is deeper than most, so this would probably be a good choice for me!

bermudaonion said...

The title and the cover of this book captured me right away. Your review makes it sound wonderful and I love the quote you selected.

Jill said...

I read this in hardcover last summer and really enjoyed it. Great review...!


Beth F said...

Thanks for the great review -- I would have passed this one up as being perhaps too light for me, but your quote and your review has made me reconsider. Sounds like a winner.

Book Escape said...

I love chick-lit, too. And, the book description didn't sound like a typical one to me.

I'm interested that you found the book so inspiring. I just may have to check it out.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

I really like the quote you pulled, Julie. Are there other gems like that in the book?

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Another one that looks good.