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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly Uplifting Despite The Dystopic Scenario
While some dystopian books take place in an imagined future where things are very different from our own world (like The Hunger Games series), In A Perfect World takes place right in our here and now. There are no fantasy elements to this book at all--everything seems utterly believable and possible, which made it a more effective and scarier book for me.

Our...
Published on February 26, 2010 by Jennifer

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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible ending??
At first I enjoyed the book until I found a strong woman to not stick up for herself. Yes, she did work hard to save the family, but wouldn't she do something more to get back at the husband?? What was that ending??? I like to know how books end, not left hanging. Was it supposed to be the swine flu scare??? I did like the relationship between the step daughter and the...
Published on November 24, 2009 by lovetoteach


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly Uplifting Despite The Dystopic Scenario, February 26, 2010
By 
Jennifer "Jenners" (Sicklerville, NJ, United States) - See all my reviews
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While some dystopian books take place in an imagined future where things are very different from our own world (like The Hunger Games series), In A Perfect World takes place right in our here and now. There are no fantasy elements to this book at all--everything seems utterly believable and possible, which made it a more effective and scarier book for me.

Our glimpse into a world that encompasses nothing less than a complete breakdown of our society is Jiselle, a flight attendant who has "landed" the handsome and charismatic pilot Mark Dorn. In her 30s and tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride, Jiselle is ready to settle down and imagines a perfect little world with her ready-made family. (Mark has three children whose mother died a few years before.) Jiselle leaves her job and moves into the idyllic little town where Mark has a picture-perfect home. Anxious and excited to be the stepmother, Jiselle is eager to meet her new family. What she finds is three children who are less than thrilled--with the exception of the young boy (gotta love those boys!)--with their new stepmother. With Mark away for a good portion of time, Jiselle struggles to make the transition into her new life.

In the background of Jiselle's life, there are rumblings of another kind--a mysterious Phoenix Flu is causing troubles through the country. Even celebrities seems to be getting it and dying. (OK...a little editorial note here: I just loved that Kasischke killed off Britney Spears with the flu! Take that, Ms. I'm A Terrible Singer Yet Have Achieved Huge Success!)

As the story progresses, Mark is away more and more often, and Jiselle finds out some disturbing information about her new husband. And as the Phoenix Flu begins to become more and more of a problem, Jiselle's focus begins to shift from getting adjusted to family life to surviving--a skill she finds herself to be more adept at than she ever imagined.

As conditions worsen and society begins to fall apart, Jiselle is thrust into a nightmarish world where isolation, survival, sickness and death become a part of everyday life. Yet the worse things get, the more Jiselle's world actually becomes "a perfect world." With an ending that will leave readers who need things tied up at loose ends, this book surprised me in how it shifted and turned and twisted and changed into something that I can't quite describe. Consider it an uplifting story about the end of society as we know it.

Reading this right after The Hunger Games, I think this book came out on top for me. Where The Hunger Games is flashy and showy with its tantalizing premise, this book is more subtle and slow and deep. Written in an almost distant, chilly type of prose, Kasischke has created a dystopian book that truly scared and disturbed me yet also made me feel good about the world at the same time. As I said, this isn't a book that ties things up in a nice little package for you, but I thought it suited the story well. If you're looking for an adult book on the opposite side of the dystopian spectrum, then this book is for you.

The Bottom Line: I'm giving the book 4 stars. I was drawn into Jiselle's world in an almost hypnotic way. Each page brought me closer to horror but also to goodness. This is a book that I could envision happening in our lifetime, and I think Kasischke did a wonderful job of keeping it from falling into a run-of-the-mill "Oh No...There's An Epidemic" type thriller. This book has a vibrant beating heart if you take the time to look for it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not perfect, February 10, 2010
I fully admit that I started off on the wrong foot with Laura Kasischke's new novel, In a Perfect World.

After twenty years spent in the commercial aviation industry, I was initially intrigued when we read the novel's synopsis on the back cover. Here's a portion:

"It was a fairy tale come true when Mark Dorn - handsome pilot, widower,
tragic father of three - chose Jiselle to be his wife. The other flight
attendants were jealous: She could quit now, leaving behind the million
daily irritations of the job. She could move into Mark Dorn's precious log
cabin and help him raise his three beautiful children.

But fairy tales aren't like marriage."

So when I dove into this novel, I wasn't too happy to see the jobs of airline pilots and flight attendants so grossly misrepresented. (No, flight attendants and pilots do not, for the record, ever sit around in a bar drinking in uniform. EVER.) It made me grumpy.

A few chapters later and I changed our tune a bit, thinking that no, this novel must be about step-mothers and their complicated relationship with unwilling and unhappy stepchildren.

But no. A few chapters beyond that and I was thinking this novel was really a commentary about our society's tendency to over-react to health scares (think Swine Flu hysteria).

Wrong again.

As it turns out, in the end, this novel was beautifully layered with depth and poignancy and a discovery of the human spirit and the choices we're faced with. Kasischke sucks you in and builds the tension steadily, almost imperceptibly, until you find yourself reluctant to set the book down.

Layers. This novel has some serious layers.

Kasischke won me over and although I'm pretty sure ending will leave each reader with a different impression, it will indeed leave you thinking about it long after you've turned the last page.

It's not often a novel can redeem itself as well as In a Perfect World. Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flight well worth taking . . ., February 6, 2010
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I was unsure what to expect when I was swept up in this novel revolving around a flighty stewardess and her whirlwind romance with blinders on, but soon found myself unable to put down this story of an young woman growing from princess to hostage and into a matronly hero as the world crumbles around her. I have passed this to a few friends who also returned it in a day or two having been mezmerized by the spectacular portrait Kasischke paints of the United States falling and her heroin rising to meet the needs of her new family in the face of loss, hunger, and heartbreak.

I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 simply because some aspects of the plot are overwhelmingly predictable, but a great book nonetheless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride, February 24, 2010
By 
K. Cade (St Petersburg, FL) - See all my reviews
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Jizelle is a stewardess. Jizelle marries the pilot, Mark. The pilot that all the stewardesses swoom over. Jizelle never thought she would marry and now she's married WITH stepchildren. Yes, Mark has children from a former marriage. Jizelle quits her job, and stays home to take care of the children. Shorty thereafter the end of the world arrives in the form of the Phoenix flu. Just like the recent real life outbreak of Swine Flu only the reprocussions are far greater in this novel.

One must suspend disbelief in this one, however for me it was quite easy to do. Life as we know it has stopped for Jizelle and her stepchildren. Her husband, the pilot, is detained due to the outbreak of the Phoenix Flu. Unlike the Swine Flu, the Phoenix flu is far deadlier.

This book gives a possible image to an end of the world scenario but also delves into the complexities of step parenting, marriage, and the roles of woman in the world in terms of the choices they can and often do make just to win over the proverbial prince charming.
This book gets two thumbs up from me because it did what I expect all good novels to do...Entertained from page 1 to The End. I'm a fan of Laura Kasischke's and there's a reason. She CAN write.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit more sinister than it first appears..., February 12, 2011
This review is from: In a Perfect World: A Novel (Paperback)
Warning... a slight spoiler alert!

Just hang in there past the self-absorbed jet-setting courtship and the first miserable months with unhappy stepdaughters... The tone of the novel started to change with the strange wedding day where nearly everything goes wrong. Though comical at first glance, by the end of the honeymoon, no one is laughing. Early in the story, the main character seems caught in the middle between the unsupportive husband and his resentful kids. She's barely revealed to the reader in any meaningful way until tested by her circumstances. Aha! The author was setting us up! The novel takes a freakish turn towards the optimistically apocalyptic. I found myself unable to put it down and read the last half in one night. A surreal ending.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, and compulsively readable, April 12, 2010
I was skeptical at first when within the first few pages Britney Spears dies. (I don't like the use of real people in fiction...it's just a peeve of mine...) and the autor seems to jump around a lot. There are some closing lines to a few chapter that seem ill-fitting like she is trying to set a tone that doesn't exist in the rest of the writing.

However, I kept reading and really really liked the book. In fact, some of the things that annoyed me early on became ok for me because of the content of the book.

The Phoenix flu becomes a bigger deal than I knew it would, and the story gets very engrossing. I don't care that we don't find out about Mark. I think the point is that Jiselle no longer cares about that. I do wish we knew what happened to Bobby's dad.

The only thing that fails to get done is to explain the Phoenix Flu pandamonium.You go from thinking most Americans don't care about it, and are not concerned to the end of the world.

It's reminisent of recent books like "The Road", and like other classic Orwell books.

The end of the world has come in the form of a virus just as Jiselle's dreams of marriage have come true. Now she has to deal with step children, and a husband who is never home (he's a pilot) just as America is battling a crisis.

It was a really fast read, and it suprised me, which I like. I didn't realize how dramatic the book was going to be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, unique, crisp writing, April 6, 2014
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I loved this dystopic novel which had an intriguing and unique story. It was well written and extremely clever. Great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating read, January 15, 2010
I read this because it was recommended to me at the bookstore and am so glad I did. I loved the way the book evolved from a romance- flight attendant marries pilot- to something deep and prophetic. My only complaint is that the story ended too soon for me. I am hoping for a sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic. Heart warming and heart wrenching. Amazing writing skills., September 20, 2014
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This was a book that I couldn't put down. It had sad, heart breaking moments but also happy, heart warming moments. It was realistic, in every single way possible. You get extremely attached to the main character and want nothing but the best outcome for everyone. I have searched all over for another book similar to this and am disappointed to not be able to find anything remotely like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, May 7, 2014
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o good!! very realistic apocalyptic book! I read it in like 3 days and am now in morning because it is over. Very well written, wonderful characters, believable plot line.
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In a Perfect World: A Novel
In a Perfect World: A Novel by Laura Kasischke (Paperback - October 6, 2009)
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