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Perfectly Imperfect Kindle Edition
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|Length: 409 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I didn't want to go into anything overly personal but at the same time I felt like Willow's story forced you to reveal a little of yourself.
So many woman deal with body image issues.
So often the way we see ourselves is in a negative light.
And so so so often we feel so completely unworthy that being motivated to put in effort, to change and make ourselves better, is almost impossible.
How can you change your self perception when you don't think you are worthy of that change? It's extremely hard.
Growing up I was a skinny girl. I never had weight issues, but I had other issues. I never really knew WHO I was. I looked for my sense of worth in so many bad places. Once I turned 18, I got married, and within a couple months was pregnant. After that, I began to have not only self worth issues (brought in from BEFORE my marriage), but body image issues as well. I put on A LOT of weight. And with every child I had (I have 3 kids), my hips grew thicker, my butt grew bigger, my boobs got fuller, and my tummy was rounder.
Slowly over time these "self image issues" have grown in leaps and bounds. And I have lost any sense of who I am.
I think that's where so many woman will relate to Willow and this story. I really can't explain how much Willow is EVERY WOMAN. She feels like she's not good enough. She feels fat and ugly and unworthy of love and compassion. But the thing that separates Willow and makes her so inspiring is that under all that pain and rejection is woman who has FIGHT in her.
She knows that SHE is the only one who can PULL herself out. And she is ready to try and turn things around. Her toxic marriage is ending. And Willow is ready to leave the past behind and do something to make her life better. When Kane Masters enters Willow's life she is able to see herself through his eyes and with some nudging she is able to really find her self worth.
There is definitely drama and angst, crazy characters and funny moments, sex and swooniness, but I think this book is deeper than all that. This is really Willows journey to self acceptance.
I enjoyed every minute of it and I really loved watching her blossom and bloom under Kane's touch and unconditional love. I definitely think this book made me think about some of my personal issues and Willow inspired me to attack them. To find some sort of strength and motivation in myself to make the changes I need to make and accept myself for who I am, flaws and all.
“No one can remember when [The Dead Father] was not here in our city positioned like a sleeper in troubled sleep, the whole great expanse of him running from the Avenue Pommard to the Boulevard Grist. Overall length 3,200 cubits. Half buried in the ground, half not.”
Donald Barthelme, The Dead Father, 1975
I realize that it's unorthodox to open a review of a book with a quote from a seemingly unrelated book, but, the deeper I got into Harper Sloan's story of overcoming one's demons, I couldn't help but pick up on a correlation between Willow's struggle to conquer her demons in Perfectly Imperfect and the family's struggle to break free from the control The Dead Father held over his family in Barthelme's metaphorical story. Since I am not a regular reader of the kind of Literature that Sloan writes, this is my attempt to help share the location from which I see the story.
Perfectly Imperfect is told from two perspectives. The first being Willow Tate, a short full figured woman who has been treated like an inconvenience by her step father since her mother's death in a car accident when she was a child while her half sister has had all the love showered upon her, including Willow's husband. The fact that her step father runs a modeling agency and that her half sister is a model adds to Willow's self esteem issues. The second perspective is that of Kane Masters, a heartthrob for the modern age. Ruggedly handsome and the stuff of tabloid fantasy, Sloan's description of him conjured images of Burke Devlin from the 1960's soap opera Dark Shadows, for me. He is the kind of man that gives women damp panties (if they wear them) at the mention of his name. He's very secretive about his private life and holds great contempt for paparazzi and the tabloids that employ them.
The story follows the development of what some would say is an unlikely relationship that forms between Willow and Kane and Willow's learning to open up and allow herself to be loved by someone like Kane. It's this complication that propels the story. Since I'm not a connoisseur of this genre, I won't comment on whether it's a standard story line or not.
The connection to The Dead Father, for me is Willow's demons. In The Dead Father, the family continues to be ruled by the father long after his death. His hold grew stronger after he had passed to the point that he occupied the center of town. The citizens refused to bury him and his family carried him like an ever growing burden until finally, the decide it's time to finally bury him. Willow's demons work the same way, their burden finally grows to a point where she has no choice but to finally bury them if she's going to truly be free of them. In both books, the underlying theme is reconciling the past in order to move forward.
I can't discuss this novel without discussing the sex. This is, after all, from that great literary tradition known to some as “women's literature” or as many of my friends call it, “smut.” The sex is hot. I love reading a woman's perspective as to how she feels during carnal escapades. As such, if I said I wasn't turned on, my pants would be on fire. I doubt women would care to read the man's side of the act and I'm glad Sloan didn't attempt to do so. I'm not sure if I would care to read something from Letters from Your Nasty Neighbors in the middle of this story.
I found Perfectly Imperfect interesting. It was a neat exercise in reading outside of my interests. Harper does a great job at fleshing out Willow's character. We have a well developed picture of Willow from her shape to her thought process. Kane, however is a bit one dimensional. Not much more that a head shot with stereo- typically masculine attributes. Exactly they way a woman would perceive a man. She tries to show the feminine ideal by making him care, which, believe it or not, men do. But, his dialogue comes of stilted at best. Would I recommend this to other men for a starter into the world of smut? Not likely, but, it's as good a place as any.
Willow gives him a chance, but Kane is hiding a huge secret involving a rumor about his best friend Mia and him. A rumor that threatens to tear apart their relationship once it's become public.
Can Willow Tate and her relationship with acclaimed actor Kane Masters withstand the spotlight and controversy that comes with fame and celebrity?
Perfectly Imperfect deals heavily in body image issues and the everyday struggles of a young woman who's always been bullied for being overweight. However, it also shows that you can never underestimate how much support and love from an unexpected place can truly bring out self love and strength. I love when a book is more personal to an author. It can contribute so much more to the story.