Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Your Perfect Life, by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke - "Perfect" Can Be Relative

Your Perfect Life is another recommendation from my personal recommender Melissa Amster, at  Let's not forget that she is responsible for me finding out about Sarah Jio (Goodnight June) and Karma Brown (Come Away with Me) among several others.  In fact, if I don't stop reading all of her recs, I'm going to turn into a women's fiction groupie.  And what would my macho man buddies say about that?  Oh, wait.  I don't really have any of those. Regardless, I'm very happy I read YPL.  Here's the blurb:

Best friends since childhood, Casey and Rachel couldn't lead more different lives.  While workaholic Casey rubs elbows with celebrities daily as the host of Gossip TV and comes home nightly to an empty high-rise apartment, stay-at-home mom Rachel juggles an oops baby, two fiery teenagers, and a husband who only physically resembles the man she fell in love with two decades before.  After an argument at their twentieth high school reunion, they each throw back a shot to try and save the evening.  Instead, they get a life-changing hangover.
Waking up in each other's bodies the next morning, they must figure out how to navigate their altered realities.  Rachel is forced to face the broadcasting dreams she gave up when she got pregnant in college and Casey finally steps out of the spotlight to confront the real reason why she's alone.  Each woman will soon discover she doesn't know herself - or her best friend - nearly as well as she thought she did.

You all know what I think of 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  It's a time travel book that I absolutely loved.  But I had to accept the premise before I could take on the rest of the book.  The same thing is true of YPL.  Since I almost never read a blurb before I start a book, I had no idea their switch was going to happen.  And I have to admit that when I first read about it, on page 30, I was not happy.  I simply wasn't prepared for such a seemingly unrealistic development.  But I will tell you that I got over it VERY quickly.  And once I accepted the premise, just like for 11/22/63, the rest of the book flowed very plausibly.

Some other observations:
1.  I can definitely see how this book was written by 2 long-time friends.
2.  It is never a bad thing to be in someone else's shoes - a good takeaway (and you know how I like a good takeaway).
3.  Here's another valuable lesson - "If only I could've known then that you don't have to agree with your friends' choices to still be there for them."  Another good takeaway.  Kinda similar to #2.
4.  There are several other takeaways, but I just don't want to give them all away.  Trust me when I
tell you that there are plenty more.
5.  Small Spoiler Alert - as a reader, I could sure feel the transformation that took place with both women being in the other's body.
6.  I don't want you to think that I had no emotional connection. BECAUSE I DID!  At one point, I had tears rolling down my cheeks.  
7.  I also had a few personal connections:
a.  Casey and Rachel had their switch at a high school reunion.  I've got a really big one coming up this August.  Really big.
b.  At one point, Rachel's husband comes in for a "side hug."  My granddaughter, Haley, who is 12, only gives side hugs.
c.  Rachel has a 14-year old daughter who does a lot of eye-rolling.  I have another granddaughter who is 4(!) who already does some eye-rolling and will be doing a lot more of it in the years to come.

I haven't mentioned the writing itself.  It's terrific.  I will just give you one passage.  It's something that anybody who has ever taken care of a baby will relate to.  And for those of us with 3 children and 4 grandchildren, we can REALLY relate to it:  "I look over at Charlotte, who has a very serious look on her face.  Like she's trying to come up with the answer to something really complicated, like how to solve global warming or understand why Paris Hilton is still considered a celebrity." See what I mean?

Read Your Perfect Life, people.  You will not only enjoy it.  But you will also be reminded of what matters in our lives.  What else could you ask for?


  1. Great review! I am glad you liked it. I got emotional from it too.

  2. I liked this one as well, Lloyd!

  3. Sounds good! Guess I have to get this one! :--). (And I can so relate to hating a book in the beginning that turned out to be great. In fact, that was my reaction to 11/22/63!)

    1. Sometimes it's hard to keep going. But 11/22/63 is truly an outstanding book. It's in my top 12 all-time.

  4. I've read one book by Fenton and Stienke and really enjoyed it. I like the way they tackle serious issues in a lighthearted way.

    1. Hopefully I'll get to their other 2 books...someday.