Select one of the keywords
Perfect Reader    by Maggie Pouncey order for
Perfect Reader
by Maggie Pouncey
Order:  USA  Can
Pantheon, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Perfect Reader is a debut novel for author Maggie Pouncey. Booklist calls it 'sparkling, shrewd'. Kirkus says that 'Pouncey's first is impressively mature and entertaining.' I agree with both evaluations. Perfect Reader is a whale of a gracious, insightful and thoroughly enjoyable book.

Flora Dempsey gives up her magazine job in New York to return to her New England hometown of Darwin after her father's death. The father she thought she knew isn't the man she discovers after moving back into his house, now hers. Also hers are poems he wrote and left to her as his literary executor. She keeps discovering sides of him that do not relate to the father she thought she knew. Including the woman in his life, to whom the poems were written.

Do we ever really know anyone completely? The mother you think you knew is not the mother your siblings grew up with. As the sister you were closest to is not the girl your brother knew. The older I become, the more I realize that I really don't know anyone, only get glimpses of them as they relate to me.

Flora makes these same disconcerting discoveries and has a hard time dealing with them. She was intended to publish the poems written by her father, a beloved former college president and famous literary critic. Why can't she give these poems to the world? Life becomes harder and harder for Flora as she struggles with her past and with the indecisions that guide her future.

At times Perfect Reader is a hard novel in which to become engrossed. The reader (me) wants Flora to do the right thing. But what really is the right thing? Perfect Reader should be on your must-read list.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews