My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Elizabeth LaBan’s Not Perfect has a few things in common with the book I finished just prior to reading this one, Big, Little, Lies – a few hazy facts, lots of unanswered questions, distracting hints, and possible death (so it wasn’t surprising that the main character Not Perfect is reading another of Liane Moriarty’s novels). The fact that I’d just finished that brilliant work didn’t do Not Perfect any favors. Don’t get me wrong, Not Perfect is an enjoyable read but I couldn’t help comparing it to Big, Little, Lies. I know I shouldn’t do that so I’ll attempt to review it without the comparisons.
Not Perfect is the story of a woman, Tabitha, whose husband has simply abandoned her and their two children with seemingly no way to contact him and no clue as to where he’s gone. Tabitha’s reaction to their increasingly desperate situation had me asking myself if I would do the same things she did in order to keep her children fed and healthy. And if I would have broken my silence sooner. I didn’t always like Tabitha or her choices but she wasn’t deserving of the cruel treatment by her husband with his threats and secrets. Stuart poisoned this book for me. His motivation (not that there could ever be good motivation for abandoning your children) was pitiful. So you felt trapped in your life; so you ended up with the wrong woman; so you are heartbroken. None of those are excuses for allowing your children to go hungry. I longed to reach into the pages and slap the man silly. And then to slap Tabitha for her underwhelming reaction to his return and his pleas. I hope I’m not giving too much away.
Apart from my passionate dislike for Stuart, I never really connected emotionally with the characters. I think they could have been more development had there not been so many events in such a short book. I wanted to want root for Tabitha, and Toby and I wanted to learn more about Nora and the money. I guess that’s what’s left me so unsatisfied – I have unanswered questions and disappointing conclusions.
Recommendation: Read this book first and then read Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies