RATING: READ IT
This may be the most personal review for me to date. I’m almost at a loss for how to begin writing this. Let me give a little background info first, that may help.
I’ve recently discovered my love for audiobooks. NOT taking away my love of reading, page for page, a great story, but I drive a great deal for my work and business and have loved listening to books to pass the drive-time. With technology being what it is, I can also download the book, listen in the car and then read when I’m with clients. FYI, cats love being petted while you read a good book.
I was torn between books to listen to using my Audible credit. SO many great reads are vying for my attention (why can’t they be men instead?), and I didn’t know which one to choose. Then I saw it: Perfectly Imperfect by Harper Sloan. This book has been raved about for months and months. The reviews and friends in my book groups all said the same thing: this book is life changing! Imagine my excitement over reading a life-changing book!
I downloaded the book from KU, used my Audible free book credit and off I went. And here’s where it gets difficult. My life wasn’t changed. If anything, I found myself at odds sometimes with the characters in the book and their approach to happiness. I know, I know, we all reach our happiness differently, but I’m a believer that individuals seek true happiness out of their own need and want to do so, not to please someone else. So while masterfully written with characters that even my cold soul ached for, I walked away from Perfectly Imperfect feeling let down and a bit depressed because, well, maybe I just didn’t get it?
This is the story of Willow Tate, basically an orphan after a drunk-driving accident kills her mother and badly injures her. The hate and resentment of the accident and loss of her mother is the only remnant of the relationship she has with her step-father and step-sister. To make matters worse, she’s divorcing her horrible, verbally abuse, cheating husband who could never understand Willow’s depression. This girl has had it rough since her mother’s death and eating down the emotion is the only way she knows to cope. As one can imagine, her weight went way up and her self-esteem way down. She tries to improve with the help of therapy and great friends (Eddie and Kirby), but she still struggles. Until she meets Kane Masters.
Kane is THE man of any good wet dream – Hollywood royalty, super good looks, rich beyond imagination with his own production company. He’s the guy everyone wants, but he only wants Willow. After catching a glimpse of her from across the room years earlier at a charity event, he’s never forgotten about her. Fortune shines down on Kane when he sees Willow at her divorce attorney’s office. He puts into action a plan to win her over, for good, this time. He does eventually win the girl, but not without patience and understanding of her low self-worth and self-esteem. It’s with Kane’s unconditional support and love that Willow begins to heal years and years of self-loathing and doubt.
So, it sounds amazing right? It is! It’s a beautiful love story with hot, HOT scenes between Willow + Kane that we desire in a good romance read. I dare even say it’s one of the best insta-love reads for me ever (and those who follow the blog know I’m not an instal-love fan – that’s Mila!).
Where then am I not feeling this story? Willow. Here’s why: Until the age of 38, I was obese. My health took a turn for the worse when my own immune system started attacking me for unknown reasons. I was threatened with hospitalization repeatedly by my doctor because I was so sick. For weeks! My mother had to help me shower and dress and I could barely keep down food. It was humiliating and mortifying. I’m not the needy type. Having to rely on my own mother for basic daily needs was a low point in my life, illness or not. With the help of high doses of strong antibiotics and continued rest, I got better. Then the day came – my doctor, a man who has cared for me since I was 12, put his foot down and said, “Enough, Robyn.” While we still don’t understand why my body gave out on me during that spring, we do know that my obesity played a major factor.
After running several tests on me to be safe that my organs weren’t damaged form the illness and cure, I was given the okay to start safely losing weight under his watchful eye. I was broken, depressed and had just about given up on life. I had nothing to do but try. Before doing anything though, my doctor made it very clear that the only way I was going to be successful is if I made the decision to do so FOR ME. I was the only one that could do the work. I was the only one who could evaluate and give praise. I was the only one who could make the change.
I thought long and hard about it, fearful of having to make some seriously HUGE changes in my life, but I decided I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to stay down and I was going to do it. That was more than three years and almost 100 lbs ago. Every day I struggle with negative thoughts, every day I struggle with food choices and exercise, but every day is a new day for me to work toward the life I want. I don’t put up the fight for my family or friends, not even my furries and they are my heart. I’m single, so I’m not doing this for a husband or boyfriend. I do it because even during the daily struggle, I’m happier now than ever before.
So here’s the disconnect: I just couldn’t relate to Willow’s willingness to make the changes in her life for other people. Whether it was losing weight to impress her stepfamily or feeling whole because of Kane, while reading I just felt that she made the changes for everyone other than herself. And though it’s referenced late in the book that she realizes she made the changes for herself, I never once read it that way.
Support from others is most definitely needed on this journey, but if you aren’t doing it for you, you’ll never really hear or feel the support and, in the end, you won’t be successful. I’m sure by now you’re wondering if I liked the book at all. And I did, truly, deeply I did. My suggestion is to read it, but take it for what it is: a fictional romance story. If you’re looking for help on how to take the first step toward a healthier life, contact me! That is something I have real life experience with!
As of 7.8.16, Perfectly Imperfect is available on Kindle Unlimited.