The Perfect Family by Kathryn Shay
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publish Date: September 14, 2010 (Amazon says it will have in stock August 30)
Paperback, 264 Pages
My Review:Why I read this book: I love participating in Pump Up Your Books book tours and when I saw Kathryn Shay's name as one of the authors I really wanted to be a part. I've read at least 3 of her books and enjoyed all of them and thought this book sounded interesting.
How is this book driven: Character all the way - the events are important, but what the characters do and go through is pivotal to the book.
My Thoughts: The Perfect Family is a very impressive endeavor on Ms. Shay's part. She has taken a subject that everyone knows about and most everyone has an opinion on, homosexuality and worked it out from all sides. What would it be like for you as the mother of a son who figures out that he is gay and doesn't want to hide it? What about for the father who is a strong proponent of the Catholic Church?. What about the virile, attractive older brother who is a jock? What about the boy himself and friends and other family members? The amazing thing is Ms. Shay handles this with grace without portraying anyone as a bad guy (well except for a few true bigots in the story). But most of the main characters aren't really sure what they should feel and fall into that gray area that I believe most of us are in.
First I should state I am a Christian, but I found Ms. Shay's book very thought-provoking and eye-opening. I am one of those who truly believes we should love everyone so I really felt for Jaime in this book. I felt for most of the main characters. Ms. Shay did a great job developing the characters so they were multi-dimensional and their struggles felt very real. I honestly felt I was alongside of each one going through the feelings with them. They storyline grabbed me and didn't let me go.
I didn't feel like an agenda was being forced on me with this book either, I really felt it was there as a book to read and enjoy and maybe educate a little on the subject of loving those who are homosexuals and accepting them as part of society, not ostracizing them. It is an absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking book.
The character I could most relate to was obviously the mother, Maggie, as I think most moms and most women can. All she wants is everyone around here to be happy and she thinks she's the key to doing that. What mom or woman doesn't think that? I am struggling with it myself. But the truth is one person cannot make the whole family happy, they all have to work together to do it. I could also see Michael's point-of-view. I am not Catholic, but the Methodist Church shares a lot of the same views, but I love that he was a balance, he struggled and was not a characterization of a heavy-handed Christian. It was a struggle for him to take his beliefs and form them in with his life and the fact that his son was gay.
I just can't say enough about this book. If you enjoy thought-provoking fiction along the lines of Jodi Picoult I think this is a book for you. It's an amazing read and one I found hard to put down.
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
For more information on Kathryn Shay and this book, please see my tour post here.
FTC Information: I received this book from Pump Up Your Book Promotions for review. I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws. I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.