In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke

In a Perfect WorldIn a Perfect World: A Novel by Laura Kasischke (Harper Perennial, October 6, 2009), 336 pages

The world is coming to an end, and we learn this from sources more varied and more reliable (not to mention more plentiful) than Chicken Little. But that’s a different aspect of the story. Where was I? Oh yes. Jiselle had nearly given up hope that she’d ever find someone. She tried not to look too far past the next flight, the next day, but when she did look forward, she wondered if she’d ever get to wear the white dress, instead of the ugly bridesmaid dresses she was always wearing for fellow (often now retired) flight attendants. But then the handsome widower pilot starts courting her. Yes, she’s heard whispers about how hard it’s been for him to keep a nanny since his wife died. But he’s so devoted to his three children! Jiselle’s mother warns her against the marriage, but that’s probably just because she was stuck in a bad one for too long, right?

In a Perfect World is kind of dystopian, but also kind of not. If it is dystopian, I’d compare it to 1984, but told from the perspective of a very clueless character who’s ignoring the whole thing (to go back to my previous allusion, I think I could say told from the perspective of Henny Penny). In that way, it’s surreal.

We never saw what our characters were thinking, except sometimes tangentially through their actions. This made the book flat for me.

Maybe if I was a mom or if I had stepchildren this book would have been a richer experience for me. Even without that, watching the relationships change over the course of the book was fun.

Although I don’t necessarily need all my endings to be tied up neatly with bows, I was dissatisfied with the ending of In a Perfect World.

About the author
Laura Kasischke is the author of Boy Heaven, her first novel for teens, as well as The Life Before Her Eyes, Be Mine, and seven collections of poetry. She teaches in the University of Michigan creative writing MFA program and the Residential College.

Check out the rest of the TLC Book Tour stops for In a Perfect World.

Other reviews
A High and Hidden Place
The Book Nest
The Zen Leaf

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher as part of the book tour.


8 responses to “In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke

  1. Pingback: Interview with Laura Kasischke, author of In a Perfect World « Word Lily

  2. Hm, I’m not sure what to think of this book. I don’t think I’ll seek it out, but if it falls in my lap, I may give it a try.

  3. I think I’m more curious about this book now than I was before! I’m not a mom either, so I wonder if it would work for me or if it would fall flat for me as well?

    Anyway, thanks for being on this tour, Hannah!

  4. The ending of the book was the biggest issue I had with it as well. I am not a person that likes grey in these situations. I don’t like to have to imagine or interpret what I think the ending is….I want to be told in no uncertain terms. The only case where vague works for me is if there is a sequel on the way. In that case I know I’ll eventually find out even though I have to wait for a bit until I do.

  5. Pingback: Words from my reading « Word Lily

  6. This was definitely a different read for me! Not because of the dystopian aspect — I’ve been reading a ton of dystopian fiction for some reason… — but, like you said, because we were totally outside the minds of the characters. In some ways, I liked that Jiselle wasn’t narrating the story… and in other ways, it definitely frustrated me!

    In the end, I actually really liked this one… as you mentioned, watching the evolution of the relationships was really interesting. I definitely wanted to punch a few people — particularly main male characters? — in the brain, though.

  7. Pingback: In A Perfect World, by Laura Kasischke | Linus's Blanket

  8. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: November 7, 2009 : Semicolon

What do you think? I'd love to know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s