Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review: Perfect Reader

Perfect Reader by Maggie Pouncey

(For review from Pantheon)


In this delightful debut novel, a daughter of a quaint New England college town returns to confront her father’s legacy and the surprising pieces of life he has left behind.

Maggie Pouncey has created an unforgettable charac ter in the young, headstrong, and quick-witted Flora Dempsey, the only child of Lewis Dempsey, beloved former college president and a famous academic in the league of Harold Bloom. On hearing the news of her father’s death, Flora hastily quits her big-city magazine job and returns to her hometown to in habit his house. But even weightier is her appoint ment as her father’s literary executor; it seems he was secretly writing poems at the end of his life—love poems, to a girlfriend Flora didn’t even know he had. Suddenly besieged by well-wishers and literary blog gers alike, Flora has no choice but to figure out how to navigate it all: the fate of the poems, her relation­ship with the girlfriend who wants a place in her life, her memories of her parents’ divorce, and her own uncertain future.

At once comic and profound,
Perfect Reader is a heady, uplifting story of loneliness and of the spur to growth that grief can be. Brimming with life, and with the elbow-patchy wisdom and energy of her still-vivid father, Flora’s story will set her free to be the “perfect reader” not only of her father’s life but of her own life as well.


Perfect Reader is very well developed for a debut novel. I was really surprised at the in-depth descriptions and superb character development. Pouncey's details about the town where Flora grew up make the reader feel like they are really there and can smell the flowers and see the beautiful tree lined streets.

Flora Dempsey takes more than one journey in this book. From her big city home where she has a job working at a magazine to the streets of her New England childhood home. But, she embarks on another journey to find out more about the father she feels she didn't know very well. He had been writing poems to a woman that Flora knew nothing about and since his death, this girlfriend wants to claim the poems. Flora also takes a journey of self discovery as she processes the grief surrounding her father's death and her return home.

This book has a very uplifting message and shows how people deal with grief differently and the steps that a person goes through as they deal with it. Flora's character goes through a gambit of emotions including joy, as she remembers her father, anger as she deals with the new girlfriend in his life and sadness as she misses him. I thought this was a very good book and I am looking forward to more books from Maggie Pouncey.

Perfect Reader is available now at your favorite bookseller.

I am giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Here is some more information about Maggie Pouncey.

Maggie Pouncey was born in New York City and grew up there, as well as in Amherst, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut. She received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and at the Bard Prison Initiative. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.


Mystica said...

This sounds a very good read. Thanks

Llehn said...

This sounds like a really good debut!!