Friday, June 29, 2012

#BookReview: Imperfect Bliss - Susan Fales-Hill

In what's a clear departure from 2010's One Flight Up, Imperfect Bliss falls short of what I expected from someone that once wrote for The Cosby Show, A Different World and Linc's.  Today's television networks rely heavily on reality TV and that's the world that Fales-Hill plunges us into with her latest.

The overly dramatic Forsythia and mild mannered Harold have successfully raised four daughters.  Well, successfully may be a bit of a stretch.  Oldest daughter Victoria is just this side of becoming an old maid.  Second eldest daughter Bliss, a recent divorcee, has returned home with her four year old daughter, Bella, in tow.  Third daughter Charlotte desperately seeks attention in all of the wrong places.  And youngest daughter Diana is about to turn everyone's world upside down.

Diana undoubtedly grew up watching reality TV shows like The Bachelor, so it shouldn't have come as a shock to anyone in the family when she announces that she's been picked to star in her own reality show called The Virgin.  Always ready to claim the spotlight that is rightfully hers, Forsythia is on board from day one, but the rest of the family, especially Bliss, isn't so sure they want their everyday lives broadcast across the country for eight months.  It doesn't matter.  Eventually all of the Harcourts are swept up in the madness of The Virgin, whether they want to be or not.

There are a lot of story lines going on throughout the book and, honestly, it was hard to muster up a care about any of them.  I found Forsythia to be highly annoying with her obsession with skin color and her perceived idea of perfection.  Watching her reject her grandchild and anyone else didn't meet her standards of perfection was painful.  Charlotte as the promiscuous bad girl seeking her family's attention seemed very stereotypical.  Interestingly, the daughter upon whom the reality show is based, almost gets the smallest story line.  It's interesting that Fales-Hill would choose to build the book around Bliss, given that Diana's appearing on The Virgin is the basis for so much of the family drama and interaction.

Imperfect Bliss really could have been a much more enjoyable story  had it taken away several of the distractions in the forms of Forsythia and The Virgin and spent more time focusing on Bliss' relationship with her father, daughter and the men in her life.  I would have also loved to see more attention paid to Victoria.  In my opinion, her story line was the most interesting of all.

Published: July 2012
Disclosure: Copy received from publisher, opinions are my own.


Theme: We Are Family by Sister Sledge

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