5 out of 5 stars
I wanted to start my literary reading journey in 2013 off on a good note thus first novel of the year is The Perfect Marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby. The Perfect Marriage introduces us to Derrek and Denise Shaw with a seemingly perfect marriage. Derrek and Denise live in the plush suburbs of Chicago with their preteen daughter Mackenzie. Life is picturesque for the couple from the outside looking in, however a closer look reveals the ugly truth for Derrek and Denise. Derrek is a loving husband and father to his wife and child. However, the relationships with his immediate family has been strained since childhood. Derrek's relationship with his brother Dixon is closely examined and causes an emotional climax for the reader. Sometimes those that we keep at a distance teach us so much about ourselves and how short our time really is. Denise is overworked, preoccupied, and misunderstood by those around her. Her father's great expectations of perfection have clouded Denise's judgement of logic. Denise and Derrek resolve life's chaos through substance abuse resulting in a dark haze that has dire consequences in every aspect of their lives.
The Perfect Marriage is an amazing book that causes you to reflect and reasses the choices we make and how we respond to life's imperfections. Roby has taken a taboo subject and brought it up close and personal with a soft intimacy and class that very few writers can accomplish. Denise and Derrek are authentic, relateable, and transparent enough to weave a cautionary tale of choices and the lives we so desperately live through others. The Perfect Marriage is a sharp, emotional, and a intense tale of two passionate lovers running from their past and conforming to societies ideals of making things better. I enjoyed this novel and you will too!!