Friday, April 6, 2018

Book Review: 'A Perfect Man' by Cecilia Dominic


All the characters in A Perfect Man come with a heavy load of emotional baggage. Cecilia Dominic blends them together, much like one might take leftovers in the refrigerator to make a casserole. She mixes them, lets them heat up, bubble, and blend together to become an interesting creation.
Karen and Seth, the main characters, are both burdened down with badly damaged self-esteem. When their professor says they must collaborate to create a novella, they embark on a prickly path that threatens to do even more damage to their self-esteem.
Karen, still dealing with the aftermath of a relationship that stifled her, is now obliged to find ways to work with her professor who is a longtime friend of the narcissistic man Karen walked away from. In addition, she must work with Seth who hijacked her story. Even at coffee time, she adds more stress baggage to her emotional load. She becomes friends with two older women in the graduate program, who are struggling with their own load of emotions. Her upbeat, bubbly, psych major roommate gets her involved in a research project that brings Karen in contact with more narcissistic people, one of whom proves to be an alarming protagonist. In all the chaos, Karen must continue to deal with Seth and the characters in the developing novella.
Seth has as many, if not more, relating-to-people conflicts as Karen has. Some of his conflicts are of longer standing than hers. Consequently, the author of The Perfect Man has much to blend together. How she brings it all together, makes an unusual adventure in reading.
The writing style, with italic often used, is somewhat distracting for me. However, the overall taste of the story kept me wanting to keep reading to learn how there could possibly be a happy-ever-after come out of such a mix of characters and emotional chaos.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.