Thursday, June 18, 2009

Perfection by Julie Metz

I am not sure why I wanted to read this book. I guess most people are drawn in by tales of betrayal. I think the story behind this novel is horrific. It’s hard to imagine being married to someone for sixteen years and finding out that your spouse had so many secrets. It’s hard to imagine being married to someone, sharing a life with someone who could cheat on you repeatedly without you knowing. And I guess that’s what makes this book interesting: this happens so much in our country and yet people rarely talk openly about infidelity.

When Metz meets her husband’s psychiatrist the shrink explains that she believes Henry showed signs of narcissistic personality disorder. The shrink also believe his main mistress (the mother of Henry and Julie’s daughter’s best friend) has borderline personality disorder. It was interesting to consider that all sorts of wrong behavior can be explained away by psychological issues. It made me think of someone I knew in high school, who consistently cheated on his girlfriend. I actually know at least two guys who were committed to girlfriends but cheated on them more than once. One of the guys took part in this behavior with two different girlfriends. Both of these guys are incredibly intelligent. As a young college student, I just couldn’t understand. I thought: “you pick: either one girl you get every night, or a different girl every night. It’s simple.” I understand now how naïve I was --hell, I am still naïve. Love, sex – it’s all complicated and I am in no way an expert.

I am glad to know that Julie and her daughter have moved on and are finding new forms of happiness. It’s hard to read this memoir and not feel their pain. I found the writing somewhat detached. She told the story in a very straight-forward, bare bones way. It was the story itself that makes this book readable, not the writing.

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