Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Perfect Life

Title:  A Perfect Life
Author:  Danielle Steel
Publication Information:  Delacorte Press. 2014. 320 pages.
ISBN:  0345530942 / 978-0345530943

Book Source:  I read this book just because.

Favorite Quote:  "After that, all I cared about was my career. It didn't hurt as much as loving a person. People die, they cheat, they lie, they disappoint you. And work is just work."

I have read Danielle Steel books for a long time. At one point in my life, the characters and the stories really resonated with me. Not as much anymore, but I still continue to look for her books as they come out:

In this book, Blaise McCarthy is a TV news person. She is beautiful. She is well off financially. She is successful in her career. Other aspects of her life, however, show the cracks in her "perfect" life. Her place at the network is being threatened by a younger, newer reporter. Blaise still hangs on to a old relationship that was not healthy for her and did not end well. She deals with her daughter's disability is an almost passive manner.

My biggest issue in this book is the decisions that Blaise makes regarding her daughter. Salima goes blind at a young age as an effect of Type 1 diabetes. Blaise places her in a full-time boarding school. Unfortunately, that choice does not lead to Salima learning the skills to live with her disability. Instead, it results in her being in a cocoon, completely sheltered and completely cared for but also completely unable to care for herself. Blaise visits when she can, but Salima rarely leaves her comfort zone.

It is disappointing to see that treatment of a disability. It seems out of character with someone who successfully manages her career, manages life as a single parent, and is a strong independent woman. Would you not want the same independence and confidence for your child? This kind of institutionalization also seems out of place in this day and age. Why should blindness prevent Salima from fully participating in her life and from exploring her opportunities as any other young person would?

To make things worse, the turnaround is instant. Salima is forced home upon the death of her school caretaker. Along with her comes a replacement caretaker - Simon. Simon is a man who pushes the boundaries set for Salima and forces her out of her shell. Yet, the change is so quick as to be unrealistic. Overnight, Salima goes from being a teenager who cannot even dress herself to a young woman chasing a life and a career. Life is not that simple. In the interest of keeping a story readable and concise, I could see glossing over some of the tough details. This book, however, provides no details despite its length. It goes into none of the trials and tribulations that must be part of this process.

Other than Salima's story, the rest of this book is pretty much standard Danielle Steel fare - beautiful people, a little romance, some trying circumstances - all coming together at the end for a predictable ending. Unfortunately, I could not get past the treatment of Salima's blindness to enjoy the rest of the book for what it was - a quick little romance story.

Lately, I have been disappointed in the Danielle Steel books I have read. Part of that is due to the fact that my reading habits have changed. Part of it is due to the content of the books. Regardless of the lack of depth, the books used to be able to elicit an emotional response or provide that feel good story when you need it. Unfortunately, this book does neither. Maybe I will stop looking for the new ones now.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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