Did she or did she not? This is the first question for the reader to ponder in the Perfect book by English author Rachel Joyce. Perfect is not an adjective, but the name of the novel – like “Who” is on first in the Abbot and Costello routine.

Actually, this is the second question which arises from the first one which was, “Did they really add two seconds of time to the clock in 1972 in the middle of the day?” It just seems like the first since everything that follows hinges on the answer to “Did she or did she not?” which in its own way hinges on the first question about the two seconds. If you think this paragraph is convoluted, you need to read the book.

Maybe Byron’s mother did and maybe she did not hit a little girl on a red bicycle in that two second time addition. Of course that leads to all sorts of other questions, all of them with a feeling of eeriness. To give just a few samples:
•    What secret does Diana, Byron’s mother, hide on Digby Road?
•    Will the Perfect Plan, concocted by Byron’s friend James clear up the hit-and-run problem or make it infinitely worse?
•    Who is Jim, obviously afflicted with OCD, and why does he keep turning up in odd chapters?
•    Then it gets really complicated with whether or not Beverley is using her daughter Jeanie, who may or may not be injured, to pull social and economic blackmail, and whether Bryon’s father who shows up periodically on weekends will notice the money being taken out of the family pot.
•    Could two seconds of time, even if added in the middle of the day, turn so many lives upside down?

As usual, I did not read other comments or check the author website until I had finished reading the book and doing my review in order to form my own opinion. I did want to know more about the author and checked her website at In her letter about this book she also talks about its many questions. Her take is quite interesting and not too far from mine.
Weirdness, and I mean this in the best possible way, lasts all the way to the last period in this book. If you enjoy readjusting your viewpoint all the way through a book, I would say this one is – well – “perfect.”