Title: Perfect Peace: A Novel
Author: Daniel Black
Publication: March 16, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin‘s Press
Audience: 17 and up
The heartbreaking portrait of a large, rural southern family’s attempt to grapple with their mother’s desperate decision to make her newborn son into the daughter she will never have
When the seventh child of the Peace family, named Perfect, turns eight, her mother Emma Jean tells her bewildered daughter, “You was born a boy. I made you a girl. But that ain’t what you was supposed to be. So, from now on, you gon’ be a boy. It’ll be a little strange at first, but you’ll get used to it, and this’ll be over after while.” From this point forward, his life becomes a bizarre kaleidoscope of events. Meanwhile, the Peace family is forced to question everything they thought they knew about gender, sexuality, unconditional love, and fulfillment.
My Thoughts: This is a story of unconditional love, survival, and finding oneself. Daniel Black has done an excellent job of creating realistic characters and a storyline to keep readers turning the pages. All Emma Jean has ever wanted is a little girl. Emma Jean wants to give her daughter everything she never had. After giving birth to her seventh son Emma Jean is desperate for a daughter and does the unthinkable to achieve her goal.
The entire time I was reading this story I had mixed feelings toward Emma Jean. Even though her motives were selfish Emma Jean did her best for her family. Her methods are extreme yet logical; in a crazy kind of way. Of course, Emma Jean spoils Perfect (I think she is Emma Jean’s favorite) and is over protective, but with a secret as big as this one, she has to keep all her bases covered.
It was interesting to see how the family dynamics changed once Emma Jean tells that Perfect is as boy. It was almost like watching a monster truck rally. You know the cars are going to get smashed but you just can’t help but to keep watching (well, reading.) I was surprised at how some of the family treats Perfect afterwards. Emma Jean has forever changed her family. You will have to read this to see how it all turns out.