Tuesday, March 10, 2009

By the Chapter Day 2: Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter

I'm participating in By the Chapter with Marcia of the Printed Page this week and we are discussing Mrs. Perfect. Read the Day 1 discussion here.

About the Book: As a young California girl growing up in a blue collar neighborhood, Taylor Young dreamed of being popular, beautiful, and acquiring a wardrobe to die for. Not to mention marrying a handsome, successful man and living happily ever after in a gorgeous house with three wonderful children. Now, at 36, Taylor has reached the pinnacle of her dreams, but is it all about to unravel? As the new school year approaches, Taylor prepares herself for playing the perfect alpha mom: organizing class activities, fund-raising, and chairing the school auction. But the horror! Her archrival, bohemian mom Marta Zinsser, is named Head Room Mom of Taylor's daughter's fifth grade class. As tensions rise at committee meetings and school activities, the two rivals seem to be destined for a final confrontation. But as Taylor plans her next move, she is floored by a more serious blow at home-her husband has been secretly unemployed for the past six months. With her posh lifestyle crumbling, Taylor struggles to maintain her alpha image-but could Marta, who cares little about appearances, be her only true friend?

My Thoughts So Far: I'm up through chapter 12 and finding it very hard to put this book down! But my thoughts on the book so far.

When I started reading the book, I thought I couldn't relate to Taylor at all. I'm not perfect. I felt stressed out in just the ways she tried to be perfect. But appearances can be deceiving and there are some things we have in common. Like spending money to feel better. Eating to feel better. Never feeling good enough. Pretty universal themes, even if I don't live in a rich area of Washington, am single, and don't have kids!

I really love just how human Jane Porter makes her characters....flawed but still likeable enough to root for. I have to admit I was shocked by the way Nathan handled the finances and that it took so long for Taylor to realize she should be upset by how long he'd been lying to her! Also, he said some really hurtful things to her, and she just seems rather okay with that. Is that part of marriage or part of her low self-esteem? Maybe there's some better reconciliation later in the book!

Anyway, I'm at the point in the book where they've just made a huge decision and it's kind of heartbreaking, even though part of me wants to scream "starving children in Ethiopia!!" Even though I'm not guilty of spending on the level they have, I am certainly guilty of not doing everything in my power to help starving children in Ethiopia so I really can't judge.

I love this book so far! Have you read it? How do you feel about Taylor? Do you relate to her? And for a totally off the wall question have any of you read any of Jane Porter's Harlequins? I kind of want to, just because I love her chick lit so much! Tomorrow, Marcia is hosting, but the discussion comes back here on Thursday see you then!



Julie P. said...

I actually relate to Taylor a lot, although I work to not be. I think I used to be a lot worse worrying about my appearances and what everyone thought of me. As I read this book, I definitely began to sympathize with her. I felt bad that she was so insecure about losing her husband.

S. Krishna said...

I really enjoyed this book as well. I hated Taylor at the beginning of the book but as the novel began unfolding, I realized her motives and started to sympathize with her a lot more. She comes across as really unpleasant at the beginning, but it's because of her insecurities - and don't we all have those!

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read this one yet, but after reading Booking Mama's review and your thoughts, I hope to get to it soon.

Melanie said...

Last night I picked up Flirting With Forty and read it. Now I'm excited to read Mrs. Perfect. I really enjoyed Porter's writing.

Darlene said...

I haven't read this one yet Amy but after reading your chats all week I imagine it'll be making its way into my house. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Alix said...

I haven't read it but it certainly sounds interesting.

kel said...

I haven't read it, but I am adding it to my tbr list!

Anonymous said...

Neither Taylor nor Nathan appear to have many redeeming qualities early to midway through the book. They live way beyond their means and the picture book marriage suffers from insecurities and betrayal. As the story unfolds though the strong woman lurking inside Taylor starts to shine through. Whether they can salvage the lives they built has yet to be revealed but I'm rooting for Taylor to preserver. Taylor isn't the most likeable person but there's more than meets the eye.

This is fast becoming my favorite Jane Porter book.

Yvonne said...

I have this one in my TBR and it sounds great!

BTW, I gave you an award, stop by and check it out :)

photoquest said...

I loved this book and also Odd Mom out! Her characters are totally relatable and real.

Amy said...

Julie...I do have an approval problem in that I like to please people, so I can relate on that level.

Swapna..yes we do!

Kathy...I eagerly await your review!

Melanie...I think you'll really like it!

Dar...I hope you get the chance to read it!

Alexa...it really is very good!


Marcia...I heard a lot of people say it was the best one. I haven't read all of them yet.

Yvonne..thanks so much!

Lori...they really do have so much heart!

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