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A breathtakingly honest, gloriously written memoir about the complexities of forgiveness when a young widow discovers her husband's secret life after his death. Julie Metz seemed to have the perfect life--an adoring if demanding husband, a happy, spirited daughter, a lovely old house in an idyllic town outside New York City--when in an instant, everything changed. Her char A breathtakingly honest, gloriously written memoir about the complexities of forgiveness when a young widow discovers her husband's secret life after his death. Julie Metz seemed to have the perfect life--an adoring if demanding husband, a happy, spirited daughter, a lovely old house in an idyllic town outside New York City--when in an instant, everything changed. Her charismatic, charming husband, Henry, suffered a pulmonary embolism and collapsed on the kitchen floor. Within hours he was dead, and Julie was a widow and single mother at 44. Just like that, what seemed like a perfect life melted away. But the worst was yet to come.Six months after his death, Julie discovered that her husband of 12 years, the man who loved her and their six-year-old daughter ebulliently and devotedly, had been unfaithful throughout their marriage, going so far as to conduct an ongoing relationship with one of Julie's close friends. This memoir--moving, simple, filled with incandescent images--is the story of coming to terms with painful truths, of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood. Ultimately, it is a story of rebirth and happiness--if not perfection.


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A breathtakingly honest, gloriously written memoir about the complexities of forgiveness when a young widow discovers her husband's secret life after his death. Julie Metz seemed to have the perfect life--an adoring if demanding husband, a happy, spirited daughter, a lovely old house in an idyllic town outside New York City--when in an instant, everything changed. Her char A breathtakingly honest, gloriously written memoir about the complexities of forgiveness when a young widow discovers her husband's secret life after his death. Julie Metz seemed to have the perfect life--an adoring if demanding husband, a happy, spirited daughter, a lovely old house in an idyllic town outside New York City--when in an instant, everything changed. Her charismatic, charming husband, Henry, suffered a pulmonary embolism and collapsed on the kitchen floor. Within hours he was dead, and Julie was a widow and single mother at 44. Just like that, what seemed like a perfect life melted away. But the worst was yet to come.Six months after his death, Julie discovered that her husband of 12 years, the man who loved her and their six-year-old daughter ebulliently and devotedly, had been unfaithful throughout their marriage, going so far as to conduct an ongoing relationship with one of Julie's close friends. This memoir--moving, simple, filled with incandescent images--is the story of coming to terms with painful truths, of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood. Ultimately, it is a story of rebirth and happiness--if not perfection.

30 review for Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This book fell far short of its promise. It is presented as the story of a woman finding out about her husband's infidelity after his early death, but it's really more about how she coped. And how she coped appeared to involve a lot of screaming profanities at people, and bouncing into bed with people she didn't much like. She comes off as profoundly unlikeable (which made me wonder why all these men were chasing her, frankly). Certain segments of the book definitely read like vengeance on her d This book fell far short of its promise. It is presented as the story of a woman finding out about her husband's infidelity after his early death, but it's really more about how she coped. And how she coped appeared to involve a lot of screaming profanities at people, and bouncing into bed with people she didn't much like. She comes off as profoundly unlikeable (which made me wonder why all these men were chasing her, frankly). Certain segments of the book definitely read like vengeance on her dead husband - exposing all his faults and foibles to get back at him (he can't fight back now). She implies that his infidelities were out of the blue and a great surprise - but then catalogs all the numerous red flags that had appeared in their relationship, starting with the moment they first met. In the acknowledgments, she thanks Elizabeth Gilbert - I'm guessing this is the same EG who wrote Eat, Pray, Love (one of the worst books I've read in a long time), because it totally makes sense that they would be friends - they are both totally selfish and self-absorbed. On the other hand, Metz is a lovely writer. That was the only thing I liked in the book - but after a while, her grating personality distracted me from the nice writing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christi

    This book sounded interesting to me: the memoir of a woman who discovers her husband has a secret life... after he drops dead on their kitchen floor. I wanted to learn about his secrets and kept turning the pages until Metz uncovered them for me. But after that, I didn't really feel like I cared enough about Metz to keep reading the predictable trajectory of her ultimate forgiveness and acceptance. Her husband seemed duplicitous but interesting, while Metz does not. If anything, she makes such a This book sounded interesting to me: the memoir of a woman who discovers her husband has a secret life... after he drops dead on their kitchen floor. I wanted to learn about his secrets and kept turning the pages until Metz uncovered them for me. But after that, I didn't really feel like I cared enough about Metz to keep reading the predictable trajectory of her ultimate forgiveness and acceptance. Her husband seemed duplicitous but interesting, while Metz does not. If anything, she makes such a point of disavowing the suburban life and the "bucolic small town" she once chose to live in that I began to feel like I was someone she would make fun of if she ever met me (in my Dansko clogs). I realize that a memoir is supposed to be confessional and revealing, but the confessions in this book made me sometimes cringe in embarrassment for the people she wrote about, and I felt especially bad for her husband, who is not in a position to defend himself (not that his actions are defensible, but wouldn't this be anyone's worst nightmare -- to have your secret e-mails and private thoughts laid bare for even strangers to read about?). I never thought I'd be one to complain about too much information in a memoir, but I felt that way while reading this book. Metz seems to want to take the higher ground when it comes to relationships and love, but is writing a memoir about infidelity the way to get to this higher ground? Or is it a form of revenge? All I know is that I didn't like the way I felt after I read this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elixxir

    As a married chick I have a morbid fascination with tales of adultery and betrayal and I'm clearly biased towards the wife. Good grief, how do you take a story so rife with drama and make it this painfully boring? I mentioned that to a friend and her comment was 'maybe that's why he cheated'. Yes, we're mean. But not necessarily wrong. Nothing to new to see, learn or experience here. Pass.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Geez Louise. When I read the blurb of this book (it's a memoir of a woman who, after her husband's sudden death, discovers that he was a serial cheater), I thought, "Huh. She has a six year old daughter, who will one day read this book. Not very nice for little Liza. Odd choice for Mommy to make." But it was on sale, 20% off, and it exercised a horrid fascination for me, so I bought it. And read it. In this book, Julie Metz logs, in great detail: her fights with her husband. Her sexual adventure Geez Louise. When I read the blurb of this book (it's a memoir of a woman who, after her husband's sudden death, discovers that he was a serial cheater), I thought, "Huh. She has a six year old daughter, who will one day read this book. Not very nice for little Liza. Odd choice for Mommy to make." But it was on sale, 20% off, and it exercised a horrid fascination for me, so I bought it. And read it. In this book, Julie Metz logs, in great detail: her fights with her husband. Her sexual adventures (including sex with a married man) before marrying Henry. Henry's affairs, including graphic email exchanges. Her shrieking rants to the Other Women. Her (pretty yucky) sexual relationships after Henry dies, all unhidden from her confused and grieving daughter. Her ugly attitude toward the small daughter of Henry's longest-running affair (formerly her daughter's best friend). Her deeply selfish and self-indulgent mothering choices, including sharing her daughter's bed whenever she had no sexual partner. And last, but by no means least, her spiteful and patronizing attitude toward friends who (unbelievably) supported her through this ordeal. Julie Metz is loyal to no one but Julie Metz. You know what? I'm gonna say it: I JUDGE HER. In my considered opinion, Julie got the husband she deserved, because she is not a good person. But the book is sort of creepily fascinating, in the same way tabloids are - and I feel about the same amount of embarrassment for having bought it that I would have felt for buying National Enquirer.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I had to give up after 100 pages because time is precious. I found this book to be utterly annoying, with false notes on every page. Supposedly she is writing about a great betrayal, but within weeks of her husband's death she's having an affair with a family friend. In bed, post-coitus, this family friend tells her that her husband was unfaithful. She becomes livid with rage but then it turns out that she basically knew that he was being unfaithful, having gone so far as to ask, "Are you having I had to give up after 100 pages because time is precious. I found this book to be utterly annoying, with false notes on every page. Supposedly she is writing about a great betrayal, but within weeks of her husband's death she's having an affair with a family friend. In bed, post-coitus, this family friend tells her that her husband was unfaithful. She becomes livid with rage but then it turns out that she basically knew that he was being unfaithful, having gone so far as to ask, "Are you having an affair with her?" about at least two women. She claims to care only for her daughter, but she is always trying to figure out which friend's house she can send the daughter to for the evening so that she can have her affair (again, this is within weeks of her husband's death). I admit that this woman is living a life that's foreign to me--she has former lovers in foreign countries and finds "post-pregnancy pounds" to be the most awful of fates. In a word, shallow. Add to that it's poorly written--the characters just have names, no discernible characteristics. The people in her life seems to exist solely for the narrator's use. For the life of me I cannot understand the glowing review in The New York Times, etc.

  6. 4 out of 5

    MB

    I started out really liking this book. She was a character I could identify with, for the first quarter or so of the book. I thought she was brave and honest, trying to find out the truth about her husband. But then I kept reading. She kept referring to herself as a feminist, and she was anything but. She couldn't do anything without a man telling her it was all right...her brother, her lover, a man she met over the phone through a dating site. I thought she was a shitty mother, bringing home pr I started out really liking this book. She was a character I could identify with, for the first quarter or so of the book. I thought she was brave and honest, trying to find out the truth about her husband. But then I kept reading. She kept referring to herself as a feminist, and she was anything but. She couldn't do anything without a man telling her it was all right...her brother, her lover, a man she met over the phone through a dating site. I thought she was a shitty mother, bringing home practical strangers to meet her young daughter. I say this as a child of a single mother. Also, she took sluttiness to new heights. I don't think she had time to find out some of their last names before she hopped into the sack with them. By the time she was researching the evolutionary causes of infidelity, I was yelling at the book, "He was a dick. He was just an asshole. Now forget about him and move on with your life." God, this woman tortured herself, striking up "friendships" as she called them, with the women who had slept with her husband. I never understood why she needed to go to such great lengths to torture herself. He was a dick. Move on.

  7. 4 out of 5

    s

    let me preface this review by saying--julie metz is a good writer with creative metaphors and descriptions. in fact--i would say my favorite part about the book was the way she described how things looked or felt or smelled or tasted. and, i appreciated her honesty and candor about a troubling subject--the death of her husband and her complete ignorance of his constant infidelities, the details of which she unearthed after his sudden demise. however...i had several problems with the book. 1. it ap let me preface this review by saying--julie metz is a good writer with creative metaphors and descriptions. in fact--i would say my favorite part about the book was the way she described how things looked or felt or smelled or tasted. and, i appreciated her honesty and candor about a troubling subject--the death of her husband and her complete ignorance of his constant infidelities, the details of which she unearthed after his sudden demise. however...i had several problems with the book. 1. it appears that she dedicated the book in some senses to her daughter (her chimwimwe) so that it might "answer questions" for her when she came of age. this flabbergasted me...considering the GRAPHIC DETAIL she includes about her sexual escapades (after her husband's death) and her own husbands sexual escapades. the description (in her own dead husband's words) of his sex acts with her daughter's childhood friend's mother--is not something i would ever want MY KID to read--if i ever put pen to paper. even if my kid was 52. but, maybe that's simply a personality difference. 2. which would probably be the reason why i found that the writing was often...self-indulgent--another issue i had with the book. but, then again--the book was a therapuetic exercise--a way for metz to exorcise her husband's demons not unlike how she exorcised him from her apartment. and, so, i can't ask for a literature when it's fairly plain from the book jacket--that it's really more therapy than literature. 3. i feel that she missed the opportunity at the end of the book to really come to any kind of terms with the title, the theme and potentially the problem in her marriage--the struggle for perfection. could she not see that her bourgeois existence--her friends, significant others and neighbors--were all from the "perfection" cult? those educated to the hilt type who only eat organic, nip and tuck when they hit 40 but spend their summers hiking the adirondacks and slapping sunscreen on their faces. those--peace corps meets ivy league meets picasso meets yoga in chelsea meets plaza hotel type. perhaps that's why her husband was so damn bored and struggled so hard to find "perfection". he had too much intellect, social connections, money and time. remove the social connections, money and, time--and he might have been happy with the gorgeous home, free-lance workload, wife and kid. 4. but, what really bothered me about the book is that she never stopped to admit--HEY I DON'T KNOW WHY HE CHEATED ON ME CONSTANTLY AND WAS TOTALLY UNSATISFIED AND HELL HE DIDN'T KNOW EITHER. and, writing a book about it, interviewing every damn woman he slept with AND his therapist isn't going to give you any answers lady! you can't figure someone out just because you're smart. least of all a dead guy. you can only make blind guesses. so why are you driving yourself CRAZY? that might have been a more interesting book--why i drove myself crazy to figure out my sex-obsessed crazy dead husband and why i slept with a dozen weirdos while i was trying to figure it out. if she could have answered that question instead of psychoanalyzing the dead guy--i actually think she would have answered point 3 (above) and made for some pretty savvy reading. at the end of the book--i did enjoy the soap opera of it all. (hey i'm a chick.) and i did enjoy some of the writing. and i did enjoy looking at myself and thinking--never be as neurotic as julie metz (and apologize to all friends for being neurotic after last breakup). and, thank god every day that you never married the men in your life (especially last breakup) who made you doubt yourself the way she did. so for that--i pity her. and, have learned something from her neurosis--which is what all good therapy should give you. thank you julie metz.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The husband in this memoir dies suddenly. The wife finds out after his death that he has been unfaithful to her. No wait, make that serially unfaithful to her. She tries to convey his charm and charisma as well as his creepy and weird characteristics, but he comes off as just creepy and weird. I don't think she believed the charming part either. Then as you're reading along, you realize that the wife is kind of weird and creepy too. By the time she wrote that she thought her husband's ghost was The husband in this memoir dies suddenly. The wife finds out after his death that he has been unfaithful to her. No wait, make that serially unfaithful to her. She tries to convey his charm and charisma as well as his creepy and weird characteristics, but he comes off as just creepy and weird. I don't think she believed the charming part either. Then as you're reading along, you realize that the wife is kind of weird and creepy too. By the time she wrote that she thought her husband's ghost was behind a bicycle accident that her new boyfriend had, I was about done with this book. There wasn't anyone is this book that was likeable, except the poor young daughter who had to live in the suburban soap opera that these selfish adults created. Skip it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    M

    What an ironic title for a most god awful book. Julie. Sweetie. Who is the jerk who misled you into thinking that you should write a memoir? Or anything? Here are the basic rules of Who Should Write a Memoir, subject, of course, to my own reasoning, but since I am the reader here, I am ok with that: 1. You should be interesting. Meaning, the fact that your STORY is interesting is not enough. It's a start, of course, but since this book is all about you, having, say, a sense of humor, or, I don't k What an ironic title for a most god awful book. Julie. Sweetie. Who is the jerk who misled you into thinking that you should write a memoir? Or anything? Here are the basic rules of Who Should Write a Memoir, subject, of course, to my own reasoning, but since I am the reader here, I am ok with that: 1. You should be interesting. Meaning, the fact that your STORY is interesting is not enough. It's a start, of course, but since this book is all about you, having, say, a sense of humor, or, I don't know, ANY personality would help make whatever you have to say something I actually want to hear. 2. You should run your ideas by someone. I would really like to meet your therapist. I would like to know how he sleeps at night pocketing your money. Did you mention to him that very shortly after your husband died you kept feeling his presence hovering over you, decided that meant he was looking to resume his living with you but lacked a body, so you asked a friend of yours,someone over a two decades younger than you to have an ongoing affair with you so poor Henry could finally have a body to work through? I would also like to ask said therapist if he is able to keep his lunch down. 3. Ever hear of show don't tell? Or did you just think the opposite was the way to go? 4. I would recommend NOT spending over sixty pages on NOTHING while the reader taps her fingernails impatiently hoping that somewhere soon we will get to the betrayal part of your story (which would be much more interesting than the details you waste pages on, none of which connects to anything coming before or after) - though in truth when we find out Henry was having an affair with Cathy (which was super obvious by the way, where were you??) the book already blows enough that none of that even matters anymore 5. Your title was just asking for it I am so glad i didn't spend money on this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    Serious issues with memoir. There were red flags all through her meeting, courtship, and marriage with her husband. She admits when she first met him, she was turned off by the fact that he was in a relationship and hit on her while his current girlfriend was only 10 feet away. The part of the book that most annoyed me was when she blamed her husbands infidelities on evolutionary psychology. Face the truth, he was simply an asshole.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Abby Lyn

    Whoa - this book gives a whole new meaning to the term TMI. From spilling the beans about her own sex life as a widow, to printing email correspondence between her deceased husband and his mistresses, to divulging conversations she had after his death with his psychotherapist about his deeply personal therapy sessions - by the end of this memoir, I actually felt more badly for the deceased philandering husband of this emotional and at times seriously vindictive woman than I did for her. Actually Whoa - this book gives a whole new meaning to the term TMI. From spilling the beans about her own sex life as a widow, to printing email correspondence between her deceased husband and his mistresses, to divulging conversations she had after his death with his psychotherapist about his deeply personal therapy sessions - by the end of this memoir, I actually felt more badly for the deceased philandering husband of this emotional and at times seriously vindictive woman than I did for her. Actually, the one I was most concerned about was the daughter...how is she going to feel reading about every detail of his father's personal life, as immoral as it was? Does the author find no aspect of her life, and her husband's, that shoudn't be shared with the world? My sympathy for the author was also limited after finding out towards the latter portion of the book that not only was she herself once the other woman to an adulterous affair (she tells herself that she is less at fault compared with her husband's mistresses because she was "only" in her mid-twenties - as if every woman in her twenties would find adultery acceptable), but also she met her husband when he flirted with her at a party - with his girlfriend in the same room. Talk about missing some warning signs! No one deserves the hell this woman went through in the months after her husband's death, but I remain convinced that this book was less about sharing her experiences of coping with devastating knowledge of her husband's affairs after his loss, than it was about seeking revenge to those who wronged her.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Four stars means "I really liked it", which is kind of like saying I really liked being glued to the Internet for news when terrorists launched that weekend long attack on Mumbai. It's not so much that I liked it as that I was fascinated by it, held hostage by it, trying but unable to avert my gaze. Perfection starts off almost immediately with the sudden death of the author's 44 year old husband, and if you begin the book knowing, as I did, the premise of her story you sit back and wait for the Four stars means "I really liked it", which is kind of like saying I really liked being glued to the Internet for news when terrorists launched that weekend long attack on Mumbai. It's not so much that I liked it as that I was fascinated by it, held hostage by it, trying but unable to avert my gaze. Perfection starts off almost immediately with the sudden death of the author's 44 year old husband, and if you begin the book knowing, as I did, the premise of her story you sit back and wait for the bombs to begin dropping. Perfection reads like a movie that begins with the climactic final scene and then works backwards in time uncovering sequentially the actions that led up to that conclusion. Julie Metz's writing is virtually seamless, so I don't know if she intentionally portrayed herself as an unsympathetic character among a whole community of unsympathetic characters. Maybe her point in the title of the book is that nobody is perfect: her husband was incapable of fidelity; she always worried about having another 15 pounds to lose (she looks really thin in her website photos); she ignored dozens of textbook signs that her spouse was cheating; he was a self centered egotistical selfish snobby asswhole; she was shallow enough to buy into the whole pretentious upper middle class suburban world they chose for themselves. So, no human is perfect, no superficially observed relationship is what it seems to be, and Julie Metz can write. 'nuf said.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Seulky

    Disingenuous. Why? The author portrays herself as an innocent victim, living in a bubble about her marriage when she is blindsided by betrayal. However, *spoiler alert*, much later in the book, she slips in 2 sentences that reveal she knew that her then boyfriend (soon-to-be husband) had cheated on her. He even told her it would not happen again. The author lies to herself, she lies to her readers, and the things she says about her husband (like "unreliable narrator") makes me think she was real Disingenuous. Why? The author portrays herself as an innocent victim, living in a bubble about her marriage when she is blindsided by betrayal. However, *spoiler alert*, much later in the book, she slips in 2 sentences that reveal she knew that her then boyfriend (soon-to-be husband) had cheated on her. He even told her it would not happen again. The author lies to herself, she lies to her readers, and the things she says about her husband (like "unreliable narrator") makes me think she was really talking about herself - borderline/narcissist. And I do judge her for revealing to her 11-year-old daughter Henry's affairs. What 11-year-old is ready to discuss such adult topics?? The book starts off with an interesting premise: how do you face life when your husband suddenly drops dead, only to discover that he wan't the man she thought he was (in that category of questions like: can we ever truly know another person?). But she writes over and over again that, in fact, she knew exactly the type of person he was. Unfortunately, she takes a potentially moving and difficult topic to the shores of shallow and trite.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    In an age of TMI (too much information), this book exceeds the boundaries in my opinion. In my eyes, it is crude, crass and way over the top at times. It is like reading the diary of an unobservant housewife. Seriously, I have read blogs that are better written and more coherent than this. And, given that the author says her child is her first priority, what is this child going to think reading about her parents' apparent total disconnect and farce of a marriage? This "book" should not have been In an age of TMI (too much information), this book exceeds the boundaries in my opinion. In my eyes, it is crude, crass and way over the top at times. It is like reading the diary of an unobservant housewife. Seriously, I have read blogs that are better written and more coherent than this. And, given that the author says her child is her first priority, what is this child going to think reading about her parents' apparent total disconnect and farce of a marriage? This "book" should not have been published and should have remained a private work by which the author could work out her demons. I'm glad she finally found herself, but at what price? If she thought her husband humiliated her, this book humiliated her far more. It seems more like the book was meant to punish those upon whom she sought her revenge. And the serial sleeping around with various men after her husband's death, while shipping her "top priority" child out of the house time and time again - once again, TMI and a lack of empathy for the daughter. I can only suggest the daughter, as she matures, put on her reading list "Will I ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers".

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nette

    It started out promisingly, but the more I read the more annoyed I got. The story: her husband drops dead and she discovers he was a serial cheater. My problems: 1) She has a daughter who's going to find out about this book not when mom thinks the time is right, but as soon as one of her precocious little friends starts passing it around fifth grade. 2) She feels no guilt about sharing all her husband's email, letters, and secrets even though he's (duh) unable to respond. And 3) after he dies sh It started out promisingly, but the more I read the more annoyed I got. The story: her husband drops dead and she discovers he was a serial cheater. My problems: 1) She has a daughter who's going to find out about this book not when mom thinks the time is right, but as soon as one of her precocious little friends starts passing it around fifth grade. 2) She feels no guilt about sharing all her husband's email, letters, and secrets even though he's (duh) unable to respond. And 3) after he dies she jumps back into the dating game (at age 44) and immediately finds herself fighting off throngs of all the hot, smart, sensitive men who fall madly in love with her. Her husband may have been a cheater cheater pumpkin eater, but I think she's a liar liar pants on fire.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I thought this book would be interesting and inspiring. Alas! It was neither. Never buy a book you haven't leafed through (sorry Amazon). The author seemed an insipid and self-absorbed protaganist, always searching for a man to answer her prayers. (Aren't we past that whole Cinderella-syndrome thing?) I lost interest in her turmoils, but forced myself to finish the memoir. Call me crazy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David

    surprisingly boring for a book about finding out a few months after his sudden death in middle age that your husband had many affairs incl. a long-term one with a woman in the neighborhood who was the mom of the author's daughter's pal. Author goes on a fact-finding mission, interviewing all the "other women" she can find as well as her husband's therapist, author of a book he'd been reading about evolutionary psychology perspective on human mating, etc. She ends up forgiving almost everyone and surprisingly boring for a book about finding out a few months after his sudden death in middle age that your husband had many affairs incl. a long-term one with a woman in the neighborhood who was the mom of the author's daughter's pal. Author goes on a fact-finding mission, interviewing all the "other women" she can find as well as her husband's therapist, author of a book he'd been reading about evolutionary psychology perspective on human mating, etc. She ends up forgiving almost everyone and becoming friends with some of the mistresses, though she retains to the end of the book considerable bitterness toward the neighbor/erstwhile-friend. Gives an overly detailed tour of her dating life in widowhood, which ends up well but was mostly a cycle of picking unsuitable guys, sleeping with them right away, and then feeling bad about it. I guess what was a little dull about it boiled down to: (a) never really get any clarity on what was so stunning to her about the infidelity. He cheated on her before their marriage; she had previously had an affair with a married man; her husband was such a flirt and so bad about covering his tracks that friends were asking her while he was still alive specifically whether he was having an affair with the neighbor -- yet she still writes it up as though it was a shock, that he had a double life, etc. (b) her analysis of why it happened (he was an entitled narcissist who was easily bored and liked to chase the next new thing, incl. good looking young women) seemed plausible but hardly unique. Came into focus within about 90 pages, and the remaining 250 or so were superfluous.

  18. 5 out of 5

    LindyLouMac

    I have absolutely no idea why this book has so many good reviews, mind you it does seem to have lots of bad ones as well. Maybe if I had read them first I would not have bothered with this tedious, dull read. I knew it was going to be a memoir about a young woman trying to put her life back together when her husband unexpectedly dies of a heart attack. I also knew that she was going to discover that he had been unfaithful to her, fair enough and very sad, but she carries out a campaign to contact I have absolutely no idea why this book has so many good reviews, mind you it does seem to have lots of bad ones as well. Maybe if I had read them first I would not have bothered with this tedious, dull read. I knew it was going to be a memoir about a young woman trying to put her life back together when her husband unexpectedly dies of a heart attack. I also knew that she was going to discover that he had been unfaithful to her, fair enough and very sad, but she carries out a campaign to contact all the women he has been unfaithful with. I just found it difficult to understand why anyone would want to cause themselves such pain, let alone share it with the rest of the world by publishing this memoir! Perfection is the story of Julie Metz’s personal journey through the chaos of her husbands death and infidelities. She recounts coming to terms with the painful truths, building a life for herself and her young daughter after widowhood and betrayal. Happiness seems to have been found by her if not ‘Perfection’ Maybe she found it cathartic to write this but I certainly did not enjoy reading about the sham of her marriage as she bravely exposes herself to the full glare of the public. You might have done, do let me know. More about this author and the book can be found at http://lindyloumacbookreviews.blogspo...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lee Razer

    Memoir; author's husband dies, she discovers he's had affairs with several women, she seeks to "understand why" by discussing with most of these women their relationship with her husband. I almost gave up reading this in the first part of the book because these people come across so incredibly unsympathetically. They both appear to be unkind, self-centered, conceited, privileged, and superficial. She is very high strung, always breaking out into tears and screaming rages about something or other Memoir; author's husband dies, she discovers he's had affairs with several women, she seeks to "understand why" by discussing with most of these women their relationship with her husband. I almost gave up reading this in the first part of the book because these people come across so incredibly unsympathetically. They both appear to be unkind, self-centered, conceited, privileged, and superficial. She is very high strung, always breaking out into tears and screaming rages about something or other. I could not identify with either of them at all, and was not finding much of value in spending my time reading about them. Then finally the book hit the part where the husband's affairs were revealed to her, and the resulting drama did keep me reading, though I did not feel glad about that choice when I finished the book. Towards the end of the book, Metz shares with the reader such unprofound conclusions as "Men and women can't live with each other easily, but we must live together, otherwise we'll all die out." Gad.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    (I wrote this review for a blog at the university library where I work and decided to replace my quickie GR review with this one. It's longer but much more descriptive.) Author reveals her true self in puzzling and bizarre memoir Perfection: a Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz is the story of a woman whose husband, Henry, dies suddenly of a pulmonary embolism. A few months after his death, she is told by a friend that her husband was having a long-term affair with her friend Cathy. Afte (I wrote this review for a blog at the university library where I work and decided to replace my quickie GR review with this one. It's longer but much more descriptive.) Author reveals her true self in puzzling and bizarre memoir Perfection: a Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz is the story of a woman whose husband, Henry, dies suddenly of a pulmonary embolism. A few months after his death, she is told by a friend that her husband was having a long-term affair with her friend Cathy. After learning this, she demands the whole truth from the friends who discovered the details of Henry’s many affairs while cleaning his office after his death. Metz begins a journey to confront each woman and hopes to discover why Henry felt the need to cheat on her. During this process, Metz begins dating and finds love again. Sounds not bad, right? A touching memoir of betrayal and renewal, just as the subtitle says. In reality, this is the weirdest memoir I have ever read. I have never been so disgusted, irritated, and angry at a book and its author. Julie Metz has either got to be the stupidest writer ever or this book is a huge joke. I think it’s the former. During the course of this book, Metz reveals herself to be a contemptible person. She is extremely unlikeable, not very intelligent (despite having gone to Smith, which she mentions often), vapid, crude, vindictive, bitter, and an absolutely horrible writer. Metz is self-absorbed, yet lacking in self-awareness and is oblivious as to how she portrays herself in her own book. There is absolutely nothing to like or enjoy about this book. Metz learns nothing about herself during the writing process, there is no grand self-discovery to share. She is the same shallow and uninteresting person she was at the beginning of the novel—and you as the reader dislike her with an extreme intensity because you’ve wasted hours of your life reading all 342 pages of her shitty memoir. Why is it shitty? Let me count the ways. First, the tone of the novel is odd. There is absolutely no emotion in the book. It may as well have been written by a robot. Metz will write “I felt angry” or “I felt sad” but you never feel the emotions being expressed. There is a scene on page 226 that shows Metz being cruel and vindictive, not only to Cathy, the woman with whom Henry had the long-term affair, but Cathy’s daughter and Metz’s own daughter, who are friends. Even though Metz is very angry and even writes that she spoke with “barely controlled fury,” the scene feels false to me—Metz writes the words, but she never feels them. Or at least, I never feel them. All I feel is an increasing indignation at how this horrible woman is dragging two young girls into her nasty feud against her husband’s former lover. Aside from the total lack of emotion in the book, Metz has odd word choices. It’s as if she pulled certain words from dialogue on a tv show or flipped through a thesaurus. A good example of this is “perps” on page 212. It’s so obvious she used this word to create the impression that she was tough and street-smart that it makes me laugh: “One of the young perps who surrounded us on a quiet street corner hit me on the head with a piece of wood.” Perps, really? What cop show were you watching right before you wrote this sentence? I don’t even know if cops use this word anymore, but they are probably the only ones who can say it with a straight face. She also has a misplaced fondness for the word “rollicking.” I’m not sure what she thinks it means, but she uses the word inappropriately at least twice. On page 205: “…the hallway had become quite rollicking in the half hour since we had found each other.” Again on page 240: “She went to a different school, rollicking and progressive compared with mine.” My Webster Handy College Dictionary defines “rollick” as to frolic, be gay. So how is a school frolicking? Or a hallway? Metz also doesn’t know how to use profanity. I’m a fan of profanity, but if you don’t how to use it, then don't. She would throw in curse words at the oddest places. Here’s one example that left me scratching my head and thinking, huh? Metz is shopping again (she did this a lot, often after bemoaning the state of her finances, and she always went to expensive boutiques in Manhattan and SoHo) and admiring her much-thinner body and thinking that mourning the death of her husband is a great diet (well, she doesn’t write that, but that’s the implication) and describing all the cool clothes she bought. Let’s also keep in mind that this woman is in her mid-40s and the mother of a seven-year-old girl. “I bought some belly-skimming T-shirts and hip-slung jeans, once again in fashion. The clothes fit, right off the goddamned hanger” (234). Was “goddamned” really necessary? What was the point of adding it? Why curse at the hanger? Also off-putting are some incredibly gross and crude sentences in the book. They stand out because they don’t fit the high-society, sophisticated image of herself she is trying to project. I think either a) she doesn’t usually use this type of language, but is following her editor’s instructions to be more colorful in her descriptions or b) she often expresses herself crudely, but her editor told her to clean up the language. I can’t decide which is true because this book is so full of poor word choices. On page 11, Metz is describing her wedding reception and cutting the cake: “As he seized me by the waist, and whispered in my ear how much he loved me, I creamed the lacy panties I had bought for the occasion.” Not only is that gross, it’s immature. Is she fourteen and on a hot date with her football player boyfriend in his new Mustang? I can’t imagine being an editor and letting this sentence go unscathed. This next example has the distinction of being not only crude and disgusting, but immensely stupid as well. Metz is writing about breakfast with her daughter and the topics they discuss. She declares her ignorance regarding gravity, rainbows, snowflakes and why the sky is blue. I think a Smith-educated woman should have at least a basic understanding of the science behind these phenomena, but she doesn’t. This is what she calls the “eternal question”: “We ponder daily the eternal question of why our cats’ poop is so smelly and why one in particular has a knack for dumping a big one just as we are ready to begin eating” (299). As a cat owner, I understand her frustration, but do you really have to ponder it daily? Why give the reader yet one more example of what an idiot you are? (I have post-it notes stuck throughout this book expressing the same irritation: “You are such a MORON.”) The second biggest problem I have with this memoir is the memoirist herself. One of the many reasons to read a memoir is to follow the author’s path to self-discovery. That doesn’t happen in this memoir. Metz does not learn any life lessons and she is not a changed person. She is the same annoying self-centered oblivious woman throughout the book. It’s my impression that the memoir is yet another exercise in petty revenge. Even though she mentions that names have been changed and the timeline tweaked, anyone who lived in her small (nameless) town in upstate New York would know who Cathy is, the woman who is the target of most of Metz’s venom. What always fascinates me about women who have cheating husbands is that many of them reserve their vitriol for the women their husbands cheated with. Why? Your husband cheated, not the woman. You are married to your husband, not the women he slept with. Judge Judy once remarked to an angry wife that the “other woman” didn’t take any vows to be faithful to you, but your husband did, so why aren’t you mad at him? Granted, Cathy was a close acquaintance and their families spent a good bit of time together, so of course Metz would feel more anger towards her than the (many) other women her husband had affairs with over the years. So I can accept that. But Metz and her husband were very unhappily married, so it’s not as if Cathy swooped in and destroyed their perfect marriage. They fought a lot and could barely stand to be in the same room together. In what almost seems like a suburban cliché, both Metz and her husband, Henry, took prescription medicine (Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, among others: “Our house was a regular drugstore,” 101) and also had therapists. So they weren’t happy together, and probably would have been better apart—but divorce wasn’t an option for Metz. Then he conveniently died, sparing her a nasty divorce and custody battle over their daughter. There are several things that puzzle me about this book. It’s obvious that Henry was cheating on her and it’s also obvious that she knew he was cheating, yet she preferred to stay willfully ignorant of that fact even though a close friend mentioned to Metz that her husband was often at Cathy’s house for long periods of time when her husband and child weren’t home. Also there’s a creepy scene on page 174 in which Metz notices a box on her husband’s desk. She peeks inside and sees a “colorful” assortment of sex toys. Metz says that she has refused to use such toys because she finds them distasteful. So what does she do when she sees them? Her husband encourages her to “take a look” and she pulls out a strap-on dildo: Suddenly, I felt silly and playful in a way I had not experienced for years. I tried on the dildo belt over my jeans. In an instant, I was transformed into a tough S&M chick or perhaps a pocket-size version of fearless Samantha from Sex and the City—she’d try anything at least once. [Which is not true. I specifically remember an episode in which she discussed at least one thing she would never do.] Now I just felt stupid and uncomfortable in the belt. I took it off, happy to place it back in the box. Dress-up game over, I returned to my work. This is seriously weird to me. Why didn’t she ask her husband why he had a box of sex toys? And (perhaps more importantly) who was he going to use them with? Metz does this a lot—she presents the reader with a very bizarre scene and then leaves it with no discussion at all. I can understand her perhaps feeling too intimidated by her husband to ask him about the toys then, but now that she is writing this, why doesn’t she write “I wanted to ask my husband why he had a strap-on dildo, but I was afraid to?” My perception of Metz is that she herself isn’t quite right in the head. So why did Henry cheat? Why do any husbands cheat? Perhaps Metz should have just watched the 1987 movie classic Moonstruck. Olympia Dukakis’s character has a cheating husband and throughout the movie she asks various men the question: why do men cheat? She eventually decided they cheated because they had a fear of death. Henry may or may not have been afraid of death, but he did have a specific reason (perhaps it was a symptom?) for cheating. Metz begins her quest to discover why Henry cheated by first visiting his therapist. On the way to the therapist’s office, Metz has the hots for her taxi driver and seriously considers dragging him into a hotel to have her way with him. This is not an unusual thought for her; she often has lustful and sordid thoughts about various men. Once you meet the therapist, you have to wonder where she got her license and why she is still practicing. Metz, not exactly the sharpest pencil in the box, has the same concern because the therapist is wearing overalls instead of more traditional, business-like attire. The therapist, whoever she is, doesn’t seem to be a good representation of her profession. First, wearing “I’m going to milk the cows” overalls in Manhattan is just weird no matter what your profession. Second, she told Metz that she diagnosed Henry with narcissistic personality disorder. Third, she diagnosed Cathy as having a borderline personality disorder. And lastly, she assured Metz that her husband did really and truly love her. I did a little research on narcissistic personality disorder and people with this disorder have an inflated sense of their own importance, need constant attention and admiration, have little regard for others’ feelings, and feel that they are superior to others. Now, without even knowing all that, common sense should tell you that a narcissist can’t love another person—he has only love and regard for himself. Also, a narcissist lies constantly to present himself in the best light possible, so as a therapist who knows this, how could she make a diagnosis of another person she’s never met based on information from a patient she knows lies compulsively? And then give that diagnosis to another person! How unprofessional. If I were Cathy, I would find out who this woman is and sue the overalls off of her. So, now Metz knows that her husband had a personality disorder that compelled him to seek out constant attention and admiration. However, she does not follow up this diagnosis with her own research. Metz never again mentions his diagnosis. However, in flashbacks that deal with her interactions with Henry (and his interactions with his lovers), his behavior clearly fits the diagnosis. A case could be made that Metz changed events to fit the diagnosis, but she doesn’t seem to want to support the idea of Henry having a narcissistic personality since she never mentions the diagnosis again. Metz comes across as a needy person with a weak personality and that may be why Henry married her—he knew he could overpower her with his personality and control her. Cathy, his only other long-term lover, was also portrayed (albeit by Metz) as being weak and needy. Not a coincidence, I’m sure. Metz’s search for answers regarding her husband’s cheating ways is misguided and wrong from the beginning. She assumes he had an insatiable sexual appetite. Metz confuses his primary need for attention and admiration with what came secondary, the sex. If Henry just wanted lots and lots of sex, he wouldn’t have kept in touch with these women. He would have had one night stands. But he craved the admiration that these women provided, something he would never get from a quickie. This is probably the most fascinating aspect of the book to me, that Metz did not or could not accept that her husband had a personality disorder, but she could accept that he found her so sexually unappealing that he had to sleep with other women to compensate for her deficiencies. In the end, it comes back to love. If Metz had accepted the diagnosis, she would also (no matter what the therapist said) have to accept that her husband never loved her because he was incapable of love. Even while talking with her husbands’ various lovers, she always took comfort in the fact that these women told her, “Oh, but he loved you so much.” So much that he had to cheat with multiple women? Metz’s search for a reason why Henry cheated veers into a boring and unnecessary chapter on Darwin’s theory of evolution and genes. So now his DNA made him do it? No, I don’t buy that. I am acquainted with the theory that she discusses with her scientist friend because I read a book about it—that men’s genes propel them to be promiscuous so as to scatter as much of their DNA around as possible and women’s genes prompt them to look for the best possible mate so as to pass along good genes. However, she doesn’t mention (or doesn’t know) that women’s genes made them promiscuous too—a woman would sleep with various men so when she did get pregnant, the men wouldn’t know who the father was so they all provided for her and the children, just in the off chance that one of the kids was his. But we can’t excuse Henry’s behavior based on his man genes. This is 21st century America. If Henry felt the need to spread his DNA around, he could have donated to a sperm bank. Metz never comes to a conclusion of why Henry cheated. I don’t know why she even bothered—men cheat, women cheat—that’s how it goes. There doesn’t have to be some earth-shattering reason for the cheating. However, throughout the whole book, Metz tries to excuse Henry’s behavior. There is one last email near the end of the book that I think Metz included to blame the affair with Cathy on Cathy herself. We don’t know what she thinks about it because she presents the email and that’s it. Readers are left to draw their own conclusions as to how Metz felt about this new information regarding her husband and Cathy. Metz receives an email from a woman who met Henry during one of his trips to California. This woman tells Metz that Henry talked about Cathy and the affair he was having with her. He presents himself as the victim in this conversation, saying that Cathy had “made herself available” to him, and that when he told her he wanted to end the relationship, Cathy became violent and threatened to harm him and his family. Which is fascinating because in earlier emails between Cathy and Henry (which are provided in the book in gory detail), they discuss how the affair is getting stale and he demands that Cathy love him more/give him more attention. Also, Metz has Henry’s diary and one entry included in the book was his discussion of how he pursued Cathy. So what does Metz think? How does she reconcile the two versions of the affair? Metz doesn’t say, but I say that Henry probably targeted this woman as someone he could have an affair with. When his first attempt at seduction didn’t work (painting himself as the victim and blatantly lying about the nature of his affair with Cathy), he later bought this woman (who he barely knew) a silver bracelet and thanked her for being a “friend.” Uh huh. He was either setting her up to be his next lover or craved the woman’s sympathetic attention—attention he knew he could get by describing himself as a hapless victim in an evil woman’s schemes. No matter his true intent, I think Metz believed it. This woman’s email answered Metz’s question of why Henry cheated with Cathy: she made him do it. This email also reinforced her preferred view of Cathy as the demon woman who feeds on other women’s husbands. Maybe this is why Metz didn’t provide any commentary regarding this email; perhaps she thought it spoke for itself. Metz is a conundrum. Readers don’t know what she thinks most of the time or what final conclusions she came to regarding Henry’s need to cheat. Although she shares many thoughts about her past lovers and her current ones, she doesn’t delve deeply inside herself or her relationship with Henry. Did she accept Henry’s diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder? Did she come to a conclusion about the impetus for his marital infidelity? Take your best guess. I don’t think Metz knows herself. Metz drops it once she finds another man who is willing to love her and support her and take care of her, and that’s what Metz seems to need the most. This book is a wreck. There are many, many other aspects of this book that I could discuss, but I just don’t have the time. Unless you enjoy screaming “You’re a moron! I hate you!” while trying to control your impulse to hurl the book across the room, skip this memoir. It’s truly one of the worst books published. Ever.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kasia

    This is an incredibly intense book, I read it in two sittings and cringed though half of it, while counting my blessings that I have been spared the fate that so many women seem to suffer though these days. Julie Metz poured her heart and soul into this memoir, I was incredibly impressed with her strength to open up and expose her pain and her healing, most of us want to curl up and disappear when something horrible happens, and not necessarily tell everyone. When her husband of sixteen years su This is an incredibly intense book, I read it in two sittings and cringed though half of it, while counting my blessings that I have been spared the fate that so many women seem to suffer though these days. Julie Metz poured her heart and soul into this memoir, I was incredibly impressed with her strength to open up and expose her pain and her healing, most of us want to curl up and disappear when something horrible happens, and not necessarily tell everyone. When her husband of sixteen years suddenly drops dead, she is grief stricken and submerged in a cold mental bath. She's not in denial of what happened but rather in intense pain, one that will be overshadowed by anger when she finds out the secrets that lurked in the seemingly hidden corners of his mind. The loving husband and father, gourmet foodie and passionate author had taste for something more than his wife and truffles; women. Seven months after his death, personal diaries, emails and certain individuals are brought to Julies' attention. The man she shared her bed and womb with has been unfaithful both physically and mentally. Perhaps pushed by anger she no longer feels the loss but a burning desire to unearth all the dirt he's been covering up all these years. She feels that in order to clean her slate she needs to find as much information as possible about his mistresses and more important, reasons for what he did. Julies starts a new journey in her life with her six year old daughter Liza, one that will unearth many rocks with bugs underneath. In one paragraphs she describes her pain being so apparent that even her first grader felt the need to cheer her up. Always with her little girl in mind, she takes it upon herself to be brave and dig out of the hole that Henry has dropped her in. It seems that as much as he said he loved her, it wasn't enough, addicted perhaps and weak he was only stopped by his own body giving up, I don't see how someone like him would have changed for any woman on this planet. I think the biggest shock was realizing the years of lies that have passed with so little suspicion. Every time she would contact a woman to hear of Henry's infidelity she would think of the things she was doing in the time he was cheating on her. And we're not talking once of twice, many many times with different people whom he tried to find a connection with. No marriage is perfect and regardless of what mistakes she did I can't imagine justifying any of that with the other person being unfaithful. He should have spoken to her about any issues, instead he felt satisfied carrying on behind her back, not trying to be specific about getting more love or attention. If this was my husband, I would have fed him to werewolves and thanked them for getting rid of such slime. He was no longer around for her to take her anger out on him, so the only way to survive was to plunge into the road to discovery that would unearth some pretty horrid stuff. By page 135 I sat on my couch with my mouth hanging open, shocked. The book was draining and heavy at times but also hauntingly beautiful even if melancholy. Metz has real talent, I wish she would consider writing more, fiction this time, but I'm sure she has a lot of experiences under her belt to add heft to anything she can dream up. She has to get over the past and most important of all, forgive in order to be able to move and have a healthy relationship with a new man. I was incredibly impressed how she was able to build positive relationships with some of the women that Henry canoodled with, being more than grown up about the whole thing, perhaps it helped her heal, well all but one, Cathy, her ex-friend and ex-neighbor, the one snake in the grass who should be repaying some heavy duty karma in the near future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I used this book to test out the Kindle app on my iPhone. This will not be my preferred way of reading - even in the smallest font, my reading is too fast to make this pleasurable (I have to touch the screen too frequently). The upside was that I was able to squeeze in a bit of reading almost everywhere I went (even at stoplights - don't tell!). This is the debut book of a graphic artist who specializes in designing book covers (note the beauty of this cover!). At the age of 44, her spouse of 12 I used this book to test out the Kindle app on my iPhone. This will not be my preferred way of reading - even in the smallest font, my reading is too fast to make this pleasurable (I have to touch the screen too frequently). The upside was that I was able to squeeze in a bit of reading almost everywhere I went (even at stoplights - don't tell!). This is the debut book of a graphic artist who specializes in designing book covers (note the beauty of this cover!). At the age of 44, her spouse of 12 years dropped dead in the kitchen, right in front of her, leaving her the single mother of their 6 year-old girl. After six months of intense grieving (and an affair with a younger man that begins mere weeks after her husband's death), she discovers that for the entirety of their marriage, her husband was having affairs, including with the mother of their daughter's best friend. She finds volumes of correspondence on his computer and confronts every woman she can find. This book is about her discoveries - about him, about their marriage, and about herself. I was interested to read the book because I have both a personal and a professional interest in what leads people to make terrible choices, as well as what we can learn from our own suffering and mistakes. The author tries to find her own path of healing and redemption, and seems to succeed. The book was a mixed-bag for me. On the one hand, it was completely absorbing - as tales of other people's agony often are. I gobbled it up like candy. On the other hand, I felt like a voyeur most of the time, and was never entirely sure why I was enjoying reading a book about someone else's most intimate pain. If this were a novel, it would be a fluffy bit of chick lit, but the fact that it actually happened gives it a sort of macabre appeal. This is the author's first work, and her prose is a bit clunky in places. More bothersome, though, is the author's self-absorption. By nature, a memoir is self-focused, but at times her self-indulgence was nearly unbearable for me as a reader. I found myself even worrying about her daughter and her other loved ones because of her focus on her own needs to the seeming exclusion of all others. She also feels the need to lay out every detail of nearly every sexual relationship she's ever had - including those that happened long before she met her husband. Again: self-indulgent. In the end, that's what this book was for me: a little bit of self-indulgence.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Malbadeen

    Reading this book reminds me that I can be a judgmental, self-righteous, jealous, twat sometimes. I wanted to hear this woman's story and empathize with her and gain new perspectives with her and all that other noble stuff but I didn't. Instead I read it and kept getting that "my parents went to Vacation Land and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" feeling. Her life seems pretty un-real to me with all the trips to Italy and France and the visits with ex-lovers. A romantic interlude with a man more Reading this book reminds me that I can be a judgmental, self-righteous, jealous, twat sometimes. I wanted to hear this woman's story and empathize with her and gain new perspectives with her and all that other noble stuff but I didn't. Instead I read it and kept getting that "my parents went to Vacation Land and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" feeling. Her life seems pretty un-real to me with all the trips to Italy and France and the visits with ex-lovers. A romantic interlude with a man more than 10 years younger that served to boost her esteem after her husbands death and ended amicably, dinner parties and annual visits to a cabin in Maine where she paints and reminisces about her life. Even her foray into online dating ended well. I mean sure, life took a major dump on her when she found out, after her husband died, that he'd been having multiple affairs over the course of her married life. And that totally sucks but when I found out my ex-husband had cheated on me numerous times, I didn't get the satisfaction of moving his ashes to the back of my closet. I just got the on-going insult of having to interact. And while I've not done the online dating thing I sure as heck wouldn't call the few ill-fated relationships I've attempted since the divorce part of my "journey to healing". And I know it's wrong to compare stories. I realize she didn't set out to write a tit for tat invitation to all people that have been slighted in relationships but I stated up-front that my personal flaws are many and as such I had a hard time seeing through the log in my own eye enough to thoroughly appreciate this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adele Stratton

    This was a bit of a head-scratcher for me. It’s the memoir of a woman who, after her husband suddenly died, learned that he’d been having multiple affairs, including one with a family friend. She sets about trying to understand him, by contacting each woman, personally and/or by e-mail, and by doing research about men who lead this kind of life. This seemed a kind of overthinking—couldn’t it be that he was just a garden-variety jerk and she naïve? Aspects of her story made me want to scream: “ho This was a bit of a head-scratcher for me. It’s the memoir of a woman who, after her husband suddenly died, learned that he’d been having multiple affairs, including one with a family friend. She sets about trying to understand him, by contacting each woman, personally and/or by e-mail, and by doing research about men who lead this kind of life. This seemed a kind of overthinking—couldn’t it be that he was just a garden-variety jerk and she naïve? Aspects of her story made me want to scream: “how could you be the same kind of stupid, over and over, how could you be so selfish!”, especially despite warnings from people she trusted. The wallowing and sleeping around she did in her (very understandable) pain caused her to neglect her young daughter who surely deserved a present, adult mother to help her emerge from the trauma of losing her dad. She disclosed WAY more information about her pre- and post-marital sex life than seemed necessary. Despite all this, I came away with a little respect and appreciation for what she went through and how surely this writing of her struggle was a part of how she’s been able to come to terms with it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I sympathize with the author because no one should have to find out that their spouse was having affairs while he was alive but I did not like how she handled herself either. I kept feeling sorry for her child because it seemed like the author kept warehousing her while she could date and torture herself by contacting her late husbands mistresses. If she was my mother I would NOT want to read this memoir. TMI between a mother and a child.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    All I can say is that I am glad I checked this book out of the library and did not waste my money on it. The author quickly becomes tiresome and after a while her selfishness wore on me. Iti s no wonder her husband cheated on her -- she sounds like an extremely self-centered, spoiled, vindictive woman.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ellin

    It was interesting to read a memoir right after I finished Natalie Goldberg's book on memoir writing but .... I have to say I wasn't crazy about this book even though I read it very quickly. Just got tired of the author's vindictiveness.

  28. 5 out of 5

    ALPHAreader

    The first chapter of ‘Perfection’ is a poignant retelling of Metz’s journey as a first-time widow. Metz is quite funny, very witty and bold in her mourning – she explores facets of grieving that are universal but rarely discussed; Henry had been dead for a month. I was horny. I was horrified. When she discovers Henry’s infidelity it is a shocking blow, despite the fact that as readers we’ve been gearing up for the explosion from the get-go. A combustive mixture of grief, denial, sadness and white- The first chapter of ‘Perfection’ is a poignant retelling of Metz’s journey as a first-time widow. Metz is quite funny, very witty and bold in her mourning – she explores facets of grieving that are universal but rarely discussed; Henry had been dead for a month. I was horny. I was horrified. When she discovers Henry’s infidelity it is a shocking blow, despite the fact that as readers we’ve been gearing up for the explosion from the get-go. A combustive mixture of grief, denial, sadness and white-hot anger are succinctly described by Metz; I couldn’t kill Henry anymore, since he was, conveniently enough, dead. It’s an uncomfortable subject matter, but like a carwreck you can’t stop reading. Much like Julie Metz herself, when she discovered her husband's numerous affairs, she was able to feed her despairing curiosity by reading Henry’s journals and e-mail correspondence. Henry vividly recounted his trysts in his diary and through e-mails with one of his lovers, and Metz likens reading these excerpts to following tabloid gossip, her very own “small-town celebrity horror show”. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. I relish the fact that Metz holds nothing back against Henry’s mistresses – especially her ‘friend’ who had a two-year affair with Henry (the same ‘friend’ whose daughter was best friend’s with Metz’s child – it’s revealed that play dates between the children were a convenient rendezvous’). In interviews with Metz she has confirmed that her husband's mistresses are all aware of the book, but she doesn’t know if they have read it. As a reader you completely sympathise with Metz and vicariously loathe the ‘other women’ (especially the poisonous ‘friend’), you can only hope that they have read and been duly shamed by her powerful memoir. But perhaps Metz’s sweetest revenge is against her dead husband – Henry always aspired to be a famous novelist, but lacked the drive and organisational skills to follow-through with his literary attempts. With ‘Perfection’ Metz has written a New York Times bestseller that is going to feature on Oprah’s book club. Ha! There is a draw-back to ‘Perfection’, and that lies in the novels second half. Pace falters as Metz starts looking for scientific reasons behind Henry’s cheating and embarks on the perilous world of online dating. In the second half of the book, Metz has a sexual awakening that is fascinating and often funny to read (you can’t help but be a cheerleader for Julie, and relish her newfound liberation). But it feels like there’s a gaping hole in plot – for one thing, how did Metz come to write this memoir? What compelled her to put pen to paper and expose the worst two years of her life? ‘Perfection’ is a jarring read, guaranteed to boil your blood as you sympathise with Metz and are scandalised by her predicament. It is definitely an uncomfortable story to get through – whether you’ve been a cheater, cheated on or were the ‘other woman’, or even if Metz’s story is your worst nightmare – everyone can take something from ‘Perfection’… even if it’s only to learn how to forgive, but never forget. ‘Perfection’ is so compelling because Metz lays everything on the line. There’s a big irony here, in that Metz constantly refers to herself as the shy, quiet type – an exact opposite of her late husband who was loud, exuberant and flamboyant. Yet in writing ‘Perfection’ she is opening herself up to scrutiny and pity – an incredibly courageous move… and the novel is all the more powerful for Metz’s brutal honesty.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    Description: Julie Metz's life changes forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapses on the kitchen floor and dies in her arms. Suddenly, this mother of a six-year-old is the young widow in a bucolic small town. And this is only the beginning. Seven months after Henry's death, just when Julie thinks she is emerging from the worst of it, comes the rest of it: She discovers that what had appeared to be the reality of her marriage was but a half-truth. Henry had hidden Description: Julie Metz's life changes forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapses on the kitchen floor and dies in her arms. Suddenly, this mother of a six-year-old is the young widow in a bucolic small town. And this is only the beginning. Seven months after Henry's death, just when Julie thinks she is emerging from the worst of it, comes the rest of it: She discovers that what had appeared to be the reality of her marriage was but a half-truth. Henry had hidden another life from her. "He loved you so much." That's what everyone keeps telling her. It's true that he loved Julie and their six-year-old daughter ebulliently and devotedly, but as she starts to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life without Henry in it, she learns that Henry had been unfaithful throughout their twelve years of marriage. The most damaging affair was ongoing--a tumultuous relationship that ended only with Henry's death. For Julie, the only thing to do was to get at the real truth--to strip away the veneer of "perfection" that was her life and confront each of the women beneath the veneer. Perfection is the story of Julie Metz's journey through chaos and transformation as she creates a different life for herself and her young daughter. It is the story of coming to terms with painful truths, of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood. It is a story of rebirth and happiness--if not perfection. The description implies that this is the memoir of a woman who believes that she had a "perfect" marriage and then discovers her husband's perfidity after his death. That's not really it. While the affairs come as an awful shock, this is more the story of a woman who has been in denial about how unhappy her marriage was and how she comes to terms with her own unhappiness, her husband's best and worst traits, and her own life in the aftermath of his death. Parts of the story was heartbreaking and parts of it made me angry for Julie Metz and her young daughter. Her honesty is really refreshing. It was an excellent read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    The book begins when Metz's husband of over a decade, Henry, collapses in their kitchen and dies. Metz reflects on her less than perfect marriage, which becomes even more complicated when seven months after Henry's death she finds out about his numerous affairs. Metz includes segments from emails with sexually intimate details of her husband's affairs and also discusses her own sexuality, which might be too much information for some readers. Metz was in her mid-forties when Henry passed away and The book begins when Metz's husband of over a decade, Henry, collapses in their kitchen and dies. Metz reflects on her less than perfect marriage, which becomes even more complicated when seven months after Henry's death she finds out about his numerous affairs. Metz includes segments from emails with sexually intimate details of her husband's affairs and also discusses her own sexuality, which might be too much information for some readers. Metz was in her mid-forties when Henry passed away and I thought her relationships with men following his death showed quite a bit of immaturity and naïveté, even taking into account that she was grieving. She didn't discuss her finances, but I was a bit confused at how she was able to afford a trip to Europe with her daughter, an extended summer vacation, and an addition to her home, barring a large life insurance payout. Sexually explicit details obviously weren't off limits, and neither was detailing Henry’s private psychological sessions, but sharing fiscal information apparently was. The last quarter of the book really lost steam for me. She was able to rebuild her life and find forgiveness, so on the surface, I guess the book delivered on its promise, but I found it to be pretty mediocre.

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