Unforgettable Memoir Offers Something for Everyone

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If nothing lasts forever, what kind of foundation must reside within each one of us to weather that storm?

Christina McDowell lost an entire childhood to a lie, one that was perpetuated by the father she worshiped. When her material world came crashing down, she was devastated to learn that so did the idyllic family life she had grown so accustomed to.

McDowell grew up leading a charmed life. Born into the elusive one percent, her life was a fairy tale of riches that afforded her and her sisters the kind of luxuries most could only imagine, if even that.

In After Perfect (June 2015), McDowell recounts when she was just eighteen years old and her father went to prison for fraud. The lies and deceptions that had already started to reveal themselves clamored louder and louder as the thickness of blood and loyalty quelled the rising tide of truth, until even this was no longer possible. Her father’s list of betrayals against her sisters, her mother, and herself is shocking and unfathomable, yet McDowell is careful to show all sides of the man she loved so much even as she struggles to find her footing. She stumbles hard but never falls.

As she fights to keep her family together she comes to a crossroads and in the most poetic way must choose the kind of life she wants to live, on her own terms. It is both the greatest opportunity for growth and one of the most frightening prospects to consider.

Rare is the personal story that takes on such a life of its own that I could not imagine it never being told. This story left me in a better place after reading it and grateful that I did. Through McDowell’s careful and considerate prose, her catharsis offers something for all of us, no matter our walk of life. One of the final scenes in the book takes place in a prison where McDowell shares her story with a number of inmates. Such a powerful scene brought tears to my eyes and reconfirmed the human connection.

I would recommend After Perfect to anyone living in our material world. Its reminder of what is truly important against what is essentially meaningless cannot be overstated.

Reviewed by Maria Ryan

AFTER PERFECT left me in a better place after reading it and grateful that I did. Click To Tweet

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five-stars
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Overall: five-stars

About Libby

Libby started with Author Exposure as the book review editor and has evolved into the AE site editor. She was the creator and interviewer for the What's Next feature and still manages to squeeze in reviews of her own.

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