Last week I attended a fab book club night. We all read Imperfections by Bradley Somer and were lucky enough for him to attend our discussion. At first, I’ll admit I was a little intimidated by having him there. I was worried the discussion wouldn’t be as honest as if he weren’t there. That was an unfounded concern and while I think most of us loved this book, the criticisms from those who didn’t flew fast and furious.
Bradley told us that most of the critiques on his novel were either in the ‘Love it’ or ‘Hate it’ camps and there weren’t many in the middle. I can see why this might be, and it was very apparent at our get together who sat where- I was firmly planted in the ‘Love it’ category.
Imperfections reminded me a lot of American Psycho in how satire pushes this story past the absurd and the extreme. Simple language, often jarringly so, was by design and served a purpose – often letting us see into the characters more than you might think. Much like American Psycho was a commentary on the commercialism in the 1980′s, Imperfections is a commentary on the beauty industry of the early 2000′s – all of which is happening still and will continue on for years to come.
I don’t know that this novel can fully be appreciated in the time we live in now, we’re all so close to what it depicts day to day – we’re all living in this glorified beauty and plastic surgery era of time right now. If I had to criticize, I’d say that this book was a bit too short. That the ending felt a little tacked on and more could have been done to bring the reader to a seamless and accepting place with the character’s journey. But maybe we aren’t meant to accept Richard Trench’s journey. Maybe we’re supposed to be left thinking ‘What the?‘ at the end…after all, this book is meant to shock us into realizing what’s going on around us. The ending certainly leaves us thinking for a long, long time after we’ve put the book down.
I’m proud this was a Canadian work, and I’m thrilled to have spent some time with Bradley Somer. Listening to his thought process was fascinating and brought me a lot of appreciation for this novel. Go pick it up.