How Perfect Is That
How Perfect Is That
By Sarah Bird
Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307268280, 320pp.
Publication Date: June 10, 2008
Blythe Young—a wannabe Texas princess, a heroine as plucky, driven, and desperate as Vanity Fair’s Becky Sharp—is plummeting precipitously from up- to downstairs, banging her head on every step of the Austin social ladder as she falls. Not unlike the country as a whole, Blythe has surrendered to a multitude of dubious moral choices and is now facing the disastrous consequences: bankruptcy, public humiliation, a teensy fondness for the pharmaceuticals, and no Pap smear for ten years. But worst of all, she is forced to move back into the fleabag co-op boardinghouse where she lived when she was a student at the University of Texas.
Though Blythe cares much more about the ravaged state of her nails, and how to get the ingredients for Code Warrior—Blythe’s proprietary blend of Stoli, Ativan, and Red Bull that keeps everything in focus—her soul is hanging in the balance. Only when she is in danger of losing the one friend who’s been her true moral center is she ready to face her sins and make amends.
And her penance is merciless: she must find a way to lure her former socialite friends into the tofu tenement she has been reduced to. Little does Blythe know that the ensuing collision between the pierced, tattooed, and dreadlocked inhabitants and the pampered, Kir-sipping socialites offers the only hope of finding a way out of her moral quagmire.
Funny, fast-paced, sharp-eyed, an old-fashioned morality tale with an appropriately twenty-first-century ending, How Perfect Is That is a comic triumph of a novel.
“Anyone who picks up Sarah Bird's How Perfect Is That expecting chick-lit better be wearing a flack jacket. This is hard-edge, scary-funny social comedy and not for sissies. Brits do this well, but not many Americans. But then again, not many Americans have experienced the poisonous social whirl of Texas Republican Ladies at the zenith of the Bush hegemony. Bird's heroine is admittedly no better than she should be. In fact, she probably deserves Trollope's title: ‘Can You Forgive Her?’ And I, for one, can forgive her without hesitation. She has seen the affect-challenged harpies in all their toxic vulgarity. So forget about Scott McClellan: this is ‘What Really Happened’--out there where it hurts to laugh but you laugh anyway. Then pray.” –Dave Hickey
“A perfect, curl-up-with-a-margarita splash of summer fun. Ms. Bird’s wickedly good grasp of social satire couldn’t be finer.” —The Dallas Morning News
“A delightful tale–part social satire, part comedy, part drama . . . Bird paces her story with rollicking hilarity and scathing insight.” —Candace Horgan, Elle’s Readers’ Prize 2008
“Bird details her pilgrim’s progress with an acute eye and ear–and a scorching sense of humor.” —The Austin Chronicle
“Sparks and laughs fly.” —The New York Post, “Required Reading”
“A fast-paced, fun story by a smart, sensitive woman of a certain age. . . a perfect summer read.” —Palm Beach Post
“How Perfect Is That? Pretty damned perfect. Sarah Bird’s scathingly funny look at red state high society delivers a novel that's equal parts Edith Wharton and Nick Hornby. Hilarious.”–Will Clarke, author of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles and The Worthy
“Friends, you've got a treat in store. A laugh-out-loud riches-to-rags tale, a novel of manners that's perfect for the 'coming to our senses' post-Bush age. How Perfect is That is a fried Twinkie of a book–crunchily witty, creamy-hearted and shockingly delicious.” –Janet Fitch, author of Paint It Black and White Oleander
Praise for Sarah Bird's past work
“Do not eat or drink while reading this book. It has so many laughs I almost choked to death.” –Florence King
“Sarah Bird is a fearless madcap. . . falling-off-the-chair hilarious.” –The Los Angeles Times
“Sarah Bird writes fiction with such energy and snap, her novels seem to be in motion. . . Breathtaking.”
–Dallas Morning News
“Bird’s writing brings to life every person and place. . . Laughter comes often and is uncontrolled. The compulsion to read segments out loud . . . is overwhelming.”–The Chicago Tribune
“A very funny book, too–sometimes savagely so. . . It is, in short, a treat.” –San Jose Mercury News