In a Perfect World

In a Perfect World

by Laura Kasischke


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In a Perfect World is critically acclaimed writer Laura Kasischke’s new novel of marriage, motherhood, and the choices we make when we have no choices left. Kasischke, the author of The Life Before Her Eyes, tells the story of Jiselle, a young flight attendant who’s just settled into a fairy tale life with her new husband and stepchildren. But as a mysterious new illness spreads rapidly throughout the country, she begins to realize that her marriage, her stepchildren, and their perfect world are all in terrible danger . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061766114
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Pages: 309
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Laura Kasischke teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan. A winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, she has published eight collections of poetry and ten novels, three of which have been made into films, including The Life Before Her Eyes.

What People are Saying About This

Jessica Anya Blau

“IN A PERFECT WORLD reveals astonishing and tender insight into human nature while exposing a terrifying, yet believable, world I’d never before imagined. This story will grasp onto your heart before swiftly carrying you away.”

Katrina Kittle

“From its haunting opening image to its riveting end, this is a tale of beauty, resilience, love, sacrifice, and even grace found in the most unlikely of places. In a truly ‘perfect world’ every book I read would inspire me like this one.”

Customer Reviews

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In a Perfect World 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
RBDM More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the start of the book and like the characters. However as the story went on, it began to fall short. With a flu epidemic going on, there should have more to write about. With Jiselle's husband gone in Germany, there should have been more than phone calls that stopped happening. What happened to him? Did he fall to the flu too or do we guess he ran away and married another woman? Does he care nothing of his kids? How do the kids accept his being gone without any mention of missing him? And then it appears that there may be a romance brewing with the friend who helps her out with home projects. Only he just walks away after his son dies, and we are left with nothing. The author could have done so much more with this story as the events and characters were there waiting for her to do so. The ending was terrible. To end with the title, that it is an to a perfect world, I am not sure if the author forgot that the life they were living was in no means perfect, and prior to the last sentence it appears that there may have been hope of a better future. I felt this author just gave up on this book and tried to find a way to finish it. However, it was left unfinished and disappointing. I will not read another book by this author, nor recommend her.
DudleyS More than 1 year ago
In many respects, I enjoyed reading this book. Each day I looked forward to "reading time", so that I could pick up the book and see what happened next. Unfortunately, this author quickly takes you directly to the peak of the book, holds you there the entire book and then just ends the book without really wrapping anything up. The ending would have been fine if the author had slowly built the story adding layer upon layer to get to the peak, created a sense of resignation and then ended the book. As it was, at the end I put the book down and literally thought "Are you kidding me?". Ugg! Another difficulty with this book was the lack of character development. The character's where well defined when they were introduced and you sensed that there was a transformation going on, because based on the circumstances the characters had to transform. However, the author failed to provide dialogue or actions that painted the changing picture for the reader. The storyline itself is very interesting and had great potential. I think with more time and more critical eyes reading this prior to publication, this could have been a fantastic book.
kirstinmary More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your time. This is worst example of "professional" writing I have ever experienced. My first issue is that she noted a celebrity that had died from the flu epidemic, Britnery Spears - I found it rude and insulting to use an acutual living persons name.... She could have called her Bethany Squire, a Pop icon on the level of Britney Spears. Secondly, the author can't even keep track of what she has written. Example, during a power outage she and her step-son are listening to the radio to get an update (obviously this is a battery operated radio, there is NO power). Not 10 pages later the other children set out to find a radio , they don't even know if they own one that used batteries! I can't even finish this book it is so horrible.
lreedbooks More than 1 year ago
This was a silly book. It was an easy read and I hoped that the ending would redeem the book but was dissapointed.
Ravenclaw79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a really good apocalypse book that looks at it from a different angle. A lot of books look at the overall picture of an apocalypse, giving you a sort of omniscient point of view about what has befallen the country, but this one puts you inside the story, telling you only what the main character knows, leaving a lot of questions that make the story that much more believable and realistic and that much more creepy as well. The only criticism I had was that the last couple of pages sorta fell flat. Then again, it's hard to end a story like this well. Overall, I'd say that if you like apocalypse-y stories, definitely give this one a read.
anwulf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Only missed a five-star rating because of the extremely frustrating ending and some other minor things that bugged me. Other than that I loved it. I may even reread it soon.
justablondemoment on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flight attendant Jiselle is tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. When pilot Mark Dorn walks into her life that all changes. The two join together after a whirlwind courtship and decide to marry. The only obstacles they face are the world being under economic failure due to a plague called Phoenix flu and Mark's daughters who let it be known there is no place for a stepmother in there home or hearts. Left alone while her husband travels, Jiselle does her best to win over the daughters and fight for their survival as the plague worsens. Her only happiness at times is Mark's son who, unlike his sister's, accepts her role. The first part of this book was a bit of a struggle for me. It was a bit on the slow boring side. I am glad I stayed with it as it turned out to be very engaging. I found myself reading as fast as I could to find out what was to become of the characters I had grown very found of. But yes, I to was let down by the ending as stated by other reviews. There was no closure. That to me is okay if the ending builds the reader up to believe there will be an encore, but that is not what happened. Sadly, I was left with wanting to know more, but the feeling of, I'm never going to know. If I had been giving a different ending this book would have probably reached a five star.
cmwilson101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a Perfect World is a novel about family, love, acceptance...and coping with the end of the world as we know it. The story centers around Jiselle, who becomes a stepmother to three kids just as a plague begins sweeping across the US. Jiselle is separated from her new husband, and learns to cope with the kids and all that is happening. This was a good book, but I could not help but compare it to (Life As We Knew It), which had a very similar plot, but left me crying and worried about whether the characters would survive. This story is less intense and somehow less personal, despite the introspective nature of the main character.
Jenners26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While some dystopian books take place in an imagined future where things are very different from our own world (like The Hunger Games series), In A Perfect World takes place right in our here and now. There are no fantasy elements to this book at all¿everything seems utterly believable and possible, which made it a more effective and scarier book for me.Our glimpse into a world that encompasses nothing less than a complete breakdown of our society is Jiselle, a flight attendant who has "landed" the handsome and charismatic pilot Mark Dorn. In her 30s and tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride, Jiselle is ready to settle down and imagines a perfect little world with her ready-made family. (Mark has three children whose mother died a few years before.) Jiselle leaves her job and moves into the idyllic little town where Mark has a picture-perfect home. Anxious and excited to be the stepmother, Jiselle is eager to meet her new family. What she finds is three children who are less than thrilled¿with the exception of the young boy (gotta love those boys!)¿with their new stepmother. With Mark away for a good portion of time, Jiselle struggles to make the transition into her new life.In the background of Jiselle's life, there are rumblings of another kind¿a mysterious Phoenix Flu is causing troubles through the country. Even celebrities seems to be getting it and dying. (OK...a little editorial note here: I just loved that Kasischke killed off Britney Spears with the flu! Take that, Ms. I'm A Terrible Singer Yet Have Achieved Huge Success!)As the story progresses, Mark is away more and more often, and Jiselle finds out some disturbing information about her new husband. And as the Phoenix Flu begins to become more and more of a problem, Jiselle's focus begins to shift from getting adjusted to family life to surviving¿a skill she finds herself to be more adept at than she ever imagined.As conditions worsen and society begins to fall apart, Jiselle is thrust into a nightmarish world where isolation, survival, sickness and death become a part of everyday life. Yet the worse things get, the more Jiselle's world actually becomes "a perfect world." With an ending that will leave readers who need things tied up at loose ends, this book surprised me in how it shifted and turned and twisted and changed into something that I can't quite describe. Consider it an uplifting story about the end of society as we know it.Reading this right after The Hunger Games, I think this book came out on top for me. Where The Hunger Games is flashy and showy with its tantalizing premise, this book is more subtle and slow and deep. Written in an almost distant, chilly type of prose, Kasischke has created a dystopian book that truly scared and disturbed me yet also made me feel good about the world at the same time. As I said, this isn't a book that ties things up in a nice little package for you, but I thought it suited the story well. If you're looking for an adult book on the opposite side of the dystopian spectrum, then this book is for you.The Bottom Line: I'm giving the book 4 stars. I was drawn into Jiselle's world in an almost hypnotic way. Each page brought me closer to horror but also to goodness. This is a book that I could envision happening in our lifetime, and I think Kasischke did a wonderful job of keeping it from falling into a run-of-the-mill "Oh No...There's An Epidemic" type thriller. This book has a vibrant beating heart if you take the time to look for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't really care for this book as a whole. It had some ok parts but wasn't really as advertised in that it's supposed to be a 'distopian' type novel. It was mostly back story on the main character's life and the parts that were about the plauge were, for the most part, based on rumor with no real explanation at all. And don't get me started on the ending, if you can even call it that, I was hoping for a lot more closure after all the tedious story telling. All in all I was pretty disappointed and if you're a fan of books like 'The Hunger Games' this book will leave you feeling like you wasted your time.
sassypickle More than 1 year ago
"Depressing tale with no ending" pretty much sums it up. Plot starts out promising but turns bizarre and falls flat. Characters are uninteresting and, for the most part, seem to lack personalities. Ending was somewhat abrupt and left me with more questions than answers, though I suppose one can speculate about how the story might have continued.
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twerpazoid More than 1 year ago
The possibilty of becoming bored loomed throughout the first half of the book and was disappointing after reading Walls, The Glass Castle. I always try to imagine what the book would be like as a movie - I don't feel Perfect World cuts it. However, there are some saving graces as Wall's touching insight into characterizations unfolds. I would read another of her novels with some reservation. Could be a good novel to study in a freshman reading/literature class. The characters are worth studying.
Inlibrislibertas More than 1 year ago
In A Perfect World was well-written and held my interest to the end. I particularly liked the way the author used a subplot, while in the beginning appears to be the main topic of the book, but is actually just the context on which the real focus of the book is built. However, I did not like the ending of the book. The author did not end the story, but seemed more to have just stopped writing. The author left me with too many unanswered questions about the fate the characters. I definitely would like to have learned more. Perhaps that was the author's intent, to leave you wanting more.
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