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Perfect Little World: A Novel

Perfect Little World: A Novel

Escrito por Kevin Wilson

Narrado por Thérèse Plummer


Perfect Little World: A Novel

Escrito por Kevin Wilson

Narrado por Thérèse Plummer

valoraciones:
4/5 (46 valoraciones)
Longitud:
12 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 24, 2017
ISBN:
9780062658616
Formato:
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Descripción

When Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she's just about out of options. She recently graduated from high school and is pregnant with her art teacher's baby. Her mother is dead and her father is a drunk. The art teacher is too much of a head-case to help raise the child. Izzy knows she can be a good mother but without any money or prospects, she's left searching.

So when Dr. Grind offers her a space in The Infinite Family Project, she accepts. Housed in a spacious compound in Tennessee, she joins nine other couples, all with children the same age as her newborn son, to raise their children as one extended family. Grind's theory is that the more parental love a child receives, the better off they are.

This attempt at a utopian ideal-funded by an eccentric billionaire-starts off promising: Izzy enjoys the kids, reading to them and teaching them to cook. She even forms a bond with her son more meaningful than she ever expected. But soon the gentle equilibrium among the families is upset and it all starts to disintegrate: unspoken resentments between the couples begin to fester; the project's funding becomes tenuous; and Izzy's feelings for Dr. Grind, who is looking to expunge his own painful childhood, make her question her participation in this strange experiment in the first place.

Written with the same compassionate voice, disarming sense of humor, and quirky charm that made The Family Fang such a success, PERFECT LITTLE WORLD is a poignant look at how the best families are the ones we make for ourselves.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 24, 2017
ISBN:
9780062658616
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Sobre el autor

KEVIN WILSON is Vice President of Videologies, Inc., a company that specializes in training administrative professionals in Fortune 500 companies. JENNIFER WAUSON is President of Videologies, Inc.

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4.1
46 valoraciones / 12 Reseñas
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Reseñas de lectores

  • (5/5)
    Izzy gets pregnant by her high school art teacher, and isn’t sure what her small town can offer her after graduation. When a unique opportunity presents itself, Izzy has to take part. Even if it means promising ten years to a sociological experiment in which her child wouldn’t necessarily be hers, but raised equally by 18 other people. The story is just as multi-faceted as it sounds, and Wilson’s character development is amazing. I would love to get inside of Wilson’s mind. His stories are so vibrant and creative; beautifully written prose that borders on genre - usually sci-fi - but staying mainstream. I recommend this book to everyone, regardless of reading tastes or general interest.
  • (3/5)
    I’ve had a copy of this book on my shelf for ages. I finally decided to pick it up and sadly, wasn’t super impressed. I thought this was a really interesting concept and for the first half of the novel I was really invested but at about the halfway point I feel like the story lost steam. Once you get past hearing about the program and how it works and get into the monotony of everyday life on the compound I got a little bored. Overall it was okay.
  • (3/5)
    I loved Izzy. The way she ended up at the compound and what she did while there was interesting to read. I couldn't keep the other couples straight, so those parts I just skimmed through. I was hoping for a less predictable ending.
  • (4/5)
    I was intrigued by the blurb for Perfect Little World, probably because I lived for a long time in Asheville NC, where community child rearing is a real thing.

    I enjoyed this story a lot. The characters struggles with adapting to communal living felt relatable, while their love for all the children in the project was inspiring.

    Funny life coincidence: I received this book as a gift when I still lived in TX. It’s one of the first books I chose off my shelf to read after moving back to Knoxville TN. Come to find out the book takes place in and around Knoxville and Nashville. Life can be funny like that sometimes.

    I really liked this. The end was predictable, but made me happy.
  • (3/5)
    This was a really interesting and pleasant read. The author created a really unique environment for this story to take place. I liked Izzy's character and I liked the ways in which the adults were made to interact with each other and with the children. The concept behind this experiment was shown in both positive and negative terms, which is something I'm really glad the author did. Most times, there is a tendency to favor one side but that wasn't really the case here. However, the overall novel felt a bit lackluster for me. There wasn't really anything happening. The premise of this novel made it seem as if there was going to be some kind of big conflict and we would witness something intense. But we didn't. While the author spent the majority of the time focusing on Izzy and how she interacted with those around her, I felt no kinship to her. Or to anyone else. It's weird because I liked their characters but I didn't ever feel like I knew them. They were just so flat that it was hard to feel any emotional connection to what they were going through. The ending was a happy-ish one but it just added to this overall blahness. My ultimate thoughts about this novel? An interesting concept and a pleasant read but there is nothing too special or groundbreaking that happens here.
  • (3/5)
    Best for: People interested in an exploration of what family means, told through an unconventional concept.In a nutshell: Researcher is interested in creating broader supports for families, and so enlists nine couples and one single mother to enroll in the Infinite Family project.Line that sticks with me: “David kissed her quickly, which struck Izzy as something he’d seen work out in a movie. She, on the other hand, hated the presumption that she would change her mind if she only made out with him.”Why I chose it: It chose me! Sort of. This was an advance reader’s edition that I picked up during Indie Bookstore day in Seattle earlier this year. It was wrapped, so I didn’t know what I was getting until I opened it.Review: This is, for the most part, an interesting tale. It is told mostly in the third person from Izzy’s point of view, although it is occasionally told from Dr. Grind’s perspective. Izzy is just about to graduate high school when she learns she is pregnant by her art teacher. He claims to want to be with her, but only if there is no more baby; she opts for the baby instead. Her mother died when she was 13; her father provides her with food and shelter but little else. Dr. Grind, meanwhile, is a researcher who was raised by the Constant Friction Method, which his parents created and sounds a bit like torture - their thinking being that if he’s often uncomfortable (maybe his bed will be there tonight, maybe it won’t) and faced with challenges and loss (maybe his dog will be here in the morning, maybe he’ll never see it again), then he’ll develop the ability to handle anything that comes his way. And it seems to have worked, except now he’s more interested in creating families that can be expanded and support each other even if they aren’t related.Hence the Infinite Family Project. Ten families (all but Izzy’s including one man and one woman) who are due to give birth in a certain time frame are selected to live together in a commune. It isn’t a cult; the parents are free and in fact encouraged to get jobs and pursue further education outside the community, but for the first few years of their children's’ lives, the kids all sleep communally, and the parents all help raise their little ones. Each family has its own apartment, but the children don’t move in until they are about five. The project is meant to run for 10 years.This is not nearly as soap opera-y as it could have been. Author Wilson does a good job of exploring how this impact Izzy as both the youngest parent and the only one without a partner. But I always felt distant from her. Perhaps it’s the third person writing, although I’ve connected with characters in similar writing styles. Perhaps it’s because the character of Izzy herself is meant to be a bit removed. I cared about her, but didn’t feel totally invested in her or the other parents. I did feel marginally invested in Dr. Grind.I can’t say that you should run out and buy it, but if the plot sounds interesting to you, I think you’ll probably enjoy how it plays out.
  • (4/5)
    I haven't read Kevin Wilson's book, The Family Fang but I will definitely put it on my list to read. This book is about parenting together as a group. You have 9 couples and 1 young single mother and newborn babies coming to live together in a beautiful experimental compound overseen by Dr. Preston Grind. His own childhood was also an experiment by his parents which complicates this whole mix. With everything money can buy, provided by an elderly widow, who was raised in an orphanage, this eclectic group takes part in raising all the children as their own for 5 years before each child finds out which parents are theirs. What could possibly go wrong here...
  • (4/5)
    Izzy is eighteen and pregnant by a man who, it becomes clear, is not going to stay in the picture, when she is approached to become part of a strange new project in which ten families, all expecting babies at the same time, will live in a complex together and raise their children communally, with the kids not even knowing which ones are their biological parents until they are five.My reaction to this book is interesting, because while I feel like I mostly liked it all right, when I sit down to think about it, all I can focus on are its flaws. Like the fact that while the project described here is certainly a social experiment, it's really not a scientific one, despite being presented that way. And while you could have gotten away with pretending something like this is scientific in the 70s, I really don't think it would fly today. And then there's the secondary main character, Dr. Grind, the founder of the project. He's a fairly interesting personality, but I just don't find his backstory creditable. So I had a little trouble with suspension of disbelief, in general.More significant is the fact that, while Izzy lives with these nine other families for years, I never got a good sense of who most of these people are. Generally they were so underdeveloped that nothing about them really stuck in my head, to the point where I ultimately stopped trying to keep track of who was who. And while, unsurprisingly, there's a lot of drama and conflict in this non-traditional family, the novel skips lightly over most of it, skimming over all the years these people spend together and just occasionally dipping in to give us a glimpse of how things are going and telling us what the problems are, rather than letting us experience it immersively. Which is not really very satisfying.But, like I said, I did like it okay, anyway. I think that's mostly down to two things. The first is the inherent interest value of the idea. And the second is the character of Izzy, who is really well-realized and interesting. The early part of the novel, which is set before she joins the program and focuses very strongly on her and her life, is by far the best, and it earned a lot of goodwill from me, I guess. I do feel like our sense of Izzy as a person gets weaker as the novel goes on, though. So, again, not totally satisfying. I suppose, in the end, I'd characterize this as a decent and fairly interesting, but very far from perfect. Maybe a bit like the experimental family itself.
  • (4/5)
    3.5 In this book, Kevin Wilson tackles another take on the family. Communal parenting, nine couples and one single young girl, Izzy, who has just graduated from high school and finds herself alone and pregnant. Enter Dr. Preston Grind, a man with an unusual upbringing himself, along with a woman raised in an orphanage, now with plenty of money to spend. So am experiment, raising children in an unusual setting, all taking part parenting their own and each others children. Sounds ideal, but families are complicated and messy, even families just put together,Had a hard time rating this one, I enjoyed it, the writing was good, the story flowed well. Izzy is a wonderful character and Dr. Grind a most interesting one. The concept is unusual, and interesting. Families we make, or families we put together, and how do the children fare in this type of situation? Loved most of it, but the ending was semi predictable, and a bit too dramatic, at least I found it so. Definitely worth reading if you are looking for something both likable and different.
  • (3/5)
    A special thank you to Edelweiss and Ecco for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    I want to preface this review with my love of The Family Fang which I found riveting and a complete page-turner. This book however, fell well under that bar. I wasn't hooked immediately, the prologue had me scratching my head and not wanting to continue, but once I started in on Chapter 1, I found the hook. Meet Izzy, a recent high school graduate who is pregnant with her art teacher's baby. Her support system is lacking—a dead mother, drunk father, and unstable father-to-be/boyfriend—so when Izzy is presented with an opportunity to participate in the Infinite Family Project, she jumps at it having no other resources. Izzy will join nine other couples and live on a compound in rural Tennessee where they will all raise their children as one family. The project is headed by Dr. Preston Grind who believes that the more love a child will receive, the better off they will be.

    Sounds great, right? Well...not so much for me, I don't particularly care for utopian-style books, and I'm not sure why. Is it their formulaic nature, or that utopias don't actually exist? Because there will be a giant conflict/problem to overcome? Is it the predictable "survival of the fittest"? I'm not sure, but pushing this aside, the book was filled with some great parts and excellent writing. Without giving too much away, things start to crumble at the compound (gasp!) with relationships disintegrating, funding running out, and Izzy's growing feelings for Dr. Grind. The worst part for me was the ending and how Wilson tied everything up, a little too neatly and by that point, it had just fizzled out.

    Wilson's novel is a look at the family unit, the roles we play to create these units, and love. I would recommend reading this before The Family Fang so you are not too disappointed.
  • (4/5)
    On Monday I wrote about Swimming Lessons, a novel with prose that evinced an emotional response from me, even when the story did not work so well. Today’s review is about a book that is almost the complete opposite. It’s unusual for me to like fiction that didn’t impact me emotionally, but I did with Kevin Wilson’s new novel, Perfect Little World. I was devoid of a reaction beyond intellectual curiosity about the premise—and that was enough. Dr. Preston Grind is a child psychologist and the son of two child psychologists who used him as their only test subject in their largest experiment. They were determined to devise the antidote to what we know as helicopter/special snowflake parenting. Instead, Preston was exposed, from a very young age, to a childhood of instability and difficulty. The love his parents had for him was never in question nor was he abused, but they exposed him to situations that most parents would avoid. The premise was to mimic the adult world of conflict and disappointment, thereby preparing him for it better than children who have been coddled and sheltered from any adversity. Their method would seem to be sound except that now, as an adult, Grind writes about a kind of parenting his parents would have abhorred. The ‘it takes a village’ model.When Grind meets Brenda Acklen, the billionaire widow of the founder of a chain of cheap big box stores, he’s able to bring his plans for a community model of parenting to life. Brenda wants to fund the project because she and her husband were raised in an orphanage and she believes that the love and care of the group environment was the best upbringing possible. A self-contained compound is built on 450 acres near La Vergne, TN with housing for ten families—all about to become first time parents and all with some particular issue that would make raising a child without help difficult. Grinds has nine couples, but instead of the tenth he chooses, Izzy, a high school graduate who’s discovered she’s pregnant with her art teacher’s child.If you’re thinking this sounds like a novel about a free love commune or some weird sci-fi setup, it’s not. The only way in which Wilson takes the easy way out in Perfect Little World is with money. Brenda Acklen’s money—which is unlimited and unconditional, meaning that the world Grind creates is utopian in its efforts to care for its subjects. Everything is new and state-of-the-art, there is a fulltime staff of doctors, teachers, psychologists, nurses…anyone who might be needed to interact with the children and their parents. The twist is that the children will be raised by all of the parents. From the time they are born each one is held, cared for, loved, scolded, taught by every adult. Only when they reach the age of five do they learn who their biological parents are. The experiment will then continue until they are ten.Of course, utopia doesn’t make for interesting reading. Nineteen adults, ten children, psychology and human emotion do and Wilson uses each to great effect. As I mentioned at the beginning, I didn’t finish Perfect Little World feeling a lot, but I was still thinking about the book days later. Everything about it is intriguing, mostly because of Wilson’s thoughtful, humanist approach. There is nothing gimmicky in the plot, just an unusual fictional idea for a non-fictional issue—how best to raise children in the modern world. This is not to say that the novel is a treatise or reads like a textbook. No. Perfect Little World is entertaining and enjoyable fiction; a novel I’d recommend for a book clubs because it will lend itself to a lot of discussion and opinions.
  • (3/5)
    There were times when I thought this book was great, and other times when it was just ok (plus a time or two when I sort of rolled my eyes) so I think that rounds out to a 3 star. It's a Miss Muffet book: when it was good, it was very good, etc, etc. As for me, I kept hearing Hillary Clinton's "It takes a village to raise a child."From the Publisher:About the BookKevin Wilson’s anticipated follow-up to The Family Fang, Perfect Little World is a warm-hearted and emotional story about a young woman charting her own course.“A novel you keep reading for old-fashioned reasons—because it’s a good story and you need to know what happens. But you also keep reading because you want to know what a good family is. Everyone wants to know that.” —John Irving, The New York Times Book ReviewWhen Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she’s fresh out of high school, pregnant with her art teacher's baby, and totally on her own. Izzy knows she can be a good mother but without any money or relatives to help, she’s left searching.Dr. Grind, an awkwardly charming child psychologist, has spent his life studying family, even after tragedy struck his own. Now, with the help of an eccentric billionaire, he has the chance to create a “perfect little world”—to study what would happen when ten children are raised collectively, without knowing who their biological parents are. He calls it The Infinite Family Project and he wants Izzy and her son to join.This attempt at a utopian ideal starts off promising, but soon the gentle equilibrium among the families disintegrates: unspoken resentments between the couples begin to fester; the project's funding becomes tenuous; and Izzy’s growing feelings for Dr. Grind make her question her participation in this strange experiment in the first place.Written with the same compassion and charm that won over legions of readers with The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson shows us with grace and humor that the best families are the ones we make for ourselves.