Review: Perfection by Julie Metz

Julie Metz had a seemingly perfect life — an adoring husband, a happy, spirited daughter, a lovely old house in a quaint suburban town — but it was all a lie.

Julie Metz’s life changed forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapsed on the kitchen floor and died in her arms. Suddenly, this mother of a six-year-old became the young widow in her bucolic small town. But that was only the beginning. Seven months after Henry’s death, just when Julie thought she was emerging from the worst of it, came the rest of it: Henry had hidden another life from her.

Perfection is the story of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood. It is a story of rebirth and happiness — if not perfection.

Julie Metz offers a stunning and dazzling peek into her past in Perfection with her astonishingly lyrical prose. It is tragic enough that she is widowed at such a young age, after only sixteen years with her beloved husband, Henry. But what she disastrously discovers a mere several months after the devastating loss, is that he was having an affair for more than a year — with none other than her acquaintance and mother of her daughter’s best friend, Cathy. Imagine what kind of betrayal you’d feel at that sort of discovery. A man you’ve loved, a man who’s loved you deceiving you like that — and finding out AFTER he’s dead. The anger Metz portrays is not malicious, and not even vengeful. It is only full of desperation and the distress every heartbroken woman is apt to feel. However, it certainly does not end there. By sifting through Henry’s old email records, Julie yet again discovers, Cathy was not the only one. There were more women before and after Cathy. Yes, women. Women Julie has only once met at social events, women Julie was unaware of in existence, women Henry lightly joked about when he was alive. Women who haven’t corresponded with Henry through email that Julie still doesn’t know about.

I was astounded by Julie’s courage. After a bit of research, she contacts all the women in Henry’s email account, and surprisingly, develops platonic, even friendly, relationships with them. Henry is a common ground for Julie and those women, and after his passing, it was the only place Julie can find true comfort in. It takes an unbelievable strength to get the guts to do that. To face one’s fears directly. And for it, I commend Julie greatly.

Perfection is a remarkably personal novel that makes me want to by the end, get to know Julie better. I can’t even refer to her as “Metz”, I just want to call her Julie! Her story will rather than fill you with pity, bring a sense of understanding and admiration toward her, for her strength, endurance, and unwillingness to give up. She could be your best friend. She could be your sister. She could be your mom or that nice lady who smiles at you every time you see her at the park. She could even be you.

I am deeply impressed by Metz’s incredible writing style. Her words have the ability to both depress and delight the reader, making Perfection an unforgettable read in which every single page is worthwhile.


(A side note from Jen… Julie was a guest at the blog in 2010. Her interview can be read here.)