You guys. This book. The Perfect Child, by Lucinda Berry messed me up. Let’s just get right into it.
6-year-old Janie (who looks more like she’s a toddler because of malnourishment) is found wandering alone & abandoned in a parking lot and covered in blood. She’s taken to the hospital for treatment and when it’s time for her to be discharged, she’s released into the foster care system. She’s adpoted by her attending surgeon, Christopher, and his wife Hannah and their idyllic life changes in a heartbeat. Janie isn’t the perfect child they’d always wanted and the nightmare begins.
Let me just say right off the bat that this book is beyond disturbing. It will NOT be a book for everyone. If you’re not a fan of the evil child trope, you won’t enjoy this one. And if you’re triggered by instances of child abuse and endangerment, just keep on walking. That said, if you enjoyed Baby Teeth, I do think you’ll like this one as well.
WHEW. Where do I even start? First, let me pick my jaw up off the floor. I guess I like an evil child trope because I really did enjoy this book. Yes..it was HELLA disturbing. Hard to read even. But I guess morbid curiosity kept me turning the pages because I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. I love that the author is a former trauma psychologist who uses her clinical experience to write her stories, so I felt like story could possibly play out in real life and that thought absolutely terrifies me (which is what I love about psychological thrillers as a whole).
The story is told from three different POV’s – Christopher, Hannah, and their social worker, Piper. Christopher was beyond infurating, but the multiple pov’s helped to move the story forward in a fast paced, engaging way. I felt like it was a little bit predictable, but it didn’t take away from the storytelling. The only reason this one wasn’t a 5 star rating was because of the way it ended. For me personally, the ending makes or breaks the entire story…it’s hard for me to see past a bad ending (I’m looking at you, Gone Girl).
Overall, I enjoyed the story as a whole more than Baby Teeth, but the ending sent me into a fit of rage and left me dissatisfied. It wasn’t awful, but it left me wondering if maybe there was an extra chapter ripped out of my copy…seriously, where’s the rest of the story?!?!
That said, if you like a disturbing story about an evil child, or if you’re looking for an alternate form of birth control, I’d recommend this one.
3.8 out of 5 stars
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