Saturday, August 30, 2014

#BookReview : A Perfect Life by Danielle Steel

On the jacket:

The epitome of intelligence, high-powered energy, and grace, Blaise McCarthy is an icon in the world of television news, asking the tough questions and taking on the emotionally charged issues of world affairs and politics with courage and insight. A single mother, she manages her well-ordered career meticulously, always prepared on the air or interviewing world-renowned figures and heads of state. To her audience, Blaise seems to have it all. But privately, and off the set, there is another untold story she has kept hidden for years.
Blaise’s teenage daughter, Salima, was blinded by Type 1 diabetes in childhood, and her needs have kept her away in a year-round boarding school with full-time medical care and assistance ever since. When Salima’s school closes after a tragedy, Salima returns to her mother’s New York City apartment, and suddenly they face challenges they’ve never had to deal with before, and that Blaise feels ill-equipped to handle. A new caretaker provided by Salima’s school creates as many problems as he solves. Handsome, accomplished, thirty-two-year-old Simon Ward, with strong opinions on every topic, questions how mother and daughter view themselves and each other. Simon opens new doors for both of them and refuses to accept Salima’s physical limitations. He turns their world upside down, and the three become friends.
Then everything starts to unravel and Blaise can’t keep her two worlds separate anymore. A beautiful young anchorwoman is hired at the network; it is no secret that she is being groomed to take Blaise’s place. Her career as she has known it is threatened, and her previously well-ordered life feels totally out of control. For the first time, Blaise’s life is not perfect, but real.
In this unforgettable tale, the incomparable Danielle Steel has written a novel that pulsates with emotion and honesty as three people face the truth about themselves. A Perfect Life is about what we do when facades fall away and we can no longer run from the truth. As old ideas fail, everything changes, and life is suddenly brand-new.


For someone whose favourite author during her teenage years was Danielle Steel, I am a really disappointed reader in my 30s. Even today I would refer her books - Message from Nam, Daddy, Accident, Kaleidoscope and almost every novel I had read back then, to anyone who wants reading suggestions. But coming back to reading her, in the last two-three years, I have only been disappointed. I suppose I no more fall in the age group Steel writes for, but I wish I knew the reason.

Blaise Mc Carthy is world famous for her TV specials; she interviews world leaders, celebs and everyone who is the top in their profession, she herself being on the top of her own. HEr daughter, Salima, is diabetic, blind and lives the life of an invalid, in a school far away. She is dependent for all her chores and is a spoilt brat. When her caretaker dies, Salima is forced to moved in back home. The new caretaker Simon, is out to do everything Blaise and Salima had wanted to prove was not possible - that Salima can be independent. And he does make them see the point.

Romance develops between Blaise and Simon while thanks to him, the mother-daughter relationship takes shape for the first time, and that too in a positive way.

The thing about Steel's novels is that the pattern is same. Strong woman, who has built it all herself, has everything she ever wanted when suddenly her world will collapse which she will slowly pick up, since she is a winner. The repition of this pattern is probably what has become boring now, for someone who has read dozens of her titles. 

Having said so, as a story, this is a decent weekend read. 'Coz, after all, Steel is a good story teller, no doubt.

Rating: ***.5/5

This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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