Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Perfunctory Affection by Kim Harrison
Narrator: Traci Odom
Published by Tantor Audio on March 31, 2019
Length: 6 hours, 29 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
Is it better to live a lie of perfection when the truth is too ugly to survive?
Meg wants a normal life. Her new artistic style, born in the depression of her mother’s death, is poised to take the art world by storm, if she could just overcome the debilitating anxiety caused by the car accident that scarred her boyfriend, Austin. Encouraged by her therapist, Meg pushes outside her comfort zone to befriend Haley, a guest instructor at the university where Meg teaches. Haley is everything Meg wants to be: charismatic, confident, and perfect, but when Austin expresses his worry that Haley is changing Meg too fast and leads her to realize that Austin is trying to keep her afraid and needing him, Meg kicks him out of her life. Or at least, she tries.
Kim Harrison, author of the number one bestselling Urban Fantasy Hollows series, brings to life a world terrifyingly near to our own, where what’s real and what shouldn’t exist twine together in the madness of a troubled mind desperate for a way out. But when the truth is revealed, the question remains, is it better to live a lie of perfection, or cleave to an ugly reality that will destroy you?
PERfunctory AfFECTION is a little bit of a mind boggle at times. Meg is an unreliable narrator and that makes figuring out what is going on a little more difficult as she doesn’t seem in her right mind. This story is one of hiding from the past and longing to be something more than you are.
Meg struggles with the day to day of life. She is depressed, struggles with interactions with people, has severe anxiety and has few people in her life, just a therapist and a boyfriend. After being placed on a new drug, Meg is challenged to get out there and make a new friend, try some new things and really push the boundaries of her life including her co-dependent relationship.
Haley is everything Meg has ever wanted to be and she is so patient with Meg. She asks Meg to do new things and go new places. She fawns over Meg’s peculiar art and practically won’t let her out of her sight. As Meg sorts out her life, the reader is also trying to figure out, what is real and is it better to know the truth than live a lie.
I struggled with this story for a few reasons. I didn’t really like Meg; she is a mess obviously, but being in her head wasn’t really enjoyable. It is difficult to be in someone’s sick mind, she is fixated on Haley and how perfect and cool she is. As she struggles to be like Haley, we see her mimic so many of Haley’s likes down to the coffee she drinks and the food she eats even though she finds the overly sweet things disgusting. Meg is desperate throughout most of the story, sometimes a writer can make me incredibly invested in a sick person, but in this case I wasn’t.
I’ve only read a few unreliable narrator stories and so I’m not an expert in them by any means. If you like the narration style and don’t mind a character driven story with an unreliable narrator then this might be for you.
Traci Odom is a solid narrator. I felt like she captured the essence of the characters and had a good delivery of all those involved. She isn’t someone I heard before and thought to look up to see what other books she has narrated though. I listened to this at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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