"Lies never work out the way you think they will." ~ pg. 35
All Emma Jean Peace wants is a daughter. She will do anything to raise a little girl after giving birth to six boys. So when she set eyes on her new beautiful baby with a head full of hair, all she saw was a baby girl. No matter the penis. No matter the lie. No one has to know. Emma Jean named the baby what she was—Perfect Peace.
"You was born a boy. I made you a girl, but that ain't what you was suppose to be." ~ pg. 128
On Perfect's eighth birthday, Emma Jean knew it was time to come clean and tell the truth. From that moment of revelation, Perfect's world was flipped upside down filled with confusion. How was she supposed to be a boy? What would people say? Why is her long hair gone along with the pretty yellow ribbons and dresses? Perfect's brothers and father, Gus, are just as confused and having difficulty adjusting. The Peace family question everything they know about gender, sexuality, honesty and unconditional love.
I love an author that knows how to show, not tell. Daniel Black shows us what kind of character each member of Peace family is through their actions and not through narrative. I was able to draw my own conclusion of each child as he grew up. I could sense the emotional struggle of Gus, Emma Jean and Perfect through their actions and dialogue instead of the author simply telling me. Well done.
"Just don't let what other people think and feel make you think and feel like them. If you different, be different." ~ pg. 300
Perfect Peace is a complicated story. I felt disappointment, empathy, joy and compassion while reading along. Not too many novels can take me on a journey of multiple emotions. Growing up in a largely-populated Midwest city, I don't know how isolated life could be in a small Southern town but thanks to Daniel Black's descriptive narrative, I was able to imagine it. This novel not only nudged at my heart strings and imagination, but brought awareness in fiction form through unforgettable characters.
Author Daniel Black dedicates Perfect Peace to those who were "mocked, scorned and silenced because you were different." I therefore recommend this novel to bookhearts if that describes you. If you weren't labeled different, you should still read Perfect Peace because it is a well-written unforgettable tale with a beautiful cover.
Title: Perfect Peace
Author: Daniel Black
Published: March 2010
Challenge: New Authors; Diversity on the Shelf; Popsugar Based Entirely on Its Cover