Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill (July 2012)

ImageI both enjoyed this book, and am unsure about it.  It’s chick lit with some serious themes.  It’s The Bachelorette for a feminist, gay-positive, anti-racism audience.  It delves equally into earnest, trying-too-hard humor and cliche, and insightful, truly good writing.  The book’s light side centers around the biracial protagonist’s sister who goes on a reality show called “The Virgin” to find her match.  The more serious side deals with attitudes about race (her mom is a self-loathing Jamaican and her father an aloof Brit), homosexuality (one of the characters struggles with sexual identity, and the fallout of coming out), divorce and single motherhood, and the struggle to balance feminist convictions with an open-minded acceptance of real people.  It could be that Fales-Hill has found a way to address serious societal issues in a basically light and fun read.  Or it could be that the book can’t make up it’s mind what it wants to be.  I guess you’ll just have to decide for yourselves.


About Cheryl McNeil
I am the User Services Librarian at the Orangeburg Library in Orangeburg, NY

4 Responses to Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill (July 2012)

  1. A.M.B. says:

    I can’t agree it’s for a feminist audience. I felt that the underlying themes were sexist and the one character’s “coming out” was terribly unrealistic. I also thought the writing was pretentious (too much historical name-dropping, for example). I appreciate that others found merits in the work, but it was not worth my money or my time.

    • Cheryl McNeil says:

      Hmmm, well, I can see why you don’t think it’s for a feminist audience. Certainly there’s a good deal of sexism in the book’s themes. But I do think the author attempts to deal with them head on, and the main character does so from an explicitly feminist perspective. Now whether the main character, and the author, do so successfully is another story. As for the coming out, I wish we could discuss this without giving it all away for those who haven’t read it yet. If you respond, maybe put SPOILER ALERT at the top of your response. I’m curious why you thought it was unrealistic. I’m not arguing with you — I’m just curious.

      Was the book pretentious? Yes. Was it worth buying? Probably not. I often put a “staff picks” card on books I’ve read, to put them on display here at the library. But I didn’t with this one. I bought it in large part because I thought a biracial protagonist in the context of more “mainstream” romance/popular fiction, as opposed to “urban fiction”, would be a good addition to the collection. But I think we’ll have to look to other authors to expand our collection in that respect.

      • A.M.B. says:

        If you’re interested, rather than put spoilers on your blog, you can see the review I wrote on my blog (if you go to the featured list of books page, you can find the post, listed by author’s last name). Normally, I don’t put many spoilers in my reviews, but I felt it was necessary with this book. I’m happy to discuss it further.

  2. Cheryl McNeil says:

    Thank you, A.M.B. — Your review of this book is well done, at:

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: