It’s in the voice
March 6, 2009 1 Comment
As my reward, for completing my screenplay for class, I picked up the top book off my to-be-read pile. There’s nothing better that a new book by a favorite author. Jane Porter is a friend, who’s voice I love and I’ve read all her books, except the Harlequin Presents. I’m sure those are great books too, but I prefer the books where Jane is free from agenda and genre.
Mrs. Perfect is a great read. I was sucked into an alien world of fascinating neuroses, secrets, issues with food, money and control. Imagine finding a skirt in your closet, that still has the $1,800 price tag, and know you’ll never wear it. (that’s more than my mortgage) The main character Taylor, is one many mom’s- of school age children- have met; even if you don’t live in an exclusive and exceptionally wealthy school district. I wonder how many -of those perfect women- are so endearingly wounded like Taylor.
What makes this book engaging and really pulls at your heart is the author’s voice. The Taylor character, tells her story as it’s happening, in first person. She reveals the delicate wounds and sorry choices that have brought her to this point in time, and what happens next. The more Taylor loses, the deeper the wounds revealed, and the greater balance Taylor develops. As a reader, I was horrified and desperate to give Taylor a bear hug.
Perfectionism urges are easily overlooked when the focus is to excel, whether from within or without. We saw this developing, in our third daughter, Kate, the summer before second grade. Our delicate 7-yr-old would get upset, at anything that didn’t turn out like she wanted. This was not in temper form, but a gritting teeth silence. Then she’d determine to fix, whatever, make it turn out like she wanted. Failure, or giving up, wasn’t an option.
My husband Ed, and I agreed we’d talk to Kate’s new teacher, Mrs. Flury, to work with us on the, it’s OK to make mistakes agenda. Try new things, just to see what happens. Unfortunately, Ed had to work late the night we were to meet. I could tell Mrs. Flury was respectful, especially since this was my 3rd daughter, and I was presenting all the correct information and, of course, Mrs. Flury would pay attention. The meeting was done and I was content with her cooperation for Kate.
Then Ed came in the door, apologizing for being late. Mrs. Flury was a pretty, delicate, lady, soft spoken. Ed is 6 foot, black hair, muscular, dynamic and a leader. He rushed in, introduced himself and quickly repeated everything I had just said, about cooperating to help Kate, not feel she had to be perfect. I couldn’t help but notice, Mrs. Flury was mesmerized. She even stood up, took a deep breath. Her response to Ed was not, “Yes, I’ll keep that in mind. Certainly, I understand.” To Ed, her comments were, “Absolutely! I understand completely. I’ll make this a priority! You can count on me to do my best for her!”
Kate still remembers Mrs. Flury, with devotion, as the best teacher she ever had. Kate excels at most things she tries, has attracted a lot of drama into her life, and has moved past, into being a free spirit, with confidence in her own abilities, at the age of 22.
And as I closed the book, Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter, I had to wonder, how close our daughter may have come, to becoming a “Mrs. Perfect”, if her daddy hadn’t made those two minutes of his time, a priority.