Book Review: Perfect Peace by Daniel Black

Perfect Peace by Daniel BlackBOOK DESCRIPTION

The heartbreaking portrait of a large, rural southern family’s attempt to grapple with their mother’s desperate decision to make her newborn son into the daughter she will never have

When the seventh child of the Peace family, named Perfect, turns eight, her mother Emma Jean tells her bewildered daughter, “You was born a boy. I made you a girl. But that ain’t what you was supposed to be. So, from now on, you gon’ be a boy. It’ll be a little strange at first, but you’ll get used to it, and this’ll be over after while.” From this point forward, his life becomes a bizarre kaleidoscope of events. Meanwhile, the Peace family is forced to question everything they thought they knew about gender, sexuality, unconditional love, and fulfillment. ~ BarnesandNoble.com

About the Author

DANIEL OMOTOSHO BLACK teaches at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University then returned to Clark Atlanta as a professor with hopes of inspiring young black minds to believe in themselves.

Website:  Daniel Black

MY OPINION

This book broke my heart.  From the moment the first sentence began until the last sentence ended, my heart felt as if it were folding in on itself.  Bouncing back and forth between a call~and~response type pattern with flashes forward into the future and tumbles into the past, this is an emotionally charged narrative that will leave you wondering why?

Emma Jean’s desire for a daughter was born of her own need to feel loved, wanted and needed (an overall theme in this book, which is why I think the characters in this book are so relatable).  But it’s not just the emotional, physical and psychological damage that is done to Perfect that begs to be examined, it’s the damage that was been done to Emma Jean in her past that made me pity her.  No member of the Peace family remains unscathed by this tragedy and Black does a wonderful job of exploring the hurt and rage that the revelation of the truth provokes.

This novel made me question everything that I associate with gender and sexuality ~ what does it mean to be a girl or to be a boy?  Can one’s gender be changed by nature or nurture?

What I liked most was that Black didn’t wrap the book up with a pretty little bow at the end, the characters are given some measure of healing but deep down you know that they’ll continue to pay the price for Emma Jean’s deceptions for the rest of their lives.

RATING
★★★★★/★★★★★

Disclosure:  This review refers to the electronic version of this book.  I did not receive any compensation for this review.

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