This week, for some untold reason, I decided to Google myself as we all (probably) do occasionally. It had been a long while, and in doing so I stumbled upon a blog that I started several years ago and forgot all about. One of the entries, however, has to do with a romance novel that I’ve been in love with for most of my adult life, and that I actually just re-read again this week. Re-posting that entry here (keeping in mind its multiple years old) seemed like a good idea, as the content is still relevant and my feelings remain the same.
I love to read. And because I have an addictive personality, I tend to do what I call “binge reading.” I am not the kind of person that can read a few chapters before bed… when I start reading, I have to cannonball the entire thing in 1-2 days (maybe more for Diana Gabaldon… simply because her books are freaking epics).
I think this is a particularly interesting personality trait when I read Perfect by Judith McNaught. I have read this book conservatively 20 times. It is the only stand alone romance that has every really stuck with me, and about once or twice a year I get the giant urge to re-read… and I always fall back in love with the story. But despite the number of times I’ve read it, when I decided to reread it again this week, I had to stay up until 2am to finish it. I get so wrapped up in the story that I can’t put it down!
I don’t know what it is about this story that captivates me so much. The people in the book are basically the complete opposite of me and my life in many ways… the main character grows up in a small Texan town (after living in foster care for 11 years) and now strives to be Perfect. She’s a school teacher (in same small Texan town), her adoptive father is a minister, and she follows all social protocols of the small southern town even if it goes against everything she wants out of life. The male lead character grows up a super rich kid, his parents die in a car accident, and his grandmother casts him out. He then grows up to be a rich and famous movie star. But even though it talks about how jaded and cynical he is with the sewer that is Hollywood, he’s still a sweet guy with a conscience who (while he has some dick-ish episodes) is ultimately gentle and caring.
So.. is that what the draw is for me? Watching these people who are so unlike me (and seem to live in a different world than I do) find each other and find love? Could be. I also think it’s because their story is a modern-day fairytale. In this day and age it’s not princes that little girls dream about, it’s celebrities. When I was a little girl, my “prince” was Jonathan Knight from the New Kids on the Block. My dream about how we would get together certainly didn’t involve kidnapping, but I would sit around and dream up wild and crazy ways that we would meet and fall in love. And then we would live and love together, and jet all over the world and do whatever we wanted because he was rich and famous. So yeah, maybe I love the story because it’s a pretty good representation of what I think of as a fairy tale.
Either way, I absolutely adore their love story. I usually like more paranormal romance, and maybe in some ways their love story is “fantasy” in this day and age. Two wholesome people who meet under difficult circumstances, but everything ultimately works out Perfectly. In real life, I definitely have all the love that Zach and Julie have, but sometimes the details aren’t so perfect. Real life is stressful, jobs are stressful, money is stressful. If my husband and I both had perfect jobs that made millions of dollars and brought us loads of personal satisfaction, and family wasn’t crazy, and my husband didn’t have kids that he doesn’t get to see enough, and… well, the list goes on, then perhaps then my life would look exactly like Zach and Julie’s. But in reality I know that finding my husband and having the relationship that we have is WAY more Perfect than most humans. And for that – and for having works of fiction which help me remember it – I am thankful.