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Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal…

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal

by Julie Metz

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
What a whiney rant! I understand being upset with the information that she found out about her husband after his death, but that it took up the entire book was just over the top. ( )
  tmscott13 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Kind of tough to figure out the purpose of this memoir, except to get back at her husband, who had relationships with many women outside his marriage. I don't feel like I learned anything from her experience. I don't feel like she really grew and/or changed. ( )
  froxgirl | Oct 11, 2014 |
Julie Metz is a New York-born writer, graphic designer, and artist. In addition to Perfection she has written essays and commentary for The New York Times and The Huffington Post. She has also designed book covers for the novels: The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, The Gathering, by Anne Enright and Boom! Aftershocks of the Sixties by Tom Brokaw. Metz’s husband, referred to as Henry in the book, died at home from a pulmonary embolism on January 8, 2003. Perfection is the resultant effort from Metz’s time absorbing the shock of Henry’s death and then working through the rage of his discovered betrayals and mostly covers the three years following Henry’s death.

In an interesting precursor to the book, a note to readers is included:

“I have changed the names (except my own), and other details of persons in this book. I have not changed the name of a certain dog, which suited the animal and my story perfectly. Sometimes real life surprises fiction even in the details. I have, on a few occasions, changed the order of events, where those changes benefit narrative flow without altering a factual telling of the story. Otherwise, all dialogue and events took place as I remember and recount them in these pages.”

I can only attribute this to the James Frey fall-out.

Having said that, nothing about Metz’s account comes across as questionable or improbable. Her story, though,is very probably any partnered person’s worst nightmare realized. Imagine the sudden and unexpected death of your spouse, in your kitchen, felled by a fatal pulmonary embolism. Now imagine, six months later, discovering the person you trusted absolutely was not, at all, who you thought. Is it worse to be bereaved or betrayed? Often, as an attempt at comfort, those grieving are reminded that their loved one will live on in their memories but if those memories are compromised, does the deceased still manage an existence in our world and our minds?

Julie Metz, through a revelation from a close friend, comes to know her husband had been not just unfaithful, but a serial philanderer (who was also hiding secret debts) throughout their thirteen year marriage. Using her own journal entries, along with Henry’s electronic diaries and emails, Metz created Perfection. She has been noted as “brave”, “shocking” and “candid” in other reviews of her book but none of Metz’s tale strikes me as shocking nor do her actions smack of bravery. Metz just did did what she needed to emerge on the other side.

While Henry is lying, dead on their kitchen floor, Metz is cognizant of her “last normal moment”. Metz rages at her husband now beyond her physical reach: “Henry, you are so fucking lucky to be dead.”, calling him “…a piece of shit bastard”; her grieving shoved aside to rail against Henry’s betrayal. Metz manages to identify and contact six of Henry’s mistresses, challenging them on how they were able to participate in a relationship with a married father. Through these interactions Metz comes to gain a more complete picture of the man who was her husband. Through executor privilege, Metz arranges a meeting with Henry’s therapist who offers Henry’s diagnosis of ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ with an amazing ability to compartmentalize, not as an excuse but, perhaps as a peg to hang things on in an attempt at coming to understand her husband’s actions.

Metz definitely does a compelling job sharing her loves, her losses and the lies she must deal with, while offering a cautionary tale about the idea of perfection within a marriage. ( )
  Booktrovert | Apr 5, 2013 |
Searingly honest about the mess of infidelity-tainted grief, the bumpy, alienating road to recovery, the seemingly obvious mistakes one makes while treading water. Metz is a strong writer and a very vivid woman, one who was unbelievably brave to reveal as much of herself as she did here. For those reviewers who choose to judge her every decision in the face of such pain and humiliation, you must be genuinely perfect human beings. ( )
  KatieANYC | Apr 2, 2013 |
Imagine if your husband dropped dead in his 40s … leaving you widowed with a young daughter. Just that alone would provide fodder for a memoir. But imagine if that dead husband ended up having a secret life that ended up being revealed to you only after his death—a secret life that changes everything you thought was true about your husband and your marriage. That is what happened to Metz, and she writes about her attempts to come to terms with her husband’s death and deceit in this fascinating and compelling memoir that almost makes you look at your spouse and wonder “Are you hiding something from me?” Although I suspect that some people will disagree with some of the ways Metz dealt with things, I just wish her well and admire her grace and strength in what must have been a hellish and confusing time. ( )
  Jenners26 | Oct 3, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Ms. Metz changes the names of the men in this book, but she brings refreshing candor to a startling, painful tale.
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Documents the author's journey of grief, betrayal, and healing after the sudden early death of her husband to a pulmonary embolism, an event that rendered her a single mother and led to the discovery that her husband had been having an affair throughout their marriage with one of her best friends.… (more)

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Hyperion and Voice

2 editions of this book were published by Hyperion and Voice.

Editions: 1401322557, 1401341357

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