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Perfect Peace by Daniel Black
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Perfect Peace

by Daniel Black

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Found this book on the $1 shelf a HPB. Had never heard of it but it looked intriguing. It is one of the best book I have read in a long time. I was riveted from page one. This is the story of the Peace family and their struggles in the early part of the twentieth century. There certainly is not any Peace in this family. All of the characters are so well written, they jump off the pages and into the room with you. This novel deals with gender identity, child abuse, relationships, small town gossip and beliefs. The story takes place in a small town in Arkansas and the folks who live their add spark and live to the novel. The title is taken from the Peace's seventh child, Perfect, who is born a boy, but for the first eight years, raised as a girl. The sibling interactions the parental interactions are interesting to watch change when Perfect is turned into Paul. The entire Peace family has their struggles, and each of their stories is a great read, but combining them all together makes this book phenomenal. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Jun 12, 2014 |
There is no peace in the Peace household. This book is about gender identity, child abuse, adultery, and mental illness. You really feel for the children that are being raised in the Peace house. But most of all you discover what it takes to survive in a home where these seems to be no hope. At one point you hope that the Father will be the savior, but in the end, it's one of the brothers who may be able to break the chain of .........I'll let you read it for yourself. ( )
  ReavesJackson | Feb 18, 2014 |
Enjoyable read exploring a wide variety of fascinating themes - gender identity, faith, nature vs. nurture, etc - that got a bit bogged down in at the large cast of characters and issues. Great book club discussion book. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
This was a hard book to judge. It was well written, vivid and very emotional; but there were few likable characters. The Peace family was anything but peaceful and it was terrible to witness. I really felt for these characters, although I couldn't stand most of them.

I'm happy the Peace brothers were able to find happiness and that the tragedy that began with their grandmother did not ruin all their lives. As much as Perfect's mother was WRONG with what she did, I could not hate her. I could only pity the life she had and wondered if she had had a different childhood, would she have made different choices.

This is a book that I think will stick with me, although I could not explain to anyone what it REALLY made me feel. I'm mostly bothered by it and regretful that these characters were so tortured, and sad that so many kids in real life are treated horrendously by those that are supposed to protect and uplift them. ( )
  mearias | Sep 23, 2013 |
Having the author at one of our book club meeting to discuss the book Sacred Place was more than a treat. He gave us a glimpse into Perfect Peace, (soon to be released) and worked up my desire to read his next novel.

From the first time I saw the cover and until I turned and read the last page, I was drawn in.

Black's graphic writing is told with rich southern characters set in the 1930's and 1940's of Swamp Creek, Arkansas which allowed vivid images of the time and place.

The major characters are all riveting. I loved the characters even Emma Jean. Emma Jean dreamed of being a better mother to her daughter than Mae Helen was to her. The only problem was Emma Jean did not have a daughter, so Emma Jean decided to turn her seventh son into the daughter she always wanted. We also experience the stories of the uniquely named and talented Peace men and brothers. The symbolism of the river called Jordan with its healing qualities only adds to the magnificence of this novel.

Every character has a story, and every story gives credence to next character. I loved how he weaved the future fate of the characters into the present.

This novel dealt with multiple topics like abuse, gender identity, education, blackmail, and mental illness, sexual attraction, and a mother's love. Perfect Peace has drama, suspense, secrets and just enough humor to make you want to laugh and cry. Angry with the actions of malicious town folks and supposedly loving family members, and curious as to where life would eventually take Perfect and the entire Peace family. I was appalled, touched, saddened, overjoyed, and hopeful at times. The lessons of Perfect Peace are left to your own interpretations.

Perfect Peace is a book that I will never forget. Its characters will stay with me long after I’ve finished reading the book. Daniel Black is a great storyteller and a very talented writer. He is reminiscent to J. California Cooper (who is also one of my favorites) with colorful characters and morals to a well spun folktale.

NOW on to “They Tell Me of a Home”… ( )
  altima313 | Feb 6, 2012 |
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For all of you who were mocked, scorned, and silenced because you were different, it's now your turn to speak....
And for my newest niece, Punch (Olivia)
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Gus stood beside the living room window, waiting for the annual spring rains.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312582676, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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." 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.… (more)

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