Well written but a sad read, this story hit my feelings hard. The mother was horribly abused as a child by her mother because of her dark skin. So, she promised that if she ever had a daughter she would love her more than life itself. Fast forward several years and several little boys later, Emma still doesn’t have the little girl that her heart desires. Pregnant with the last baby her hard working yet poor husband will allow, all of her hopes and dreams rest in this final child who to her great dismay, turns out to be a boy as well. Desperate and most likely in the grips post partum depression, she blackmails the local midwife who assisted her in giving birth into saying that her new baby is a girl. The midwife does this but never quite gets over it. So, her ‘perfect’ little girl is born and she names her Perfect as well.
Little Perfect goes on to make friends another local girl and often play ‘adults’ where the other little girl is the ‘mommy’ taking ‘care’ of Perfect who is the ‘daddy.’ This has nothing to do with Perfect’s true gender since both little girls believe her to be female and although there is heavy petting, clothing never come off. Their games become their little secret and since it feels good to Perfect and she enjoys them, she doesn’t mind. A few events happen and it is later revealed that Perfect is a boy. Her father, feeling duped, beats her savagely only stopping when Emma places her body between them. Perfect now has to navigate the world as a boy but is still accompanied by his best friend who has now become a bit more… handsy with their games alone together. Perfect grows and still remains close to his friend but goes through many trial that make him wonder if life is truly worth living.
Beaten and nearly raped as a teen, he makes the best of a bad situation and makes new discoveries along the way. He has a crush on a local boy, goes to the dance with a local girl, and is still sexually attracted to his best friend who fancies him as well. Perfect has to figure out if his attraction to boys is because he actually likes them or because he spent so much of his life believing himself a girl and therefore supposed to. But, he isn’t the only Peace son who is grappling with what he wants… As for Emma, my heart hurts for her. Never treated well as a child, not sexually satisfied as a wife, not fulfilled as a mother, lonely, loving but sad, she succumbs to mental illness but not before she gets to have the one thing other than a daughter that would make her happy… a birthday party thrown by her loving sons. They love her dearly and she loves them, but the voices in her head overtake her and the only way that she can quiet them is by doing something to herself that can not be undone. Perfect never blamed his mother for raising him as a girl and often missed their closeness. The book ends in a way that made me want a sequel.