Rating: 4 1/2 stars
“Your Perfect Life” is by debut authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. It’s about best friends Casey and Rachel, whose lives have taken different directions, and whose friendship may have wandered a bit, also.
Casey has become the host of a gossip television show while Rachel dropped out of college when she got pregnant. Married to her high school sweetheart, she’s the mother of three girls. Each does not understand the lifestyle and choices the other has made.
Casey dresses in designer clothes, interviews the rich and famous and is, herself, rich and famous. But Casey lives in an apartment that looks like a hotel, and she sleeps alone most nights on her fabulous silk sheets. Casey has one-night flings, worries that someone younger will take over her job, and is obsessed with staying on top. She envies her homebody friend, who has family and all the love that Casey might be missing.
Rachel’s life is very different. Rachel’s two older daughters are teenagers and she feels as if they are always at odds. Her “accidental” baby, Charlotte, disrupted her plans to go to work. She is frustrated by her life and perhaps a bit envious of her glamorous friend, Casey.
Their twenty-year high school reunion is where Casey and Rachel are each awarded prizes. Casey wins “Most Successful Graduate” and Rachel wins “Least Changed.”
Each friend has brought her insecurity to the reunion. Casey feels like an outsider. She is successful and beautiful, but she is alone. Rachel feels like a failure. She didn’t finish college, she’s never worked in any profession, and her days are filled taking care of children. And when Rachel gets her award, it intensifies her feeling of inadequacy — the fact that she thinks her lack of success is why she is the “least changed,” not that she really just looks much like she did in high school.
Casey and Rachel argue and then the magic happens — they wake up the next morning having switched bodies.
Rachel finally gets the chance to fulfill her college ambition to be on television. Casey gets to find out what’s it’s like to have a family. And the story is what they learn not only about themselves, but about each other. And it’s fascinating to see what each brings to the life of the other — and what the switch makes each of them realize about her own life.
The book raises some interesting questions about friendship, life, and what defines success.
To appreciate your own life, do you need to step outside of it — even for a short time? Can someone reinvent herself after twenty years? What is important — family, success, friends, or all three?
Liz and Lisa get it right. It’s obvious that there’s a bit of each of them in the main characters of this story. Of course, the fact that Liz and Lisa have been friends for twenty-five years (that’s five years longer than the characters in the book) doesn’t hurt. They get what it takes to keep a friendship going.
It’s a story that everyone with a family, everyone with a career, everyone with a heart will love. “Your Perfect Life” is touching, humorous, heart-warming, and just lovely. Enjoy.
Please note: This review is based on the final paperback book provided by Goldberg McDuffie Communications for review purposes.