Contemporary, Family

Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson

Having taken various psychology courses in my undergrad, I’ve always been a bit wary of anything that has to do with social experiments. There are so many instances where things can go wrong and it all just seems so risky. I really thought that the social experiment mentioned in this book was an interesting one so that was my biggest motivation to give it a go. I wanted to see if this novel would change my mind in any way.

Isabelle Poole just recently graduated from high school and is pregnant with her art teacher’s baby. Her mother is long dead, her father is a drunk, and her art teacher is in no position to take the role of father. When Isabelle is offered a space in The Infinite Family Project by Dr. Grind, she accepts. Along with 9 other couples, all with children the same age as her own newborn, she will be housed in a spacious compound. Everyone will raise the children collectively, as one extended family, because Grind’s theory is that the more parental love a child gets, the better off they will be. It starts off promising: everyone gets along, and there are plenty of opportunities for each parent to interact with all of the children. But the gentle equilibrium that exists is soon broken and the extended family starts to disintegrate.

This was a really interesting and pleasant read. The author created a really unique environment for this story to take place. I liked Izzy’s character and I liked the ways in which the adults were made to interact with each other and with the children. The concept behind this experiment was shown in both positive and negative terms, which is something I’m really glad the author did. Most times, there is a tendency to favor one side but that wasn’t really the case here. However, the overall novel felt a bit lackluster for me. There wasn’t really anything happening. The premise of this novel made it seem as if there was going to be some kind of big conflict and we would witness something intense. But we didn’t. While the author spent the majority of the time focusing on Izzy and how she interacted with those around her, I felt no kinship to her. Or to anyone else. It’s weird because I liked their characters but I didn’t ever feel like I knew them. They were just so flat that it was hard to feel any emotional connection to what they were going through. The ending was a happy-ish one but it just added to this overall blahness. My ultimate thoughts about this novel? An interesting concept and a pleasant read but there is nothing too special or groundbreaking that happens here.

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