New year, new book club selections! I had never heard of C.J. Washington or this book, but it was picked for my book club so away I went. This isn’t a book I would have naturally gravitated to, but as a beach book or in my case, something to read at the Korean spa, it was perfectly fine.
I had to reread the first two chapters twice to get going, something about the way he was introducing the characters didn’t stick with me, but after a bit of extra effort, I was in and read half this book in one sitting. This is a story of seemingly disparate people and events that all wind their way back to each other, sort of with the same randomization of the movie “Love Actually” in that you have no idea what one has to do with the other, until boom it does. The connective threads are zany, and juuuuust shy of being too farfetched to be believable.
The title “Imperfect Lives” is also a colossal understatement as the flaws of these characters go well beyond “imperfection” as their actions include joining a cult, lying to a spouse about losing their job, becoming a killer for hire, dabbling with an extra-marital affair, estranged family members, missing family members, arrest for underaged public intoxication, attempted murder, serving as a fugitive, and committing a drunken hit-and-run. Also, we have the 2008 housing crisis thrown in as a plot point.
It’s. A lot.
When I was already 3/4 of the way through the book I didn’t understand why there were cats on the cover and fish bones (Edited to say, Oh wait. Now I think I might get it. But if you are picking this up as a cat person, you’ll be disappointed. There is one significant cat in about 1/16 of the story, so this is the case of the book cover not being a good match for the story inside).
As literary popcorn entertainment and a wackadoo story to get lost in, I give it a shoulder shrug and a thumbs up.