“Jessica Shattuck’s engrossing, deceptively ambitious novel explores a wide range of subjects . . . with a shrewd and sympathetic eye.”—Tom Perrotta
“In this smart and engaging follow-up to her well-received debut, The Hazards of Good Breeding, Shattuck focuses on three privileged Gen X college roommates who are now grown up, coupled up, and raising kids in pre-recession Boston. The cracks in their ‘perfect lives’ begin to show when the most precocious of the trio, a gorgeous striver named Jenny whose husband is infertile, makes the unconventional decision to have a baby with a sperm donation from Neil, her brainy, slacker ex-boyfriend from Harvard. . . . Stylish storytelling and sharp social commentary . . . make Perfect Life both topical and eminently readable.”—People
Shattuck s seamless second (after The Hazards of Good Breeding) explores how one woman s decision to shut the biological father of her child out of her life affects a group of old college pals. Harvard grad Neil Banks isn t exactly thrilled at having sold out and taken a job that moved him from L.A. to Boston to design the video games he used to review. After his arrival, he happens across Laura, a mutual friend of his and his college sweetheart, Jenny, who got pregnant using Neil s sperm after her blank-shooting husband couldn t deliver. As Laura, now unhappily married and the mother of two, and Neil embark on an affair, Neil s desire to connect with the son he s never met (and signed away all rights to) grows ever more intense. His chance comes in the form of a sexually voracious rep from Jenny s pharma company who is working on an antidepressant product-placement deal for a game Neil s designing. Shattuck does a great job with her characters, and the bizarre situations they find themselves in Neil particularly come across as oddly believable. Light humor and breezy prose seal the deal.