When the opportunity to review a book about bad and surprising break-up that happened to a woman in San Francisco came my way, well, I had to take it. . . . perhaps I had mysteriously written this book in my sleep, and if I had, well, I really should read it, right? And I’m glad I did.

Marian Murnane’s debut book, Perfect on Paper, is funny, insightful, and just real. The story is of Waverly Bryson, a woman in her late 20s whose fiance decides to call off their wedding two weeks before the date because he doesn’t love her anymore. This devastating act takes place in the first chapter of the book, and the rest of the novel shows Waverly’s misadventures in dating and, most importantly, her ability to come to terms with her own passions and identity.

The book isn’t profound; you won’t suddenly go sell your possessions and fly to the Sudan to work in a refugee camp (but wouldn’t it be great if more of us did that?). But this novel is fun and really, well, cool. I absolutely loved reading it. My favorite scene is when Waverly finds herself at a wedding alone and has to sit at the dreaded Singles Table (can anyone besides me relate?). She and her table-mates do their best to make the most of the situation by listing “dating disqualifiers,” those traits or habits that immediately eliminate someone from a person’s list of potential dates. The list included:
– cheerleaders – one man says, “I don’t care how smokin’ you are. If I find out you once had pom poms in your locker, you’re out on your ass.” (That one made me, the non-cheerleader, smile with a goofy grin that showed all my teeth.)
– personalized license plates
– “jorts (jean shorts)”
– any guy who weighs less than the girl
– black Levi’s . . .
– etc.
– (anyone have anything to add?)
I’ve considered penning this list into my journal just so I can avoid some crazy snafus in my dating life.

As all good comedies do, this one ends well (but I won’t give it away), and perhaps the ending is contrived. But isn’t that we all want when we read for a good laugh – the belief that someone is working “all things out for the good?” So much of life doesn’t work out well; sometimes you just need to believe it will . . . even if you can maintain that belief for just a few hundred pages.

So if this book sounds like a fun read to you, please let me know. I’ll be giving this one away, too. I want to share the love.

Which reminds me, I forgot to mention the winner of Blood Harvest – Word Lily, you are our winner (I must admit that everyone had such good reasons to read the book that I simply did “eeny meeny miny moe – I don’t know how to spell that). . . so enjoy Word Lily.

Cover of Perfect on Paper by Maria Murnane