The Perfect Childby Lucinda Berry Published 01 Mar 2019
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|Publisher||Thomas & Mercer|
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A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.
Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.
But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.
Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.
"The Perfect Child" Reviews
I’m okay with not having a happy ending, but an ENDING would be nice. I feel like the book ended in what should have been the end of a chapter.
Good book, although I found the husband, Christopher, INFURIATING.
I'm not sure I've ever read such a crazy, intense, non-stop, haunting, anxiety producing novel...but only in the best and most desirable way. I didn't want it to end.
Once this book has you in it's grips, it won't let go. I started it this morning and literally could not put it down. My poor husband probably feels deprived.
Having received The Perfect Child free as a Kindle First February option, I honestly didn't have high expectations. These freebie books are hit or miss for me. Sometimes they're decent, sometimes they absolutely stink, and sometimes, they slowly mesmerize you with their intensity and unparalleled chaos.
The Perfect Child was like that...I was absolutely mesmerized. The characters, particularly Hannah, were so beautifully tragic...she felt very real to me. I could relate so very much to her feelings, her anxieties...virtually everything. Having said that, at times I also felt frustrated, primarily with Christopher. His choices and actions were questionable, even during the best of times. But the character who had my jaw dropping at virtually every turn of the page was Janie. HOLY COW! I don't want to say much for fear of giving anything away, but Janie may be the best "villain" I've read in years. Little girl was beyond vile!
Is the story a bit predictable? I'd say yes, which is why I didn't give it a full 5 stars. One of the main threads was incredibly obvious to me, but that took nothing away from the story-line. And there were a couple twists which shocked me...not necessarily because they were unexpected, but because of how they actually occurred. There is also some animal torture/death, which is another deduction for me. I HATE animal torture in any book. Fair warning.
I can't end this review without making the obvious comparisons to Baby Teeth. Clearly, Lucinda Berry was somewhat inspired by the Zoje Stage novel. There are many similar threads throughout...but the stories diverge enough to make them each incredibly readable in their own ways.
I'm a fan, fellow readers. I haven't checked to see if this is Ms. Berry's first novel or not, but she has definitely become a must read author in my eyes. I'll be thinking about this novel for a long, long time.
There was a knock on the door, I peeped behind the curtains to see who it was then I didn't bother to write a review after all.
.....narrated by Christine Williams Erin Bennett, Dan John Miller
The three voice narrators kept me interested - really hooked!!!
One reviewer compared this to ‘Baby Teeth’. Both books deal with a mentally troubled child....
But where ‘Baby Teeth’ was fiction nonsense — in which several of my friends who are child therapists agree.... ( Baby Teeth being way out in left field - one which few therapists vouch it’s realistic qualities-in which a young child expresses she wants daddy to kill mommy while watching them have sex)....
“The Perfect Child” ‘was’ written by a child-trauma- therapist. I thought it was very plausible- from beginning to end. The child’s behavior ‘was’ disturbing but more realistic ( she had been severely abused by her birth mother), making us have tons of empathy as to just how hard every single day is for everyone: The child, and new adoptive parents.
“The Perfect Child”, is more than a disturbing story… its an ongoing chronic nightmare of a story.....
but also FASCINATING!!!!
The ending was weak -
but the rest of it had me curious as to what’s the solution? How does a couple raise - help- and support a severely emotionally disturbed child? How does a child who has been soooo traumatize, heal? How much can you expect from
loving responsible adults?
The child in this story - Janie- had unpredictable and unbearable tantrums. She finger painted with her own poop, broke toys, killed an animal, was manipulative, controlling, hurt other children, and had extreme attachment displacement disorder.
Her new adoptive parents were willing to do everything possible to rehabilitate the child...
With every type of therapy imaginable and their undivided loving attention.
But Janie made it extremely difficult to succeed.
Anyone who has worked with children.... social workers, teachers, pediatric medical doctors, nurses, parents, foster care parents, or have adopted a child..... might consider reading this book.
(I suggest the Audiobook)...
Much respect for author Lucinda Berry...
She knows what she’s doing!!!
Terrific psychological character study... of all the main characters.
Jesus, What I’ve just read?!?! This book is very disturbing but I couldn’t put it down. My emotions where all over the place because I didn’t know who should I feel sorry for more. I guess all of them :(
It is a story of the couple Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, who adopted an abused by her real mom child, Jenie. I think they underestimated how hard it is to foster traumatized child.
Lucinda Berry is a trauma psychologist and she uses her clinical experience to create psychological thrillers. I have to read more of her books in the future.
After years of infertility Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, a nurse, gave up the idea of having a biological child. When abandoned and battered six-year-old Janie winds up in the ER, they decide to adopt her. Despite warnings from professionals that Janie trauma will take years to heal, if it ever does, the Bauers feel they are equipped. Then somebody dies.
Readers don’t know who the murder victim(s) is (or are) until near the end of THE PERFECT CHILD. Told from the first person points of view of Chris, Hannah and Janie’s social worker, readers are taken through the precarious road of Janie’s adoption. Lucinda Berry hit all the right notes with the behaviors of a child with reactive attachment disorder so I wasn’t surprised to learn she’s a psychologist. Berry was particularly accurate with one parent minimizing Janie’s behavior, the other with two high expectations to create a perfect scenario for Janie to manipulate and triangulate the parents. I couldn’t be angry with Christopher for thinking Hannah exaggerated because kids like Janie are just as Berry described, manipulative as a coping mechanism to try to control their environments in order to feel safe.
I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a free monthly Amazon book as much as THE PERFECT CHILD. I immediately ordered all of Berry’s other books, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the next one. Some readers may find the story unbelievable, but sadly it’s not. Reactive Attachment Disorder can be as extreme as Janie’s behavior, though fortunately usually isn’t quite as tragic. Usually seen in kids who never attach to a primary caregiver, often infants in orphanages or with parents who don’t respond to their needs, neglected to the point where they can only count on themselves. They both crave and fear attachment, often overly friendly with strangers and violent with those closest, the disorder is heartbreaking.
THE PERFECT CHILD is unputdownable psychological thriller and family tragedy.