Not Perfect
From Elizabeth LaBan, the acclaimed author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, comes a captivating and very funny novel about a wife and mother’s fall from grace, and why keeping up appearances is not her biggest secret. Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.

Not Perfect Details

TitleNot Perfect
Author
ReleaseFeb 1st, 2018
PublisherLake Union Publishing
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Humor

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Not Perfect Review

  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    While portions of the book were fine, overall this was not the book for me. The protagonist is highly unlikeable, making one bad decision after another. At times I wanted to reach into the book and shake her. Her husband has been gone for months, she is stealing food from restaurant buffets, but still she spends very little time trying to find a job (she doesn’t even have money to pay for lightbulbs so they are almost in the dark in their apartment). Then her daughter is at the hospital for a le While portions of the book were fine, overall this was not the book for me. The protagonist is highly unlikeable, making one bad decision after another. At times I wanted to reach into the book and shake her. Her husband has been gone for months, she is stealing food from restaurant buffets, but still she spends very little time trying to find a job (she doesn’t even have money to pay for lightbulbs so they are almost in the dark in their apartment). Then her daughter is at the hospital for a leg injury, and Tabitha is more worried about taking a phone call from a new guy she is interested in than she is about what is wrong with her daughter (?!?!). Her mother suffered from dementia before she died and whenever Tabitha reflects on their relationship she grumbles about how frustrating and annoying it had been to care for her. As someone personally dealing with that situation myself, I found that galling and beyond unkind and selfish. There was only so much of that I could take after a while. I did finish it because I was so curious where the husband had gone and what his threatening note meant. Sadly, the resolution was not worth the time spent reading the book to the end; it was a letdown to say the least. I realize that not every book appeals to everyone, but this certainly was not the book for me. I would look long and hard at the other Kindle First choices before I picked this one if you are thinking about this one as a Kindle First selection.
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  • RedRedtheycallmeRed
    January 1, 1970
    This Kindle First pick intrigued me, Tabitha's husband disappears...and then what? It's not hard to imagine myself in the situation, but there's no way I would act that stupidly. She has a college education yet she can't seem to make the simplest of decisions. Any mother who ignores her daughter's medical symptoms because she can't afford the $20 copay (but has a credit card that she uses for the dumbest of reasons) deserves ire, not sympathy.She's broke enough to steal condiments and toilet pap This Kindle First pick intrigued me, Tabitha's husband disappears...and then what? It's not hard to imagine myself in the situation, but there's no way I would act that stupidly. She has a college education yet she can't seem to make the simplest of decisions. Any mother who ignores her daughter's medical symptoms because she can't afford the $20 copay (but has a credit card that she uses for the dumbest of reasons) deserves ire, not sympathy.She's broke enough to steal condiments and toilet paper from restaurants, shampoo/soap/conditioner from a hotel, herbs from a neighbor's window box. She fells bad for her kids, so she decides to splurge on pizza...to the tune of $84! Who spends that on pizza when they don't have money to replace light bulbs? She steals some money, and then she spends $30 on bagels. I could make $30 stretch for quite a few meals if I had to do it.She wanders around the city while her kids are at school because she's bored, how about LOOKING FOR A JOB? Her husband has been gone for months, and she's putting forth a half-hearted effort at best. I won't even go into the Nora/Toby stuff because it's too fairytale-esque to be even the tiniest bit believable. And in the end, it didn't even seem like Tabitha learned anything from the ordeal. I learned I have no patience for this woman!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    The premise of this one struck a chord with me right away I wondered what I would do if I were in Tabitha’s shoes? Would I pretend just to save face? Would I keep it quiet like she did and try to save my pride? Now I have no secrets my own husband could threaten me with, but the fact that if my husband did disappear I would be totally screwed both terrifies me and piques my curiosity. While I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t even think of doing half of what Tabitha did, I still found myself engaged The premise of this one struck a chord with me right away I wondered what I would do if I were in Tabitha’s shoes? Would I pretend just to save face? Would I keep it quiet like she did and try to save my pride? Now I have no secrets my own husband could threaten me with, but the fact that if my husband did disappear I would be totally screwed both terrifies me and piques my curiosity. While I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t even think of doing half of what Tabitha did, I still found myself engaged in her story.I really sympathized for Tabitha but at the same time I can’t say that I honestly liked her. There was something about her that was off putting, she doesn’t make it easy to like her but as a mom I could sense her desperation to provide for her family even if that means making several questionable decisions. I did have to suspend my disbelief because a woman in her situation would most likely not try and complicate her life further by getting involved in a romance, but it did make the book a little more fun!This had a nice balance between the funny and the serious, there was an emotional component, especially in regards to Tabitha’s kids that hurt my heart. LaBan’s writing style is fluid and easy, I read this really fast, it was one of those reads you can get lost in because the story is so entertaining in a watching a train wreck kind of way. I was craving a lighter read and this delivered exactly that, if you don’t take it too seriously this is one to spend a weekend afternoon with.Not Perfect in three words: Smooth, Undemanding and Pleasant.
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  • Goth Gone Grey
    January 1, 1970
    Frustrating ImperfectionOn one level, this book works well. It's a well written story of a woman who falls apart when her husband leaves, a whisper of a threat in his goodbye note. She's paralyzed by fear of what she has done being discovered - a vague looming black cloud for most of the book, slowly revealed. She's handicapped as well by her pride, not wanting anyone she knows to see her doing anything she shouldn't, while she steals food to feed her children. Late in the book, we see her husba Frustrating ImperfectionOn one level, this book works well. It's a well written story of a woman who falls apart when her husband leaves, a whisper of a threat in his goodbye note. She's paralyzed by fear of what she has done being discovered - a vague looming black cloud for most of the book, slowly revealed. She's handicapped as well by her pride, not wanting anyone she knows to see her doing anything she shouldn't, while she steals food to feed her children. Late in the book, we see her husband's collapse as well, further explaining the empty bank account necessitating such drastic measures. Yet, if times are so difficult, suck up the pride. Get a job. Get two if one's not enough. Find a food bank. Fight to survive instead of being a whiny, self-centered twit more concerned with a new beau than your malnourished children, now physically suffering from your poor choices. Relationships in the book are conveniently played out, the two strangers she meets obviously linked, her former friends not noticing or caring enough to help - or being allowed to. She walked away from the first job she applied for, though they clearly would have hired her on the spot. The children seem more an inconvenience than a priority, as did her mother. The writing is solid, the book flows well, but the primary characters and their choices range from incomprehensible to just unlikeable.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this book was awful. I didn't like any of the characters, and I got angry at the main character, Tabitha, many times. Her husband, Stuart, has run off, and she doesn't have enough money to put food on the table for her two children. She knows that they're in a bad situation because her husband's paychecks are no longer being deposited to their account. She knows she needs to get a job, but she thinks she has the luxury of being picky about the kinds of jobs she will even apply for. She I thought this book was awful. I didn't like any of the characters, and I got angry at the main character, Tabitha, many times. Her husband, Stuart, has run off, and she doesn't have enough money to put food on the table for her two children. She knows that they're in a bad situation because her husband's paychecks are no longer being deposited to their account. She knows she needs to get a job, but she thinks she has the luxury of being picky about the kinds of jobs she will even apply for. She also thinks it's more important that she get a job where she won't encounter anyone she knows than it is to make sure she has an income to buy food for her kids. She makes a show of worrying about her kids, but her choices reveal her selfishness.One of Tabitha's coping mechanisms is stealing food from various sources, including restaurant buffets, (but it's okay because the restaurants will just throw it out). She keeps a list of all the places she stole from (except the restaurants) so she can supposedly pay it back someday. But at the end of the book, the message is that she can atone for her wrongs by adopting a "do-good" attitude instead of compensating the people she stole from. And she only "confesses" to her new boyfriend to make sure he'll love her even though she did some bad things. At one point we learn that Stuart has left each child a note and $50 and has even given the younger child complicated instructions about how to call him. Of course, he has instructed both to say nothing to their mother. When we finally learn his story, we find that he's pretty despicable. He's been grieving the death of a former fiancee, but it's impossible to sympathize with him because of his selfishness and willingness to traumatize his children by his abandonment of them. He's also managed to spend all of the family's money, and in his grief, he has completely stopped working, which is why the deposits stopped. So he doesn't care whether his kids eat, either.Finally, Tabitha's transformation into a "strong" woman is completely unbelievable and inconsistent with everything we've seen from her. Really, the only good thing is that I'm done with this book and will never read it again. I don't recommend that anyone else waste their time on it either. Not a good read.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    See the picture on the cover? It’s Tabitha, embarrassed by all the stupid and illegal stuff she did. Oh, this one is unbelievable! Tabithas husband leaves her. She has no job and two young children. But she doesn’t tell anyone, not even the kids, what happened. Daddy is in a long business trip. She also does not get a job. So when the money runs out after a few months, she starts stealing food from anywhere they offer a free meal. She has the mega purse and baggies to put stuff in. If that weren See the picture on the cover? It’s Tabitha, embarrassed by all the stupid and illegal stuff she did. Oh, this one is unbelievable! Tabithas husband leaves her. She has no job and two young children. But she doesn’t tell anyone, not even the kids, what happened. Daddy is in a long business trip. She also does not get a job. So when the money runs out after a few months, she starts stealing food from anywhere they offer a free meal. She has the mega purse and baggies to put stuff in. If that weren’t bad enough, she meets an elderly lady who has a jar full of money in her bathroom. So Tabitha helps herself! More than once. I cannot find redeeming qualities in Tabitha. Her husband is a lawyer. I’m sure they must have some joint savings account or retirement account. The whole thing just made me weary.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    My Review of “Not Perfect” by Elizabeth LaBanWhat would you do if your husband left after a disagreement, and just seemed to disappear? He is not answering your texts or your frantic telephone calls? Where is he? What is happening? After being so captivated and engrossed in “Not Perfect” by Elizabeth LaBan, these are many of the questions that I am left to think about. The author writes about the emotional pain and journey of Tabitha Brewer and her two children who seem to be abandoned. (emotion My Review of “Not Perfect” by Elizabeth LaBanWhat would you do if your husband left after a disagreement, and just seemed to disappear? He is not answering your texts or your frantic telephone calls? Where is he? What is happening? After being so captivated and engrossed in “Not Perfect” by Elizabeth LaBan, these are many of the questions that I am left to think about. The author writes about the emotional pain and journey of Tabitha Brewer and her two children who seem to be abandoned. (emotionally and physically)The genres for this novel are Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and some mystery is thrown in. I appreciate the way the author tells the layers of the story going back for clues to see why this happened. The author describes the characters as complicated and complex, angry, upset, and determined. I also see some of the characters as being resourceful and courageous. For Tabitha Brewer, who has led what looks like a perfect life, this is embarrassing and humiliating. Tabitha doesn’t want anyone to know that she doesn’t have the money for food, soap, detergent and other common goods. She tries to do the best she can. Tabitha meets some colorful characters along the way as she struggles to try to do what she feels the best is for her family. Can she keep this secret forever?All Tabitha can remember from the last letter that her husband left for her , he leaves a threatening comment, “I’ll tell them what you did”. Tabitha is not sure what he means or what she did.Is anyone perfect? The blurb on the book says “a poignant and relatable look at the facades we create in the futile pursuit of perfection.”I appreciate that the author discusses issues of homelessness, abandonment, health insurance, poverty, food banks, and emotional support. The author writes about the importance of family , friends, forgiveness, love, faith and hope. I would highly recommend this book for lovers of Women’s Fiction. I received an ARC of this book for my honest review.
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  • Tracy's Place
    January 1, 1970
    I downloaded this one from the January First Reads on Amazon. None of the First Reads ever really catch my attention, plus it pisses me off that they’ll choose a children’s book over a romance, but I digress. This one sounded kind of interesting but in the end it was not for me. Tabitha is a horrible person. She does nothing but lie and steal throughout the book when she could have gotten support from friends. I understand she felt threatened by her husband and embarrassed by the situation but r I downloaded this one from the January First Reads on Amazon. None of the First Reads ever really catch my attention, plus it pisses me off that they’ll choose a children’s book over a romance, but I digress. This one sounded kind of interesting but in the end it was not for me. Tabitha is a horrible person. She does nothing but lie and steal throughout the book when she could have gotten support from friends. I understand she felt threatened by her husband and embarrassed by the situation but really? She actually stole from a place that fed the hungry. She could have asked for help, even though she was there volunteering, but instead she chose to steal. Then stealing from the elderly? I don’t care if the lady wanted needy people to take it, or that she planned on paying it back, Tabitha was greedy in the end. She annoyed me!
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  • Heather Catlin
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book. It was a great, easy, chick-lit read.
  • Fyrephoenix
    January 1, 1970
    I can't believe I trudged through this one. Tabitha has to be the most idiotic character I've ever read about. Get. A. Job. Seriously....not a hard concept. She sure wouldn't win mother of the year...sheesh
  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    This story will surprise youThis is a story of resilience, of forgiveness and realizing the good in all of us. It will encourage you to be kind to yourself and other s.
  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    When I read about this book, it sounded interesting plus I have a few friends that read The Restaurant Critic's WIfe and loved it. It is hard to know just where to start with this one since I dsliked it on so many levels. Tabitha is married to a lawyer. Her husband, Stuart has opened his own practice and is working with miners in the Upper Pennisula in Michigan. He is gone for days at a time and she serves as a single parent to their two children. Things go along in a routine until one day Stuar When I read about this book, it sounded interesting plus I have a few friends that read The Restaurant Critic's WIfe and loved it. It is hard to know just where to start with this one since I dsliked it on so many levels. Tabitha is married to a lawyer. Her husband, Stuart has opened his own practice and is working with miners in the Upper Pennisula in Michigan. He is gone for days at a time and she serves as a single parent to their two children. Things go along in a routine until one day Stuart just disappears. They had words the evening before but not something that Tabitha thought would ever cause him to leave. She tries to text and call him but he never answers and the phone usually goes right to voice mail. She has no money because money is not being added to their joint account. She is reduced to stealing toilet paper from restaurant bathrooms, shampoos and soaps from a housekeeping cart in a hotel where she has a meeting and basil from a neighbor's windowbox. She is scrapping together things for her kids to eat and pretending that life is the same as always. Bet she never served toast with a special oil on it for dinner before Stuart left! Her kids are in 3rd and 7th grade and she thinks that they don't think that anything has changed. She knows she needs a job and yet her search for employment is a halfhearted attempt, if that. She goes to a Michigan State football event at a nearby bar with the purpose of taking food off the buffet for her kids' dinner. She meets Toby and spends some of her time throughout the novel trying to meet up with him since she finds herself attracted to him.The entire storyline is just so far fetched and Tabitha is such a totally hateful, unrelatable character that the book is a pure loser. Not sure how the author went so far from writing a book that others really liked to one that I am surprised was ever published. I can only say that I would not recomment spending time amongst these pages when there are far better ones waiting to be turned.
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  • Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    This novel explores a crumbling marriage and how the wife survives after being abandoned by her husband. It begins by detailing a list the wife is keeping of the things she has stolen to survive. At first, she is taking simple necessities like food to feed herself and her two children. The absentee husband appears to be still paying the monthly bills, but he isn't sending money to cover food and incidentals. We know this family is affluent because the children attend an expensive private school. This novel explores a crumbling marriage and how the wife survives after being abandoned by her husband. It begins by detailing a list the wife is keeping of the things she has stolen to survive. At first, she is taking simple necessities like food to feed herself and her two children. The absentee husband appears to be still paying the monthly bills, but he isn't sending money to cover food and incidentals. We know this family is affluent because the children attend an expensive private school. A sensible person would immediately question the thefts and wonder why she didn't turn to her family or wealthy friends for help. Apparently, she's too proud to reveal her life is not perfect. At one point in the book, she gives a pair of her husband's gold cuff links to a homeless man. Couldn't she have pawned them and other valuables for grocery money? She can steal from an old lady, but she can't sell her wedding ring or ask her friends for food? Excuse me for pointing out another obvious point- You can pay for groceries with a credit card. You can check the status of a credit card and track credit card payments online. When the husband, who left means for his daughter to contact him, but not his wife and son . . . when this coward finally resurfaces, you want to punch him in his selfish face for making his family suffer. No mother wants to worry about health insurance/medical bills when her children are injured. This novel painfully illustrates why every woman should have a degree or some type of certification. Every woman needs her own nest egg or rainy day fund. It is wonderful to be a stay-at-home mom, but should the need arise, it's even better to be able to provide for yourself and your children.
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  • Cynthia Warren
    January 1, 1970
    Well, the title didn't lie....At first I was intrigued by the story of a woman being deserted by her husband, but it began to make less and less sense. I can't imagine anyone hiding such a thing for so long out of simple pride, especially when she's unable to properly feed and care for her children, yet she's depicted as an imperfect, but responsible parent. There were so many unbelievable coincidences, and this is the possibly the worst; an elderly woman with a strangely fading and sharp memory Well, the title didn't lie....At first I was intrigued by the story of a woman being deserted by her husband, but it began to make less and less sense. I can't imagine anyone hiding such a thing for so long out of simple pride, especially when she's unable to properly feed and care for her children, yet she's depicted as an imperfect, but responsible parent. There were so many unbelievable coincidences, and this is the possibly the worst; an elderly woman with a strangely fading and sharp memory (as the plot requires, with the same first name as the main character's own mother), who keeps her nearby city apartment open with edible marijuana, and a literal jar of hundreds of dollars WITH a note to take it if you need some and hasn't been robbed blind or worse? Nora then keeps replenishing the money with the help of her (responsible) son, who doesn't seem to mind at all (?). I guess it never occurs to Toby that his elderly parent could be in danger from such a practice. Of course, that's the same guy that the main character has already met. I could go on and on, for example giving the homeless guy she had given some of her husband's clothes to, which ultimately led to her son's confusion, which then led to him rushing into a street to be run over. This novel was one eye roll after another. I simply had to finish it, because it became more and more ridiculous as it went on. Yikes!
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Not a perfect book, but pretty darned good!This is not a perfect book, but I really enjoyed it anyway. I think it took took way too long to find out when and why Stuart left his family. It wasn't really mysterious ss it was annoying. Tabitha was rather shallow and way too concerned with appearances; too casual about things like medical appointments and tests, and where the children were, what they were doing, and where the next meal was coming from. Then she blows a huge amount of her remaining Not a perfect book, but pretty darned good!This is not a perfect book, but I really enjoyed it anyway. I think it took took way too long to find out when and why Stuart left his family. It wasn't really mysterious ss it was annoying. Tabitha was rather shallow and way too concerned with appearances; too casual about things like medical appointments and tests, and where the children were, what they were doing, and where the next meal was coming from. Then she blows a huge amount of her remaining credit balance on a ridiculously overpriced pizza meal! Not really something a responsible adult would be likely to do. Stewart is not a sympathetic character at all, so why she married him at all is the biggest mystery to me, and that is never fully explained or explored. However, that being said, I think it was still a fairly good read. The situation of abandonment is real, and it is usually the kids who suffer the most, as is the case here. If you like drama, mystery, and romance, you might enjoy this book.
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  • ~lucy~
    January 1, 1970
    If the story had been written from the point of view of more than one character, perhaps one of those where alternate chapters are from different voices, I think it would have been a good story ... but as it was, I found it simply ridiculous. We follow Tabitha, a mother of two who has been abandoned by her husband and who seems more interested in her own pity than in looking after the children or behaving in a rational way. If the timescale was set over a week or two, her actions would be believ If the story had been written from the point of view of more than one character, perhaps one of those where alternate chapters are from different voices, I think it would have been a good story ... but as it was, I found it simply ridiculous. We follow Tabitha, a mother of two who has been abandoned by her husband and who seems more interested in her own pity than in looking after the children or behaving in a rational way. If the timescale was set over a week or two, her actions would be believable as many people do seem to cease thinking rationally after a crisis but this story is set over many weeks and a mother who is more interested in a secret romp with a man she barely knows than in the fact that her daughter has a severe leg injury, or the fact that her son hasn't eaten properly for weeks isn't one I'd wish to know! I was pleased that we did get a partial revelation in the end as to what happened with the ex-husband but overall, not a book for me & I regret wasting money on it.
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  • Susan Bazzett-Griffith
    January 1, 1970
    This book was my Kindle First choice for January, and I found it too drawn out to hold my interest for extended periods. The story og abandoned wife Tabitha just dragged on and on without much character development or dynamics, and had this bizarre vaguely romantic subplot that's connection to the story seemed forced. I found it difficult to believe that this character wouldn't have confided in her best friend, a woman whom she is apparently close enough to that when asked if she would help her This book was my Kindle First choice for January, and I found it too drawn out to hold my interest for extended periods. The story og abandoned wife Tabitha just dragged on and on without much character development or dynamics, and had this bizarre vaguely romantic subplot that's connection to the story seemed forced. I found it difficult to believe that this character wouldn't have confided in her best friend, a woman whom she is apparently close enough to that when asked if she would help her become a single mother, Tabiyha sayd yes immediately. That doesn't seem consistent... I've read worse novels, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Only 2 stars, and that's begrudgingly granted.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I found this read on Amazon when it was free and I am new to Elizabeth's book, so I was super excited to jump in and see where she would take me. For me it was a quick read and I really did enjoy Elizabeth's writing style. Such great characters. I see a lot of folks are not impressed by this read, it was different style, unique thoughts, but who says a book has to be set whatever way, it was might be very creative, different, not the normal a little out there and why not? is that not what a crea I found this read on Amazon when it was free and I am new to Elizabeth's book, so I was super excited to jump in and see where she would take me. For me it was a quick read and I really did enjoy Elizabeth's writing style. Such great characters. I see a lot of folks are not impressed by this read, it was different style, unique thoughts, but who says a book has to be set whatever way, it was might be very creative, different, not the normal a little out there and why not? is that not what a creative license is about? right? it is normal that someone would do this, count things? not that I know of ...but to each his/her own, right?! I found it interesting and easy to read. ( ;
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  • Helen Dunn
    January 1, 1970
    This book was fine - light reading for me to read when I'm a little bit sick and not quite ready to read anything with more heft. The author is from Philadelphia and I really enjoy all the local flair in her novels. This one is about a single Mom of two living in a nice part of town in the months after her husband mysteriously leaves her and the kids. She doesn't want to tell anybody and slowly her resources have dwindled to the point where she's stealing packets of butter and sugar from restaur This book was fine - light reading for me to read when I'm a little bit sick and not quite ready to read anything with more heft. The author is from Philadelphia and I really enjoy all the local flair in her novels. This one is about a single Mom of two living in a nice part of town in the months after her husband mysteriously leaves her and the kids. She doesn't want to tell anybody and slowly her resources have dwindled to the point where she's stealing packets of butter and sugar from restaurants and smuggling happy hour food out of bars to feed her kids for dinner.I mostly enjoyed the novel but was completely unsatisfied with the underlying mystery.
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  • Tiffany McElmeel
    January 1, 1970
    Bumps in life Keeping up appearances can be destructive and this story touches on that. It was a good read but far from practical. It’s like when one thing (of many) went wrong there was quickly a solution.
  • Jay & Corrine
    January 1, 1970
    ChoicesLoved the slow unfolding of a mystery in a real world setting. And how sometimes we are forced into bad choices, sometimes we just make them, and sometimes they just happen. But there is always grace and mercy and the choice to do good.
  • Kayo
    January 1, 1970
    Read authors previous book. This one does not even come close to PERFECT.
  • ♡ Jeri's Book Attic ♡
    January 1, 1970
  • Addictive
    January 1, 1970
    Once I start a book I kind of HAVE to finish it. Unless the book is so bad that I can't. Not Perfect by Elizabeth LaBan was not the best.We open the book to find out that the husband Stuart is gone. He disappeared from his life as a loving father to two kids and a role as a perfect husband to Tabitha. Tabitha completely falls apart and abandons the needs of her kids and is consumed with where her husband is, who'll she'll steal from next to make ends meet and the cute new guy she met. Meanwhile Once I start a book I kind of HAVE to finish it. Unless the book is so bad that I can't. Not Perfect by Elizabeth LaBan was not the best.We open the book to find out that the husband Stuart is gone. He disappeared from his life as a loving father to two kids and a role as a perfect husband to Tabitha. Tabitha completely falls apart and abandons the needs of her kids and is consumed with where her husband is, who'll she'll steal from next to make ends meet and the cute new guy she met. Meanwhile the kids seem completely fine with eating toast for breakfast and crackers for dinner.In the end the husband reappears in time for his son's bar mitzvah, and Tabitha seems to land a job after months of stealing from an old lady with dementia.I don't get this book at all. Who in their right mind would sympathize with any of these characters?? Kids notwithstanding. I just felt so very bad for them.
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  • Shelly
    January 1, 1970
    Elizabeth LaBan's Not Perfect has a few things in common with the book I finished just prior to reading this one, Big, Little, Lies - a few hazy facts, lots of unanswered questions, distracting hints, and possible death (so it wasn't surprising that the main character Not Perfect is reading another of Liane Moriarty's novels). The fact that I'd just finished that brilliant work didn't do Not Perfect any favors. Don't get me wrong, Not Perfect is an enjoyable read but I couldn't help comparing it Elizabeth LaBan's Not Perfect has a few things in common with the book I finished just prior to reading this one, Big, Little, Lies - a few hazy facts, lots of unanswered questions, distracting hints, and possible death (so it wasn't surprising that the main character Not Perfect is reading another of Liane Moriarty's novels). The fact that I'd just finished that brilliant work didn't do Not Perfect any favors. Don't get me wrong, Not Perfect is an enjoyable read but I couldn't help comparing it to Big, Little, Lies. I know I shouldn't do that so I'll attempt to review it without the comparisons.Not Perfect is the story of a woman, Tabitha, whose husband has simply abandoned her and their two children with seemingly no way to contact him and no clue as to where he's gone. Tabitha's reaction to their increasingly desperate situation had me asking myself if I would do the same things she did in order to keep her children fed and healthy. And if I would have broken my silence sooner. I didn't always like Tabitha or her choices but she wasn't deserving of the cruel treatment from her husband with his threats and secrets. Stuart poisoned this book for me. His motivation (not that there could ever be good motivation for abandoning your children) was pitiful. So you felt trapped in your life; so you ended up with the wrong woman; so you are heartbroken. None of those are excuses for allowing your children to go hungry. I longed to reach into the pages and slap the man silly. And then to slap Tabitha for her underwhelming reaction to his return and his pleas. I hope I'm not giving too much away. Apart from my passionate dislike for Stuart, I never really connected emotionally with the characters. I think they could have been more development had there not been so many events in such a short book. I wanted to want root for Tabitha, and Toby and I wanted to learn more about Nora and the money. I guess that's what's left me so unsatisfied - I have unanswered questions and disappointing conclusions.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I am torn between giving this book 3 stars, or 4. So, let's split the difference and go with 3.5! I love books with flawed main characters. I like to see a little bit of myself in the books I read. Tabitha was a completely likable and mostly believable character. I could relate to some of the parenting decisions she made, especially considering her circumstances. I often waited to call the pediatrician (only for my kids to feel better as soon as I made the emergency appointment). I let my childr I am torn between giving this book 3 stars, or 4. So, let's split the difference and go with 3.5! I love books with flawed main characters. I like to see a little bit of myself in the books I read. Tabitha was a completely likable and mostly believable character. I could relate to some of the parenting decisions she made, especially considering her circumstances. I often waited to call the pediatrician (only for my kids to feel better as soon as I made the emergency appointment). I let my children embrace their independence before their peers, and felt obligated to defend my decision to other moms. And if my husband up and left and took his income with him, I wonder how long it would take me to be able to support my family. The story line was interesting (refreshing to read a book where the wife is the one abandoned instead of the one doing the abandoning). BUT-- some of the details were pretty thin. I figured that Nora was Toby's mother right away. I knew that the husband was with the ex-fiance and even guessed that she was sick or had died. The story line about the husband and ex-fiance was unbelievable. The relationship with Tabitha and her mom on her death bed was also difficult to swallow. I felt like the list of clues was completely unnecessary, and when Tabitha ripped up the list, the author probably should have removed it from the story line all together. It was like she wanted to start off with a mystery, but then changed her mind and just wanted to tell Tabitha's story. Overall though, I enjoyed this book and read it pretty much in one sitting. This would be a good book to give your mom or aunt or grandmother as a gift. It's light and interesting and not overly romantic.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    I see a lot of negative reviews for this book, and I understand where they are coming from. The protagonist, Tabitha, makes some questionable choices. (But hey, look at the title of the book! What did you expect?) Minor aspects of the story are not entirely plausible. But LaBan is a great storyteller. This is not an overblown mystery where the plot is so convoluted you can't follow it. It's more like a card player revealing a winning hand one card at a time. From the first card, you know they're I see a lot of negative reviews for this book, and I understand where they are coming from. The protagonist, Tabitha, makes some questionable choices. (But hey, look at the title of the book! What did you expect?) Minor aspects of the story are not entirely plausible. But LaBan is a great storyteller. This is not an overblown mystery where the plot is so convoluted you can't follow it. It's more like a card player revealing a winning hand one card at a time. From the first card, you know they're going to win, but they still retain a bit of suspense until they flip that last ace and reveal the full house. In a similar way, LaBan creates a situation that seems pretty straightforward at first. Then she lets you know there are some nuances that will be revealed eventually. And through the natural progression of the story, she fills in the blanks. It's very smooth and well-crafted.Tabitha is the key to the story. As I said before, some of her choices are questionable. But for me, she never becomes unlikable. She seems like a real, flawed person dumped into an impossible situation, for which nobody can prepare. And like a real person, she reacts. Some of her reactions are good. Some are bad. Some are irresponsible. Some are kind. Sometimes she cuts herself too much slack; sometimes she berates herself undeservedly. Her character seems really authentic and relatable to me.This book might not be for everybody. I think people who are a little bit broken, trying to figure out how to live without a support system, afraid of the future, unsure how they got to this point in their life, might enjoy it better than those who think they have everything all figured out all of the time.I can't wait to read more from this author!
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  • Clarissa
    January 1, 1970
    Tabitha Brewer has a lot of problems. Her husband Stuart has disappeared without a trace, leaving her unable to support herself and her two children in the upper-middle-class lifestyle to which they’re accustomed. Tabitha is trying to find a job, but in the meantime, her life becomes a tangled web of secrets and lies as she tries to hide her husband’s apparent abandonment from everyone around her, including her children.I keep wanting to call this novel “Gone Boy” even though it’s not a thriller Tabitha Brewer has a lot of problems. Her husband Stuart has disappeared without a trace, leaving her unable to support herself and her two children in the upper-middle-class lifestyle to which they’re accustomed. Tabitha is trying to find a job, but in the meantime, her life becomes a tangled web of secrets and lies as she tries to hide her husband’s apparent abandonment from everyone around her, including her children.I keep wanting to call this novel “Gone Boy” even though it’s not a thriller in the same way that “Gone Girl” is, and the focus is on the people left behind, not the one who disappears (though his disappearance is fully explained by the end). LaBan does an expert job of planting clues about Stuart’s disappearance, but the story is really about Tabitha learning about herself and what she really wants instead of the apparently perfect life she had before her husband left. LaBan’s expertise is also apparent in Tabitha’s character: it would be easy not to sympathize with a woman who’s lived such a privileged life, but her desperate attempts to find ways of stretching her remaining budget are both entertaining and understandable. She’s definitely not the perfect wife or mother, but her selfish moments made her a three-dimensional character. Some scenes are laugh-out-loud funny (watch for a Chinese restaurant scene involving Beef Chow Fun), and others are deeply moving. I found myself thinking of Tabitha as a friend and rooting for her throughout the novel, hoping she’d find her happy ending.An intriguing read that explores why we feel the need to keep up appearances, how well we know ourselves and our loved ones, and the importance of forgiveness.
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  • Robin Martin
    January 1, 1970
    The plot from this book may seem implausible to some, but I could totally see it happening. Women in upper socioeconomic levels are very prideful. Tabitha lives in a fancy apartment in the middle of the city, her kids go to the best private schools, and she hasn't had to worry about money since she was a kid. But this book deals with the fallout when her husband just purposefully disappears one day, leaving her with hardly any money in the bank and maxed out credit cards. She hasn't had a job si The plot from this book may seem implausible to some, but I could totally see it happening. Women in upper socioeconomic levels are very prideful. Tabitha lives in a fancy apartment in the middle of the city, her kids go to the best private schools, and she hasn't had to worry about money since she was a kid. But this book deals with the fallout when her husband just purposefully disappears one day, leaving her with hardly any money in the bank and maxed out credit cards. She hasn't had a job since her kids were little so she has to go look for one. Meanwhile, the PTA committee at school is asking her to bring expensive cheese trays for a teacher luncheon, she's supposed to be planning her son's bar mitzvah, the utilities have to be paid, and over the next few months, the food in pantry dwindles down to paltry offerings. She won't tell anyone what has happened to her and her kids, not even her best friend. She just tells everyone that her husband is traveling for work, mostly because she keeps expecting him to be back any day. But days turn into months and therein lies the issue.The extreme tactics she employs to feed her family becomes comical at times, but the desperate circumstances make you keep yelling at the character to TELL someone. There were several characters that I would have liked to see more of in the book; Nora, the elderly woman with dementia that she meets on a job interview gone wild, Toby, her new love interest that she meets in a sports bar while stealing food from the buffet, and Stuart, her hubby on the run. Better development of these characters would have made the book more of a four-star book for me.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Seldom has a book's title been so descriptive. This book is 'Not Perfect' and that's what it is. Sadly this month's Amazon Prime free book choices weren't really a selection that interested me so I dipped into a genre I don't normally bother with. It's not exactly chick lit but it's light page-turning domestic 'drama'. When Tabitha's husband does a runner and leaves her with the kids and limited means of support she does some seriously dumb things. Morality goes out the window as she forages and Seldom has a book's title been so descriptive. This book is 'Not Perfect' and that's what it is. Sadly this month's Amazon Prime free book choices weren't really a selection that interested me so I dipped into a genre I don't normally bother with. It's not exactly chick lit but it's light page-turning domestic 'drama'. When Tabitha's husband does a runner and leaves her with the kids and limited means of support she does some seriously dumb things. Morality goes out the window as she forages and scavenges for the day to day essentials - you or I might just put it more simply; she steals. From slipping food into her handbag, grabbing hotel shampoos off the housekeeping cart, pocketing toilet rolls from friends' bathrooms and grabbing handfuls of basil out of a window box, she's soon stealing from an old lady whilst she avoids taking her daughter to the hospital and tries to hide her husband's missing status from their rabbi. She gets emotional about the dregs of a bottle of balsamic vinegar whilst seemingly unable to show maternal concern for her child. She can find money for taxis but not for light bulbs. It's all very weird.This is not my life. It's not most people's life. I like to think most of us wouldn't handle desertion like this but in the same way that you can't help but rubberneck at a car crash, it's hard to look away from a middle-class meltdown. It's entertaining but forgettable light fluff. Many books address the issues around poverty - few around how to survive without balsamic vinegar and the wherewithal to pull together an attractive cheese plate.It wasn't terrible but it's not my preferred genre.
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