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PERFECTION by Julie Metz

PERFECTION

A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal

By Julie Metz

Pub Date: June 9th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4013-2255-7
Publisher: Voice/Hyperion

Upon discovering that her late husband cheated on her with multiple women, the author began researching his affairs.

In early 2003, graphic designer and freelance writer Metz heard a crash in her suburban New York house. It was her husband Henry, collapsing from a pulmonary embolism. In the first months following his death, the author carried on raising their six-year-old daughter, Liza, while grieving and starting a relationship with Tomas, a friend of the couple. Then Metz found out about her late husband’s adultery, setting her off on a witch hunt to find the women he’d been with. Searching for clues, she combed through illicit e-mails and Henry’s journal (she quotes passages from each), then contacted his former lovers—scattered across the continent, all of them his type of “little brunettes”—to ask personal questions and furiously curse them out. The affair most upsetting to her was with Cathy, a local friend and mother of Liza’s good friend. Metz repeatedly called Cathy names, reported the affair to Cathy’s husband and broke up the daughters’ friendship before concluding that the town was too small for both of them. The irony that the author fails to acknowledge as she describes her efforts to uproot the adulterous secrets was that she and Henry had a largely unhappy and unloving marriage. Toward the end, she admits, they were “barely able to have a peaceful conversation.” She blames the failure of their union on his wandering eye and ceaseless search for perfection. Her claim that she ultimately let go of blaming Henry seems disingenuous, since the legacy she leaves both readers and her daughter is this vapid, mean-spirited record. The book’s final third chronicles her successful online-dating quest for a new mate and subsequent move back to Brooklyn.

Neither revelatory nor magnanimous.