I am a big fan of Stephanie Butland’s beautiful writing and Nobody’s Perfect, her latest novel, definitely did not disappoint. If you have read her first novel, Letters to My Husband, you will quickly spot the connection between the books but don’t worry if you haven’t. Nobody’s Perfect is a completely standalone novel. It’s the story of Kate, who becomes a mother at a very young age and under something of a cloud of scandal. Her daughter, Daisy, has cystic fibrosis but Kate is determined that although this is a very significant part of her life, it should not be the defining thing about Daisy. When Daisy starts school and Kate starts to get close to her teacher, Spencer Swanson, tongues start wagging again.
This is such a moving and compelling read. The love and bond between mother and daughter was beautiful to read about. I learned a lot about living with cystic fibrosis as a result of this book. The author has clearly done her research but it never feels like you are being educated at the expense of the rest of the story. Kate’s daily routines and constant worries about Daisy are a naturally flowing part of the narrative. Daisy is such a sweet child and I loved her innocent way at looking at the world, which was portrayed so well.
Being such a young mother and then learning to cope with a child with a challenging medical condition means that Kate’s life has not gone the way she expected. She had wonderful support from her mother who is never judgemental but does encourage Kate to carefully consider her decisions. Her best friend Melissa is also supportive and encouraging, although more at the end of the phone since she is living what might be a more conventional life for a woman in her twenties. The developing relationship between Kate and Spencer and the issues it raises is sensitively explored.
I adored this book. It comes very close to equalling Lost for Words as my favourite Stephanie Butland book and, trust me, that is high praise! Nobody’s Perfect is a beautiful and moving story about how sometimes doing your best is enough, that you don’t have to be perfect.
My thanks to Eleanor Stammeije at Zaffre Books for sending me a review copy of the book. Nobody’s Perfect is available now in paperback, audiobook and ebook formats. At the time of writing, the Kindle edition is on offer for just 99p but please do check before you buy.
About the book
Does your past define your future?
When her daughter was born with cystic fibrosis, Kate Micklethwaite vowed that Daisy would never be defined by the illness. Kate is determined that her perfect little girl will be known for her love of butterflies and croissants and nothing else. Kate does all she can to be the perfect mother – whatever that means – and yet, somehow, has started seeing herself the way others see her: single parent, source of small-town scandal, drop-out, former mistress. Half a family.
When Daisy starts school, Kate meets her new teacher, the kind and charming Mr Spencer Swanson. Now, with more time on her hands Kate can start thinking about her own future. With her Open University dissertation deadline looming, Kate needs to decide what she wants next. But as she and Spencer get to know each other, Kate notices that people are whispering behind her back once more . . .
About the Author
Stephanie Butland lives near the sea in the North East of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden and loves being close to the sea. She’s thriving after cancer. Researching her novels has turned her into an occasional performance poet and tango dancer.