When it comes to oddball families, no author puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional” quite like Kevin Wilson. Having previously explored the indelible influences of nature and nurture in his cheeky debut, The Family Fang, Wilson wades deeper into the complexities of child-rearing and family life in Perfect Little World.
Pregnant by her emotionally unstable high school art teacher, Izzy Poole finds herself facing single motherhood at the ripe old age of 18. So when Izzy meets Dr. Preston Grind, a child psychologist who tells her a study he’s launching will cover all of Izzy and her child’s needs as well as provide them with a built-in family, it seems like a dream come true. The only catch? Izzy must cohabitate with nine other families for 10 years and agree to co-parent and love their children as though they were her own. Reasoning that if two parents are better than one, 20 must be even more of an advantage, Izzy agrees.
In light and lively prose that practically tap dances on the page, Wilson shrewdly probes the intricate tensions and machinations that lie at the core of this eccentric family unit. Throughout the narrative, there is the ever-increasing sense that all families—like all systems—are ultimately trending towards chaos, yet Wilson’s story is infused with a tenderhearted hopefulness. For fans of whimsical family dramas and character-driven novels, Perfect Little World is a provocative and uplifting read.