Friday, February 1, 2008

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Ten-year-old Zoe’s dad rarely leaves the house. Instead he attends Living Room University, earning an endless stream of mail order diplomas in subjects such as "Roger, Wilco, Over and Cash! Learn to Fly Like the Pros," and "Scuba –Dooba-Do." Her mother is the busy and efficient, Michigan State Controller.

And Zoe? Well, Zoe dreams of playing a grand piano at Carnegie Hall. The problem? Zoe’s Dad, a huge fan of UPS home delivery, has instead purchased her the Perfectone D-60, an oversized organ complete with rhythm section, rumba beat, free lessons and more! Instead of evoking the fabulous Vladimir Horowitz, she’s practicing TV Land theme songs for the brusque, Miss Person, who is fond of colorful pianistic phrases, "Mozart's postman!"

Worse yet, her best friend has deserted her, she’s scheduled to compete in the Perfectone Perform-O-Rama, and school bad boy, Wheeler Digs has taken to hanging out with her dad baking cream puffs! On the bright side, Wheeler Diggs announces that Colton Shell is smitten with her. "'Garbage pickup is a clear indicator of smittenhood,’ says Dad." Zoe thinks "... it might actually be kind of good to have somebody smittening me."

Life doesn't always work out as planned, but somehow it works. Perhaps Dad can find his way to the Perform-O-Rama. Perhaps Colton Shell is not the prize he appears. Perhaps there is more to Mom than meets the eye. Perhaps there are some redeeming features in Miss Person and the Perfectone D-60.

Perhaps in a crooked kind of way, Zoe Elias’ life is perfect.

Linda Urban’s first novel, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, is funny and touching, offering the possibility that what we have may be just what we need.

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