A Perfect Marriage by Alison Booth, Australia, 2018

A Perfect Marriage by Alison Booth, Australia, 2018

A book about domestic violence where the violence itself is not centre-stage. Alternating between Then and Now, A Perfect Marriage lines up a number of unordered images of Sally’s marriage to Jeff and a similar number of images post-Jeff. Central to Sally’s two lives is Sally and Jeff’s daughter, Charlie.

Sally, a biologist based at a university in London, is doing research into certain aspects of genetics. In the Now she is in her late thirties haunted by a traumatic past while concentrating all her energies, emotional and otherwise, on her eighteen-year-old daughter. She has a friend, Zoë; a psychiatrist, Helen; and a possible love interest, Anthony.

Bit by bit all the images come together to give a multifaceted picture of Sally, which sheds light on her fascination for Jeff, her need for perfection and her sense of failure and even guilt. As she works her way through the minefield of emotions, inadequacies and expectations she discovers that perfect is elusive and that it can be open to many interpretations.

This is an important book insomuch as it grapples with the ongoing problems of domestic violence even after the perpetrator has been removed from the scene. The repercussions from violent actions do not necessarily remain in the past but continue to spread out, like ripples on a pond, colouring any human relationship with a sense of insecurity. Is it possible to continue seeing everything as perfect when, in fact, everything has been turned upside-down?

Visit Alison’s website for more information about her books.

The image of Alison Booth is from twitter.com

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