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Perfect Little World: A Novel (Paperback)
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Wilson takes his quirky world-view into new territory in his third book, featuring two deeply engaging characters – teenager Izzy Poole, smart, pregnant, and alone but by no means without resources, and the iconoclastic Preston Grind, brilliant, ambitious, and recovering from a devastating personal tragedy. Izzy and her baby join “The Infinite Family,” Dr. Grind’s grand experiment with communal parenting as a means of raising super-intelligent, ethical, and compassionate children. Things don’t go exactly as planned, but it’s a heck of a ride; Izzy is a treasure, and the issues raised here-related to family, marriage, child development, and human subject research- will keep you thinking for a while!— From Karen
February 2017 Indie Next List
“Izzy Poole is 18, pregnant with her erratic art teacher's baby, and without any family or money to help her raise her child. Dr. Preston Grind is tragically widowered and estranged from his parents, who raised him using unconventional and unhealthy methods in the name of science. Dr. Grind invites Izzy and nine other couples also expecting their first child to join the Infinite Family Project, an experiment in communal parenting and an attempt to rebuild Dr. Grind's broken family. This is a fascinating and touching exploration of what makes or breaks a family.”
— Marisa Langlois (E), Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT
“Wilson’s ambition alone is exciting. . . . [His] writing has a Houdini-like perfection, wherein no matter how grim the variables, each lovely sentence manages to escape with all its parts intact.” —Boston Globe
When Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she’s fresh out of high school, pregnant with her art teacher's baby, and totally on her own. Izzy knows she can be a good mother but without any money or relatives to help, she’s left searching.
Dr. Grind, an awkwardly charming child psychologist, has spent his life studying family, even after tragedy struck his own. Now, with the help of an eccentric billionaire, he has the chance to create a “perfect little world”—to study what would happen when ten children are raised collectively, without knowing who their biological parents are. He calls it The Infinite Family Project and he wants Izzy and her son to join.
This attempt at a utopian ideal starts off promising, but soon the gentle equilibrium among the families disintegrates: unspoken resentments between the couples begin to fester; the project's funding becomes tenuous; and Izzy’s growing feelings for Dr. Grind make her question her participation in this strange experiment in the first place.
Written with the same compassion and charm that won over legions of readers with The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson shows us with grace and humor that the best families are the ones we make for ourselves.
About the Author
Kevin Wilson is the author of the novels The Family Fang, a New York Times bestseller and a best book of the year in Time, People, Salon, and Esquire; and Perfect Little World. His story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, received an Alex Award from the American Library Association as well as the Shirley Jackson Award. He teaches fiction at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
“A good story, and even better storytelling.”
— John Irving, The New York Times Book Review
“Wild. . . . [A] provocative read.”
“Charming. . . . Wilson pulls off his sweet-and-tart tone. . . . The novel delights in the project’s Willy Wonkaesque sense of antic chaos.”
— Washington Post
“Delicious. . . . Wilson is such an inventive and witty writer. . . . [His] ‘perfect little world’ of a novel pretty much lives up to its title.”
“Persistently compassionate. . . . Wilson’s best moments are funny and earnest. . . . [His] crisp language and smart plotting make Perfect Little World immensely likable and absolutely enjoyable.”
“Quirky. . . . Wilson’s Perfect Little World finds its bliss in the vast disconnect between people’s best intentions and where they land.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“The sheer energy of imagination in Wilson’s work makes other writers of realistic fiction look lazy. . . . The novel’s grand finale . . . reminds us that not everything unpredictable is painful or bad, and that conventional arrangements have no monopoly on the profound connections that make family.”
“Family is far more than a biological bond; that’s not a groundbreaking idea. But Wilson has found a lovely new way of telling readers something they know by heart.”
— Houston Chronicle
“The compensation is a greater richness in the characters, and a refreshingly un-ironic attitude toward love
— Knoxville News-Sentinel
“Wilson does an incredible job of telling a compelling story while addressing important social issues. . . . Thought-provoking.
— Deep South Magazine
“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. . . . A provocative and uplifting read.”
“Stellar. . . . Compelling. . . . Realer and wiser and sadder and eventually reassuring about human nature than dozens of other novels.”
— Booklist, Starred Review
“Bittersweet. . . . Wilson delves into the drama and tensions inherent in this strange aquarium. . . . A moving and sincere reflection on what it truly means to be a family
— Kirkus, Starred Review
“Sweet and thoroughly satisfying. . . . Wilson grounds his premise in credible human motivations and behavior, resulting in a memorable cast of characters.”
— Publishers Weekly
“[A] moving novel about love, parenting, and the families we create for ourselves.”
— Library Journal