Perfectly Imperfect: A Life in Progress
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Perfectly Imperfect: A Life in Progress

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  347 ratings  ·  80 reviews
You can tell a woman’s whole life story from the possessions in her jewelry box. Like reading a palm, you can trace the points where her life has intersected with memorable events, people, places, and loves. You can speculate on the essence of her personality, all from what she has accumulated in that box.”—from Perfectly Imperfect

In her acclaimed first book, In an Instan...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by Random House (first published January 1st 2009)
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Non-Fiction -- Best of 2009
7th out of 27 books — 11 voters
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Community Reviews

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Abby Maslin
I LOVE this honest collection of essays by my personal hero, Lee Woodruff. She touches on topics ranging from humorous, painful, silly, and joyful. Friends with kids will especially enjoy some of her anecdotes from motherhood. Those who have been in the position of caregiver or devoted spouse will find much to resonate with in Lee's words.
Lori
A good book. I loved the title because it made me think of myself. She puts life into perspective; making one remember the important things.
Laura
I went to a women's conference a couple months ago. I was invited by a lady who is a finance aficionado/ expert; an entrepreneur of the sorts and runs MAKERS for PBS. Anyway, I attended this conference and had to leave before Lee Woodruff got to speak. I was inspired by the speakers before her and left with a different attitude then I came in with. I did receive a signed copy of this book a couple week after the conference from my friend. Since she knew the questions I wanted to ask Mrs. Woodruf...more
Carol
This was a refreshing book of essays about life as a daughter, wife, and mom - beautifully written with humor, intelligence, sensitivity, and love.

Lee Woodruff has faced obstacles that most of us have not had to endure, which she wrote about in a previous book; but the collection of events she writes about in this book are some that are common to many parents while raising a family. I found it to be a delightful read and could relate to many of the same circumstances: a trip to an amusement par...more
Joyce
Library copy.
I have a love-hate relationship with the author :) Certain things about her I absolutely love and some I don't. I would call her 'irreverent', and that I do not like.

Some chapters (it's all about her, and how she deals with life. She is the butt of her constant underlying thread of sarcastic humor, which is the other thing I don't like. I did just watch the video on her GoodReads page, of her reading an excerpt from this book. She is softer in person than on the written page.

But I l...more
Donna
As I read this, I began to wish I had read the memoir she co-wrote with husband and ABC correspondent Bob Woodruff to see what, if anything was missing in that volume, because there seems to be an awful lot of that "story" in the chapters of this one. Perhaps she wanted a chance to shine solo, but if that was the case, why write about that part of things anyway? (when husband Bob was severely wounded by a bomb while reporting overseas.) Perhaps also, she was writing this as a platform to spout o...more
Marisa
This collection of short personal essays is engaging at times, irritatingly long-winded at others. Woodruff's tales of dealing with the woes of parenting teenagers are quite funny, and some of her commentary on life's struggles (her husband's injury, finding out that a child is deaf) is very poignant, honest, and too the point. The trouble is, Woodruff is not actually that good of a writer, or at least, this format isn't the one for her. It sort of felt like reading a bunch of college admissions...more
Meg
i guess i kinda' got stuck on lee woodruff lately and no one better really:) this is a book made up of sections each of which is preceded by a telling photo. each section has to do w/something in her life and how it has affected her and how she deals/dealt w/it. the sections all put together show that her life is very imperfect yet she has managed it and has enjoyed it and has loved and been loved. she is kind to everyone in her life w/her descriptions, but not sappy or false in them.
i like the...more
Jo
A collection of essays written about being a mother, a wife, and a woman... Life rarely goes the way one plans, and Lee does a great job of sharing her journey, and the lessons she has learned along the way. I laughed out loud, I was moved to tears... and I smiled a lot.
Melissa
I was at the library, so I decided to check out the "New Books" section. The title of this book grabbed me, so I picked it up. I remember the story of Bob Woodruff getting injured in Iraq, and I thought that it would be interesting to read about his wife dealing with that. Well, after 200 pages, I realized that Lee and Bob had ALREADY written a book about that. Whoops. So this book was really about being a mom. Totally my fault for having the wrong perception, but even so, I wasn't crazy about h...more
Adele Stratton
(Unabridged audioversion, read by the author). Lee came to national attention a few years ago when she and her husband, Bob Woodruff, a television newsman critically injured in the early days of the Iraq war, wrote a book about their experience (including his near- miraculous recovery). This is the story of her life to now—as woman, wife, mother—both before and after her husband’s injury, how she’s come to tally all her life experience thus far. While this was neither a groundbreaking nor riveti...more
Stacey
A cute read. Lee Woodruff tells life stories with humor. A fast read and she does address her child's hearing loss and her feelings about that. She was a keynote speaker at an AG Bell convention I attended.
Nancy
After attending an author event at my local library with Lee Woodruff I was eager to read her books. This collection of essays was insightful, entertaining and thought provoking. Woodruff covers topics from her sagging knees to her daughter's hearing issues, her teen son's driving license to the strength of friendships, her father's aging to her husband's brain damage. While the particulars are unique to Woodruff I believe most women can relate to some of the themes, thoughts and conclusions. Sh...more
Heather Hunter
If you're looking for a light-hearted read filled with essays of love, commitment, death, grief, anger and exhilaration all tied up with a deep-rooted sense of humor, you'll dig this quick yet very personal encounter with Lee Woodruff.

I had the privilege of attending a luncheon where she spoke and her off-the-cuff, honest approach won me over. The book did not disappoint as every story is relevant to your life in some way. A truly enjoyable and personal account of life and what that means--the g...more
Monica
Short chapters that evoke strong feelings. Great to listen to on 20 minute walks.
Candy
Enjoyed Lee Woodruff's "MOMoir" of life with her family told here in essays modern moms can easily recognize. Told with humor and heart, the snapshots of “momhood” are tender, funny and poignant. Yes, her anchorman husband, Bob, suffered a terrible injury covering the Iraqi war which she touches on, but the book is not limited to that difficult journey. It's otherwise filled with lessons about being caregiver, mother, wife, healer, friend, motivator and grateful recipient of love, goodwill and p...more
Laura Heintschel
These were amusing and sometimes serious essays about family life from a Mom's perspective. In an essay about a close friend's husband's death: "But if I couldn't have them, if Bob were to have died in that hospital...I knew that I would have my children, my family, and the power of friendship...They would all help to pull me back out into the light, eventually. And that was a mighty powerful feeling. It was much more than a consolation prize." I know that feeling and she said it so well.
Michel
I took this on vacation for a light read. The first part of the book was an entertaining, witty description of famiy life, and I could relate to the author. The book got more interesting as it went along - Lee Woodruff has been dealt some bad cards and handled them as best she could. Particularly insightful was one of the last chapters talking about what REALLY helps a friend going through difficult times without intruding on her family's space. It fit the bill perfectly for me.
Catherine
Woodruff reflects on her life as a wife, mother, daughter, caregiver. In a nutshell, it's a perfectly innocuous book of essays. Woodruff does a lot of magazine writing and it's obvious. The essays are probably more appropriate as a series for a women's magazine. Although I've been through some similar life experiences to hers, I never really felt a connection. I do believe other readers, moms in particular, may possibly find more stories that they identify with.
Rebekah
I probably would have enjoyed this book more if I was better able to relate to Woodruff's place in life. However, being young and without children, it was just pointless to me. Some of the stories were interesting and/or funny, but not enough that I would want to read it again or recommend it to anyone. I guess I expect a spectacular story if I'm going to read a biography; it seems odd to me to read a story about a person living a typical life.
Ellin
I stumbled across this in the new books section of the library yesterday. I was thinking it was about Bob Woodruff's accident in Iraq and subsequent recovery. I was half way through the book, still wondering when she was going to write about getting the phone call, when it dawned on me that this was a different book. DOH!!! This book consisted of assorted stories about her and her family. It wasn't bad; just not what I was expecting.
Heather
this is one of THE BEST books! loved all the essays and all the advice she gives and stories she tells! if you are a woman i highly recommend this book. woodruff's fun, witty and hilarious style of writing is addictive. there are also parts that are quite raw and poingnant that will truly touch your heart. i am not a person that likes to re-read books AT ALL but this one i definately will read through again and again.
Carly
Lee was a good friend of Molly's when I lived in Richmond and I knew them a bit. It was a treat to read her essays, and it brought back many memories for me of life in Richmond, as well as learning about her life, philosophy, and experiences. Her husband Bob is the news anchor who was bombed in Iraq a few years ago and this is a collection of essays that followed up their book about that experience, In An Instant.
Susie
I lit up when I stumbled on Lee's new book in a cute Truckee bookshop. The book did not disappoint but only cemented an admiration for the author. Self depracatingly humorous & sensitively inspiring. Special family that truly sees themselves as regular folks. One in particular that choked me up was when she & her daughter danced a joyful post concert parking lot dance. You have to read it to understand.
Marjanne
This was a good memoir to read. The author discusses a variety of events in her life with a lot of candor and honesty. It was easy and quick to read, as well as interesting. I felt like I could relate to the author and some of her experiences. I also thought she gave some good advice in the last chapter. I don't know if I would read it again, but I do think I would recommend it to others.
Pat
Woodruff is the author of In an Instant and the wife of journalist Bob Woodruff.

This breezy attempt at relating episodes of her life leaves this reader wishing for more sincerity and less comic efforts as Woodruff does provide in the chapter about one of her daughters. Most of the other chapters read like auditions for SNL with irreverence and exaggerations that get old fast.
Twila
Such a wonderful writer! Lee's book was a breathe of fresh air. Her essay on jewelry made me cry. Descriptions of her life with Bob Woodruff are real and aren't padded by fluff. They have a relationship that they work at and have had to overcome the impossible with his accident. I so hope that Lee writes another book like this. I will be first in line to buy it.
Jennifer
Lee Woodruff writes with great description and humor. I just didn't get drawn in, seemed to be a bit of a "pitty party for me" book. Life stinks seemed to be the theme - child with hearing impairment, relationship changes with kids, I parent my parents, husband has traumatic injury, and body changes.
Cynthia
I like the way Lee writes. She is very funny and a lot of her family stories made me laugh and I could often relate to what she had experienced especially as I get older. It was a much more uplifting read after "In An Instant" that dealt with the traumatic brain injury of her husband.
Annmarie
Really great non-fiction book. I picked it up thinking it would be humorous, which a lot of it was. It also talks about her experiences taking care of her father with alzheimers, her husband with a brain injury, and other serious matters. It is very well written and interesting.
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In addition to Those We Love Most (Sept 2012) Lee Woodruff is co-author of New York Times bestselling In an Instant & author of a series of essays Perfectly Imperfect. She is correspondent for CBS This Morning and has written numerous articles for Ladies Home Journal, Redbook & Parade. She & her husband co founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation which assists wounded veterans & their f...more
More about Lee Woodruff...
In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing Those We Love Most Living Life as a Thank You: The Transformative Power of Daily Gratitude Mindstorms: The Complete Guide for Families Living with Traumatic Brain Injury Live and Let Love: Notes from Extraordinary Women on the Layers, the Laughter, and the Litter of Love

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“Maybe there weren't fairytales, or dreams didn't often really come true, but this moment felt very close. As close as it gets to perfect in an imperfect world.” 3 likes
“In those long-ago days I saw a daughter with a disability. Now I see a beautiful, engaging person with a different ability, one that has blessed her with extra gifts and special perceptions.” 2 likes
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