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In a Perfect World

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,737 ratings  ·  385 reviews
This is the way the world ends...

It was a fairy tale come true when Mark Dorn—handsome pilot, widower, tragic father of three—chose Jiselle to be his wife. The other flight attendants were jealous: She could quit now, leaving behind the million daily irritations of the job. (Since the outbreak of the Phoenix flu, passengers had become even more difficult and nervous, and a
Paperback, 326 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Harper Perennial (first published September 23rd 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cathy Serpico
I felt on the fence at the end of this book. On the one hand, I loved Kasischke's skill for building incremental dread about the outside world and impending apocalypse -- it starts slowly at first with a few floating white balloons and ends with marauding hoards who will kill you for your car and a few drops of gasoline -- and in that regard it felt a bit like The Road to me, and that was good. I enjoyed the initial tension of Jiselle entering her new husband's family and having to cope with how ...more
Paul Pessolano
Let me see if I got this right.

Jiselle is thirty-eight years old and is a flight attendent. Her mother kicked her father out of the house because he was having an affair with Jiselle's teenage friend. Jiselle throughout her life has had several romantic relationships, all of which turned out bad.

Not so good so far!!!!

Jiselle falls in love with an airline pilot, Captain Mark Dorn. The Captain has steel green eyes and the body of Adonis. His marriage to Joy ended when Joy threw heself in front of
I thought this story was incredible. It really kept me interested, and I love the plot within a plot scenario. Although it was careless of Jiselle to marry Captain Dorn in the first place (especially having never met his children until a week before the wedding!), we've all made mistakes and hers is believeable. She does have to face the consequences of her decision, but she forms a strong bond with the children, and she grows tremendously throughout the course of the story. While Jiselle attemp ...more
Carmaletta Hilton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blech. Another book I had to read for work. Starts out so horribly with one of those lame-o romances for which I usually avoid contemporary women's fiction. Whatever-her-name-is main character marries dashing pilot only to find that everything is not what it seems.
So lame up to that point.
But then it gets slighly better - when everyone starts dying from THE FLU! That's right, a book about a pandemic flu during the swine flu. Kasischke would have been better off leaving out the romance and sticki
I really loved this book. Beautifully written, and thought provoking. I read this in one day, and it's the kind of book that I'll be thinking about for awhile, and I wish I knew people who had read it so I had someone to talk to about it. I love that the main character isn't some kind of superhero - she is told a couple of times in different ways by different characters, including a paranoid/survivalist neighbor, her husband, and the National Guard, that she is soft and to "rise to the occasion" ...more
I'm proud to have a blurb on this book. One of my very favorites of the year.
Set sometime in the near future but in a world ravaged by an epidemic of the deadly Phoenix flu, In A Perfect World is a close look at the demands and sacrifices of love.

Thirty-two-year-old Jiselle is ready to be swept off her feet by the dashing Captain Mark Dorn and shrugs off her mother's warnings. It didn't matter to Jiselle that she'd only known Mark for a few months and that she would be inheriting a ready-built family. Captain Dorn is universally regarded as a catch and the other
In many respects, I enjoyed reading this book. Each day I looked forward to "reading time", so that I could pick up the book and see what happened next. Unfortunately, this author quickly takes you directly to the peak of the book, holds you there the entire book and then just ends the book without really wrapping anything up. The ending would have been fine if the author had slowly built the story adding layer upon layer to get to the peak, created a sense of resignation and then ended the book ...more
This is the book Mom brought to Italy. I read it before mine in just over a night (thank you jet-lag). It's set in a similar world to our, or ours in the near future, that gets overcome with an avian flu but is mostly about being a stepmother. Nothing remarkable about it, I don't think I would say I hated it. But the ending was completely worthless. It left key things up in the air which was infuriating as getting resolution to these things was the only reason I kept reading. The author is a poe ...more
Unexpectedly good. I thought I would hate the main character, Jiselle, when I got through the first few chapters, yet something indefinable made me keep reading, and the realization as to what was going on, and the true nature of her, was deliciously slow. It could have been so predictable, and it was amazing how it managed to not be, and to throw off my expectations. My daughter, at 13, also loved this book, oddly enough, because I don't see it as a YA book at all. I guess good writing is good ...more
While some dystopian books take place in an imagined future where things are very different from our own world (like The Hunger Games series), In A Perfect World takes place right in our here and now. There are no fantasy elements to this book at all—everything seems utterly believable and possible, which made it a more effective and scarier book for me.

Our glimpse into a world that encompasses nothing less than a complete breakdown of our society is Jiselle, a flight attendant who has "landed"
Flight attendant Jiselle is tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. When a pilot named Mark Dorn walks into her life that all changes. The two join together, after a whirlwind courtship, and decide to marry. The only obstacles they face are the world being under economic failure due to a plague called Phoenix flu and Mark's daughters who let it be known there is no place for a stepmother in their home or hearts. Jiselle, left alone while her husband travels, does her best to wi ...more
Jan 04, 2010 Stephanie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Utopian, Literary lovers
Recommended to Stephanie by: Bookseller
In A Perfect World is how the world ends in a very quiet, and specific fashion. In Kasischke's book, the world ends due to an onset of the Phoenix Flu and we get to look at it through the eyes of a very naive newly wedded flight attendant and the family that has fallen in her lap due to the marriage.

Honestly, I hated the main character. Here she is, getting married to this guy who seems too good to be true with these god awful children who hate her and her mom who thinks she's an absolute retar
The volta of this novel was for me the initial belief that Jiselle would be a character complacent in her domestic security with her pilot husband, not ambitious for any life or career goal other than maintaining house and home. When the health epidemic occurs and her husband is stranded in Germany, however, this character evolves to a brave, even fearless embodiment of survivalist wisdom (finding the means to feed, support, and understand her stepchildren, one of whom adamantly dislikes her, in ...more
I think when Erica recommends a book to me, I should listen to her. She brought me a copy of this book...more than a year ago, certainly, and I finally got around to reading it. It was interesting and quick. The language is gorgeous -- it's clear the author is a poet -- and I loved how slowly the calamity unfolded. It's believable that citizens wouldn't quite realize what kind of a pickle they were in until it was too late. Interestingly, reading this made me want to read actual historical accou ...more
The Short of It:

This is not a feel-good book. It’s a bit dark, and often times depressing, yet there is beauty between its pages and I found its simplicity oddly comforting.

The Rest of It:

The first third of this book is spent setting up the characters. Jiselle starts off as sort of one-dimensional. She falls in love with Mark Dorn and eventually quits her job to care for his three children. As a pilot, he is rarely home and as an ex-flight attendant, Jiselle is well aware of how such a career wo
This was lent to me by a friend in an emergency "I just finished the book I brought on my trip out here and I need a good airplane read". And a good airplane read it was- riveting, light, devour-able.

I also love a good dystopian novel, particularly one that felt very apropos of our current world economic & environmental & health climate.

At first I wasn't sure if I liked it, because the characters were very flat and I didn't feel the writing revealed anything relatable about any of them.
Cecilia Solis-sublette
I love books about the plague or a plague so I picked this one up at the library. It's pretty darn good, actually. It starts out as your typical romance novel - flight attendant falls in love with handsome widower pilot and quits her job to marry him and raise his "adorable" children. But our pilot friend is not as awesome as he seems to be (are they ever?) and once the fit hits the shan, he disappears leaving this young woman - who has never been married or had kids - alone with three who she h ...more
3.5 stars

This book started slow, but ended well. Basically, the "Phoenix flu" strikes the US and starts killing people left and right. Scientists can't figure out what the cause is, and there is no cure. Since we're currently living through swine flu, it's interesting to compare what the author predicted would happen with what has happened with our own flu.

The main character is an ex-flight attendant who ends up alone with her step-children. The beginning focuses on her relationship with the ki
I read through about 3/4 of this book, thinking it was not really about anything - pages upon pages describing things like what seems like a fairly shallow bunch of people and mundane things like a dishrag folded neatly on the sink, the Queen Anne's lace in a ditch, or a boy riding a bicycle down the middle of a quaint town.... until I was finally hooked into the plot which finally revealed itself. So, I was actually interested at the end. It's a modern day apocalyptic book with a pandemic and g ...more
Note to Self - Stop buying discounted books they only pissed you off.
Any novel that brings up Britney Spears in the first chapter or so I know I need to burn the book (then Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise and any other celebrity). The heroine if you can call her that, Jiselle is weak woman with no back bone and I have trouble reading novels that feature women who are meek and the men that they love who are total a**hole users. I thought Jiselle would grow a pair eventually but that never quite happe
This book had a slow start for me as far as roping me into a rich plot, but the physical descriptions definitely drew me in. I would have liked more character development (or at least more descriptions of each character as they progressed through their respective hardships), but on the whole it was a quick, enjoyable read. It definitely left me hanging at the end, as I didn't feel anything was resolved in any way, but it's entirely possible that's how it was supposed to make me feel.
Jiselle is a flight attendant who marries handsome pilot Mark Dorn, recently widowed. Her life starts out as a fairy tale until the Phoenix flu hits, the gorgeous jerk of a husband leaves, and the evil step daughters make her life miserable! Jiselle's meek character gradually becomes stronger as survival instinct kicks in. This was an OK book until the ending which I felt left nothing resolved. I felt cheated. It is a quick read with a few heart-warming moments surrounding tragedy.
Well, I finished it, so obviously there was something that kept me going during the first half of the book, when I was so irritated by the lack of direction; it's pretty clear all the way through that she didn't have a strong vision guiding her (she basically says as much in the questions at the end of the book).

Ray Bradbury wrote this way, not knowing what was going to happen. It works for some writers. This author says she was never more aware of the advice to use every single thing as a clue
Mostly...this book scared me on a few levels. One: I've always been a little scared of being a step mother--now I'm completely terrified. Two: the kid upstairs has the Swine Flu and everyone in this book is dying of the Phoenix Flu. Made for some troubled sleep and an obsession with hoarding food. Okay, probably not going to be hoarding food but I might begin thinking about keeping cans of soup under my bed and in my closet from now on.
Mish. Mosh. Mess!

This book has a fascinating premise, an interesting set-up, and a rather good cast of primary and secondary characters. The problem is that it simply tries to do so much that it comes across as a confused, jarring muddle. Now, I have to admit, I love jarring books, books that can stop me in my tracks with the literary equivalent of "WTF?" This book, however, was just unwieldy, untidy, and unfulfilling.
It's foolish to believe that little to nothing really happens in this novel, as Kasischke builds us a world of uncertainty and potential danger in the most innocuous way possible.

The sheer concept of framing a deadly virus narrative around a woman who marries a man who's rarely around with three children from a previous marriage seems ill-advised, but she pulls it off so damn well. By leaving the details of this virus vague, we're allowed a chance to imagine it's inception and spreading ourselv
Jill Furedy
The major plot point of this book is a flu epidemic that isolates this new family. But that seemed mostly to be a plot device to tell the story of a woman who rushes into a marriage thinking her dreams will come true. Instead she becomes the evil stepmother and is left raising her instant family alone, when the flu separates her from her husband. I only ever mildly connected to the characters, which makes it hard to care about the conclusion. Which is probably good, since I didn't like the endin ...more
I can't say that I loved this book, but I DID find it interesting. It was definitely frightening to think about what the world would be like if an epidemic caused the country to fall apart--no dependable power, businesses shutting down, dwindling food supplies, no gasoline.
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Finished reading this, but have a question... 2 18 Nov 26, 2011 11:29PM  
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Laura Kasischke (born 1961) is an American fiction writer and American poet with poetry awards and multiple well reviewed works of fiction. Her work has received the Juniper Prize, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Pushcart Prize, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers, and the Beatrice Hawley Award. She is the recipient of two fellowships from th ...more
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