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Perfect Little World

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  6,593 ratings  ·  884 reviews
When Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she's just about out of options. She recently graduated from high school and is pregnant with her art teacher's baby. Her mother is dead and her father is a drunk. The art teacher is too much of a head-case to help raise the child. Izzy knows she can be a good mother but without any money or prospects, she's left searching.

So wh
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Ecco
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3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,593 ratings  ·  884 reviews

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this is the first book i have read by kevin wilson, although i own both of his others. i wasn't immediately wowed by the synopsis, but from its first sentence (the first chapter 1 sentence, after the confusing-at-the-time prologue), i was hooked:

Three hours after she had graduated from high school, Izzy sat on a park bench next to her art teacher, Mr. Jackson, and told him that she was pregnant.

after that opener, i went on a page-folding frenzy: 9, 11, 15, 28, 43, etc, because his writing insta
Diane S ☔
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lor
3.5 In this book, Kevin Wilson tackles another take on the family. Communal parenting, nine couples and one single young girl, Izzy, who has just graduated from high school and finds herself alone and pregnant. Enter Dr. Preston Grind, a man with an unusual upbringing himself, along with a woman raised in an orphanage, now with plenty of money to spend. So am experiment, raising children in an unusual setting, all taking part parenting their own and each others children. Sounds ideal, but famili ...more
da AL
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful premise -- great questions brought up regarding love, bonding, families - interesting characters - but all at the beginning. By the end of the book, I was disappointed. Also, why so much reinforcing of 'older man + very young woman = good'? Audiobook reader Therese Plummer is magnificent.
Book of the Month
By Judge Maris Kreizman

At a time when dystopian novels are all the rage, what a delight to read a novel about striving for perfection, no matter how short the effort may fall. If I could choose one author to write about a flawed yet earnest attempt at utopia, Kevin Wilson would be at the top of my list. Even as he relishes the absurd details in his characters’ lives, he never mocks them, never treats them with anything less than compassion.

Perfect Little World is the s
Joshua Orf-Rodriguez
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
A perfect little premise with a cursory, yet at times enjoyable, execution. I was excited about this book, a crazy experiment where 10 children are raised by 19 adults in a communal-like home. The book's first pages outlines the complicated tree of adults and children. This should have been the first clue that this book would have to embrace brevity over depth, given that it is just over 300 pages.

The book starts out the first 150 pages following "Izzy" and sometimes Doctor Preston Grind who is
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own
I think the problem with this book is that it just isn't weird enough. It needed to get weird. The first third or so is a fine piece of contemporary fiction. I liked the characters, I liked how they interacted with each other and with themselves. I liked the world that was built that was both global (from Dr. Grind's perspective) and restrictively local (from Izzy's perspective). It was great.
And then the actual situation happened. The experiment began. And it really really tried to stay ground
May 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cricket by: Molly Rosen Marriner
This review comes in four parts.

Part One: Pacing

This is the shortest part. The pacing was bad. We're talking: take-half-the-book-to-set-up-the-premise bad. I'm assuming the author wanted to get us good and acquainted with the main character, Izzy, though, and that would be acceptable if it weren't for...

Part Two: Characterization

Who is Isabel Poole? No really; I still want to know. All the book gives me to work with is that she has no motivation to do anything. She's just "strong," as the narrat
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't decide between 3 and 4, but it's Kevin Wilson so based on creativity alone I'll round up. I found the "it takes a village utopian background" of this book intriguing and the complexity of the characters well written, but this novel lacks the audacity of The Family Fang, which is one of my all time favorites.

Once again Wilson is playing with the definition of family and the short and long-term effects of parenting choices, but it never quite grabbed me in the same way as the Fangs. For me
I loved his first novel and I think Kevin Wilson has done it again! This was such a fun and interesting read. This novel explores the meaning of family in a really interesting way by placing a group of people and their children into a communal parenting experiment. I found it fascinating to see how different people reacted to this planned ‘utopia’ and how the entire experiment was set up. I love how imaginative Wilson was in pulling this story together. The characters were really interesting and ...more
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
Not bad, just not great, either. In fact, a little boring. I suspected what was going to happen at the end pretty early on in the book and it was no big shocker. Interesting concept, but no original spin on communal living. I kept waiting for something out of the ordinary to happen, but it didn't.
4.5 stars.

I really, really enjoyed this book. The moment I was done with it, I slammed it shut with absolute satisfaction, leapt up from my chair with a clap, and loudly declared to my husband, "THAT WAS A GOOD BOOK!" So, that's probably a good sign.

Some reviews claim that Izzy is a flat character, but I disagree. What she lacks in warmth, she makes up for in careful consideration, thoughtful evaluation, and complexities for a person who clearly never fit in with her age group, and growing up
Kayla Perry
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
To start off, I rank Kevin Wilson among the top 5 authors I love most and any book from him is a cause for celebration to me; on the other hand, when I take a book on its own merits, I have to say that Perfect Little World is not among my favorites.

It's not that the book is bad, insomuch, it's that the book is too short to accomplish what it sets out to do- which is give depth to the many characters that comprise it so the impact of the story is greater. I like Izzy and Dr. Grind, but I want mo
Aaron Burch
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love Kevin's writing, and was so excited both to hear about this new one, and then to finagle myself an ARC! What a fun read. Reminded me a tad of one of my other fave reads of the last year or two, J Ryan Stradal's Kitchens of the Great Midwest--not really in content, but in feeling a little weirder than at-first-glance seems, and also at interesting looks at character and family (and angles and lenses through with we look at them), and maybe most of all just in enjoyability of the read.

Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect Little World is a gentle and somewhat whimsical novel about the meaning of family. Wilson's skill lies in his ability to interrogate quite intense ideas about the meaning and form of family, human nature, and how we would behave if isolated from society- in a light and engaging way that never feels taxing. Izzy and Preston Grind are both complex and engaging characters, although I was somewhat disappointed that many of the peripheral characters remained so peripheral. An interesting and ...more
andrew y
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I made a mistake by reading this in two discrete time periods - my library reserve came in way faster than I anticipated and was wanted back right away. So this is my fault, since my complaints all center around a feeling of disconnect between two portions of the plot.
So this is actually probably my favorite book of the year?
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: big-girl-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A more complete review is available on my blog:

Perfect Little World was one book that I had trouble putting down from the very first chapter. The writing was superb and the story was incredible. It was the perfect example of how plans for a utopia can quickly spiral out of control. I really enjoyed the different characters. Izzy is very mature for her age but also struggles with the responsibilities that she is now facing being a new, young mom. She finds
"Three hours after she graduated from high school, Izzy sat on a park bench next to her art teacher, Mr. Jackson, and told him that she was pregnant. Despite the awkwardness of the confession, she felt a buzzing excitement that kept pushing against her dread. She had graduated from high school, had hated almost every minute of it; now she was on the other side and free, those four years simply a scar that would add character in the long run. She was wearing the best dress she owned, a thin summe ...more
Leah Bayer
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: idiot-heroine
Sometimes I'll be really enjoying a book, and suddenly come to a part where you can see the seams coming undone. It begins to drift further and further from what I want it to be, until I wind up at a hot mess of an ending. Sadly, that happened with Perfect Little World: a book with a lot of potential that somehow manages to squander every one of its interesting premises.

I'll start with the good, because I really don't want to be massively negative about this. I gave it 3 stars, after all! And th

Izzy Poole, up to the point in which the book began, went through life essentially alone. She did not have friends: Her lover was her teacher and her closest (probably only) friend was an old man she worked with at a BBQ joint.
"Happiness, she believed was small and quiet and you expressed it when no one else was around."

Once you get to know Izzy (it doesn't take long to realize) she is the last person you would expect to willingly go into a situation in which EVERYTHING is communal, even h
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Um, wow.

First off, there are trigger warnings for self harm!!!! (I did not see this in any reviews and wow was it graphic!) and suicide and some borderline abuse.

(This review isn't explicitly spoilery at all, however i am kind of detailed so it might alluded to things so if you're super anti spoiler then don't read but it doesn't ruin anything important really)

Disclaimer: This book tackles a lot of very important issues, just not correctly. I say this so many times in the review, i just don't
Janelle Bailey
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
10: Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson...a very strange reading experience for me, overall, as for the first 100 pages or so I was thinking that I'd need to buy a copy of this book for everyone I know and care about. It presents ideas, initially, that are extremely interesting and close to me, one of them being that too many parents make things too comfortable, too easy, for kids and thus don't convey a realistic view of the world where they will be told no, and not everything will be simple o ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I had not read anything along this line before so my sister and I picked this as a Book Of The Month selection. Young parents living a communal existance and raising their children as one big family. All this being funded by an elderly billionare as an experiment so the families also live with professionals who observe and record their lives. The kids don't know who their biological parents are for the first few years of their lives. One of the book's outcomes I saw coming pretty early on but it ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, americana
A solid 3.5 stars for this one. Kevin Wilson is a young author, and he's got some chops. This was an interesting idea for a book, and was executed reasonably well enough: an enigmatic billionaire tries to fund a fully immersive group-living experiment where nine couples and a single mother raise their children together, hopefully to beneficial effect, guided and monitored by a wunderkind doctor.

The doctor, the single mom, and her son are the only two distinguishable characters in the text, with
Jaclyn Crupi
I liked this more than I thought I would. Wilson is obviously interested in eccentric childhoods and their effects in a Wes Anderson way. This book unfolds over ten years in a utopian collective where children are raised collectively. I wish he had allowed the situation to get as completely batshit crazy as something this weird could get - I think he held back on this one (unlike in his previous novel The Family Fang). It's a solid read though.
Aj Sterkel
Nov 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Judging by the synopsis, this is a very “me” book. Utopian compounds, nontraditional families, strange experiments, eccentric billionaires. It sounds like this should be my favorite book ever.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like it. I think this is an example of a brilliant premise that’s executed poorly.

It didn’t start off bad. I actually flew through the first third of the book because the dysfunctional relationships intrigued me. The story hooked me right at the start:

“Three hours after she had gradu
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full review at:

Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson is not a perfect book, but it’s a really interesting one. It’s about a 19 year-old woman named Izzy who gets pregnant on the eve of her high school graduation. The father is her art teacher, and when she tells him she is pregnant and wants to keep the baby, he has a breakdown and tells her he doesn’t want her to keep it. The teacher’s rich parents, who learn of the pregnancy and want to get Izzy out of t
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story! Loved it!
First off, there was something that I loved about Wilson’s writing. I have no idea how to put my finger on exactly what it was that I liked but as someone who has some serious attention issues (weird for someone who reads like crazy, I know), this guy was able to keep my attention engaged the whole way through.

It follows Izzy Poole, a pregnant high school grad, who decides to join “The Infinite Family Project” – a 10-year experiment based on a psychologist’s utopian ideal i
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literatuur
Deze roman gaat over een interessant wetenschappelijk experiment omtrent het opvoeden van kinderen. Tien kinderen worden door 19 negentien ouders opgevoed in een grote familie - de kinderen weten de eerste vijf jaar zelfs niet wie hun biologische ouders zijn. De schrijfstijl leest vlot en ik vond het verhaal verslavend: ik wilde graag weten hoe het utopische project verder ging en de kleine barstjes die ontstonden maakten me steeds nieuwsgieriger. Tegelijkertijd wist het boek me ook te ontroeren ...more
Melissa LaSalle
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
A small notch above dribble. I had high hopes because I really enjoyed The Family Fang and I was captivated by the premise of communal parenting in his new novel. The writing and character development in FF was SO much better and, while this new premise was intriguing (and I stayed with it until the end, wanting to see how it would pan out), Wilson resisted answering (or even asking) some of the more complicated moral and ethical questions which would naturally derive from such a "social experi ...more
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Kevin Wilson was born, raised, and still lives in Tennessee. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, Greensboro Review, The Oxford American, Carolina Quarterly and elsewhere. His work has twice been included in the New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best anthology (2005, 2006). He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts. A graduat ...more
“It amazed Izzy the way the children rushed through so many complicated emotions without space between each one. Everything rose so quickly to the surface and then subsided, like firecrackers, and what had originally been so jarring to her, their unguarded emotion, now filled her with great comfort, that anything, no matter what it was, would eventually give way to something else.” 1 likes
“If I can’t find something on this plate to eat, that’s my fault,” she replied.” 0 likes
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