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Soon the Light Will Be Perfect

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  373 ratings  ·  102 reviews
We the Animals meets Hillbilly Elegy in this taut portrait of poverty, Catholicism, and a family in crisis in rural Vermont.

A 12-year-old altar boy lives with his family in a small, poverty stricken town in Vermont. His father works at a manufacturing plant, his mother is a homemaker, and his fifteen-year-old brother is about to enter high school. His family has gained
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Hanover Square Press
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Sarrah This book features a 12 year-old protagonist but it is definitely targeted to an adult audience not middle reader or young adult. In my opinion there…moreThis book features a 12 year-old protagonist but it is definitely targeted to an adult audience not middle reader or young adult. In my opinion there is too much adult content for a younger reader. Older teens could handle it, however. (less)

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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  373 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Angela M
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it

Its difficult enough for adults to confront the tough blows that life doles out, and can prove to be more of a struggle for a twelve year old boy. Trying to make sense of his mothers cancer, the precarious financial situation of their family, while on the edge of the road to coming of age, the boy in this story will touch you. This unnamed boy grappling with these things, as well as a connection with a troubled young girl is set against the strict devotion of his parents to the Catholic
Larry H
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, rounded up.

Dave Patterson's Soon the Light Will Be Perfect is spare, beautiful, and haunting. It's one of those books that feels a little like a ticking time bomb, because while everything that happens seems relatively benign, there's an underlying sense of tension that makes you wonder when, or if, everything is going to explode. But that doesn't detract at all from its appeal.

A 12-year-old boy and his family live in rural Vermont at the start of the Gulf War.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up
Theres so much going on in this story but to me its basically a coming of age story of a twelve year old boy and his older brother who are having a bit of troubles in their family. Mom has cancer and is having problems with her treatments, theres a possibility of Dad losing his job just when they recently were able to move into a home after living in a trailer park. The situation leads to the boys mostly fending for themselves.
I was moved by this story, both beautiful and dark at
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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I really wish the blurb on the back didn't compare this book to Brynn Greenwood because I almost didn't pick up SOON THE LIGHT WILL BE PERFECT because of that comparison, because of how much I disliked ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS. So if you saw that comparison and hesitated, fear not: the only thing this has in common with that book is bad things happening to young people and poverty.

There are a lot of books coming out dealing with
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

A tightly woven coming-of-age story of a twelve-year-old boy and his family living in a small, economically deprived town in Vermont, as the country is on the verge of the Gulf War, and the family is on the verge of their own trauma.

The family consists of two boys, the one that is twelve, and his fifteen year-old brother, a father who works at a manufacturing plant, and a mother who is a homemaker, active in their church, the mother is also involved in some charitable organizations.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a coming of age story about a 12 year old boy who is struggling to deal with his mother's cancer, the family's financial instability and his faith. I read this in almost one sitting and the whole time I kept rooting for this family who have had more than their fair share of problems. I did find it odd that the four main characters didn't have names and I'm not sure if there was supposed to be a reason for that and I didn't get it. I thought this was a good book even though the ending ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was absolutely awed by the beauty of this cover. Something just called to me when looking at this cover.

Soon the Light Will Be Perfect is a hauntingly beautiful and complex story.

A 12 year old and his family are living in Vermont at the start of the Gulf War. Things seem to finally be stable for this family and can finally move out of their trailer with the money that they have.

There is a lot going on in this story... I can tell you that much. A traumatic event hits this family when the
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
In compliance with FTC guidelines: I received a complimentary copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. The content of this review is not influenced by that fact. The feelings expressed are solely mine. I sincerely appreciate the chance to read and review this book.

I'm giving this a solid 4 stars

The first chapter of this coming of age story was very strong and grabbed my attention. I wasn't too sure what I had gotten myself into when the one of the first words
Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Sometimes a synopsis just grabs your attention and refuses to let go. For me, Soon the Light Will Be Perfect is one such book. A coming-of-age story set in rural Vermont, it had a universality that it could have been set in Anytown, America.

Patterson has pulled one life-changing year out of our young protagonists life. In this year we experience the highs and lows of growing up in this time and place. I could recognize some of his trials and tribulations, some from my own life, some from others
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Linda by: Booktopia author 2019
I received e-ARCs of this book from both Edelweiss and Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The book starts with two cats, one from each brother in a Catholic family who soon prove that they, the cats are Catholic and procreate until the house reeks of cat urine. Soon the cats take such a back seat that only occasional references to the reemergence of the smell is noted.
The boys, the narrator aged 12 and his slightly older brother, are wrestling in mind and body with being teenagers and
Lolly K Dandeneau
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
'Ive often prayed for our misery to be transferred to someone else- anyone else.'

A young man comes of age in rural Vermont alongside his older brother, just a sliver away from the trailer park and poverty they used to live among before moving into a house. The two contend with more than their hormones. Their Catholicism is little help in facing the harsh reality of a mother whose illness turns out to be cancer. The shame and confusion of raging
ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
This book is well written. The troubles that eventually surface could be considered a little on the dramatic side, yet they have grown so organically from the characters, that they don't seem at all contrived or forced. It is a rare thing these days for an author to manage to move the plot along without resorting to out of character or illogical actions of the characters. A gripping novel from word one until long after the novel has ended. A realistic novel that is both heartbreaking and ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2019; Hanover Square Press/HarperCollins Canada

As I listened to this novel, I had to remind myself that the protagonist was just 12 years old. This unnamed 12 year old boy is from a practicing Catholic family, where his father travels for work, his mother has cancer, and his brother is attending high school and slowly pulling away from him. We witness him trying to grapple all of this on his own as he watches a war take place through imaged on television.

We, as readers, get a raw
Debi Hawkes
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Set over the course of one propulsive summer, Soon the Light Will be Perfect chronicles the journey of a young man on the cusp of adulthood, a town battered by poverty, and a family at a breaking point. In spare, fiercely honest prose, Dave Patterson captures what it feels like to be gloriously, violently alive at a moment of political, social, and familial instability."

All the afore mentioned themes are nicely expressed in the honestly represented voices of 12 and 14 year old boys.

There were
Beth Weisberger
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I give this a 3.5, but rounding up for a first time Maine author! Very exciting. I binge read it in one day (almost)! It is a short read, but dont let that fool you. Its a heavy story filled with joy, shame, confusion, sadness. A look at poverty in rural America (thats not as dysfunctional as most stories in a similar setting).

Patterson really made the kids come alive.

I probably could have appreciated it more if I grew up Catholic? Going to pass it on to my mother..... :)
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
I loved it, it moves fast, and I read like the wind. Almost one sitting. It's hard to stop turning the pages. I heard the author speak earlier this month and he was so engaging, I knew I had to read the book right away. A tough year for a 12-year-old boy in small-town Vermont. The story is at times amusing, at times tense and visceral. I often found myself holding my breath. A good read.

Maybe an unfortunate title, though. I will never remember it. Too many novel titles have Light in them. The
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

Two brothers brave a whirlwind summer in this taut and luminous coming-of-age novel

A twelve-year-old boy lives with his family in a small, poverty-stricken town in Vermont. His father works at a manufacturing plant, his mother is a homemaker, and his fifteen-year-old brother is about to
Jillian Worster
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspired partly by real events, Patterson's superb writing weaves together a story of hope, authenticity, and resilience.

As a former student of Mr. Patterson, I have longed to read his novel. His debut SOON THE LIGHT WILL BE PERFECT does not disappoint. Over the years as his student, I learned about his childhood even the occasional tales of mischief about him and his brothers. His experiences added a layer of realness to the story. It was as if these characters lived down the road.

Travis Fortney
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
The first line of this--a profanity about cats--was great. This was followed by a great first chapter about a conservative Catholic family whose concerns--trying to rise from poverty while the father struggles to keep his job and the mother struggles with cancer--take a backburner to the much more pressing issue of their house being overrun by rapidly breeding cats. Unfortunately, the rest of the book--up until the last page or two, which is also great--is cliches piled on cliches. Cancer, car ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2019
"Soon the Light Will Be Perfect" is the coming of age story of an unnamed 12-year-old boy and his family living in a small working class Catholic community in Vermont in the early 90's. The family includes the narrator, his 15-year-old brother, and his father and mother, who have recently moved out of a trailer park and into a modest home that they are proud of. The father, who works at a weapon manufacturing plant, has a good job with ramped up production due to the U.S.'s involvement in the ...more
Colline Vinay Kook-Chun
The novel is a coming-of-age story set in the 60s and the family described is barely getting by financially. As I was reading the story, I could imagine the setting easily as I thought back to the films I had seen on television when I was a teenager. Even though I had not grown up in Vermont during that time period, it did feel familiar to me.

The story focuses on a young boy whose mother is diagnosed with cancer. He sees his mother growing weaker and not giving up on her tasks and
Patrick Barry
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: booktopia
This was a story about two boys in the throes of growing up. They are facing it largely alone. The mother is very sick with cancer, the father's job is at risk, and the spiritual guide of the family, Father Brian is leaving the church. There is a strong chance that the family will disintegrate. Symbolism seems to abound in the book: cats, cigarettes, polyurethane and an going war raging in the background.. They all evaded me. More than anything the book demonstrate how quickly lives can fall ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I recently saw Dave Patterson speak about his debut novel at a book event. He acknowledged that the coming of age story of his nameless protagonist is partially autobiographical, which makes the sad experiences he describes that much more heartbreaking. His writing is honest and raw, yet beautiful and he perfectly captures the 12-year old's struggles to understand the cascade of adult issues that befall him during one long summer.
Katie Shockey
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway and sped through it. The story is very interesting but the ending seemed kind of abrupt for me.
A meditative novel with lovely prose. The plot does not exist in a typical sense but instead has the feeing of someone reflecting on their life and trying to make order where there is only chaos, a thing all humans attempt.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Sedlack
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Patterson has written a beautiful debut novel that is both vivid and poignant.
Amelia Jacobson
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I honestly dont know why I think of this novel. I liked it, I know that much, but it wasnt my favorite. I dont agree with the ideals of this Christian family anti-abortion and all that jazz. In fact, that infuriated me. But I appreciated how the main character didnt know what he thought of the beliefs of their church.
My FAVORITE part about this novel was the usage of juxtapositions. Really well done. Ill definitely be pondering this story for a while.
Donna Hines
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Two siblings raising themselves in the midst of a family crisis with no idea just how drastic things may become.
Their future is uncertain not to mention the goal is to move out of the trailer park entering into a good school but sadly the school doesn't welcome trailer park kids as this is rural Vermont during the Gulf War. As their mother falls ill the family turns to the church in hopes of salvation but the anti abortion rallies are becoming increasingly violent.
Their father attempts to keep
Jodi Paloni
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Soon the Light Will Be Perfect tells the story of a struggling family through the eyes the youngest son, an unnamed twelve-year-old boy, over the course of a hot summer in a working class neighborhood in a rural town in Vermont. If you appreciate truth-telling in fiction, you'll appreciate this unflinching look at poverty, illness, and despair. I read this book in two evenings, riveted by the dogged plight of the narrator. I felt compassion for all of the characters, and especially the mother, ...more
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Dave Patterson holds an MA from the Bread Loaf School of English and an MFA from the University of Southern Maines Stonecoast program. His short fiction has appeared in Slice Magazine, The Onion River Review, Hot Metal Bridge, The Drunken Odyssey, Storyacious, Clare Literary Journal, The Apple Valley Review, and Blinders Literary Journal among other literary magazines. He is currently at work on ...more

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