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Finding love in The Perfect Age

Terri Schlichenmeyer

Do you remember your first love? Do you remember your first kiss, not exactly knowing what to do with your nose, not sure if you should close your eyes or pooch your lips out more? If you are one of the fortunate few, the first person you ever kissed is still sitting across the table from you. First love, new love, and betrayal are the subjects of “The Perfect Age” by Heather Skyler (c.2004, Norton).In the summer of her fifteenth year, Helen Larkin is working as a lifeguard at the Dunes Casino in Las Vegas, watching tourists swim in the pools. Helen is under careful supervision by her boss, Gerard, an odd man, perhaps her parents’ age and overly friendly, always quick with an offer of suntan lotion, which makes her uncomfortable. Besides, Helen has a boyfriend, Leo.Helen’s father, Edward, worships his wife, Kathy, and though he strayed once, he always thought their marriage was good. Kathy, on the other hand, wonders what she ever saw in Edward; he’s boring and predictable and while she’s never considered infidelity, she’s surprised by her attraction to Gerard, who is really not her “type”. And so it happens, in the summer of her fifteenth year, Helen Larkin is working as a lifeguard at the Dunes Casino and her mother is sleeping with her boss.In the summer of her sixteenth year, Helen Larkin is working as a lifeguard at the Dunes Casino in Las Vegas, but life is changing too fast. Though Helen isn’t sure she loves him, Leo has asked her to marry him, even though he’ll be going to college in the fall. Kathy is falling for Gerard more every day and Edward keeps falling for Kathy’s lies about where she’s been. Everything seems wrong these days, so in the summer of her sixteenth year, Helen tries to elope with Leo.In the summer of her seventeenth year, Helen Larkin is working as a lifeguard at the Dunes Casino in Las Vegas. Helen has graduated, and will be going away to college soon. Separately, Leo and Helen think they should break up, but neither has the courage to do it. Edward knows of Kathy’s infidelity, but he’s afraid of losing her if he confronts her. Kathy, however, has realized that she must choose between Gerard and Edward, between fun, and family. But in the summer of Helen’s seventeenth year something happens that changes everything.”The Perfect Life” is a book about two women one who is just beginning to learn that life isn’t all black and white, and the other who learns that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere. I liked each one of the characters, especially Kathy, who wanted to do what was right for herself and her family, knowing in her heart that doing both might not be possible.”The Perfect Life” is author Heather Skyler’s first book, and it’s a good one. Pick up a copy and keep an eye out this is an author to watch. By Terri Schlichenmeyer


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