A luminous and insightful novel that considers the moral complexities of scientific discovery and the sustaining nature of love.
A young researcher at MIT, Jane Weiss is obsessed with finding the genetic marker for Valentine’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. Her pursuit is deeply personal—Valentine’s killed her mother, and she and her freewheeling sister, Laurel, could be genetic carriers; each has a fifty percent chance of developing the disease. Having seen firsthand the devastating effect Valentine’s had on her parents’ marriage, Jane is terrified she might become a burden on whomever she falls in love with and so steers clear of romantic entanglement. Then, the summer before her father’s second wedding, Jane falls hard for her future stepbrother, Willie. But Willie’s father also died from Valentine’s, raising the odds that their love will end in tragedy.
When Willie bolts at a crucial moment in their relationship, Jane becomes obsessed with finding the genetic marker to the disease that threatens both their families. But if she succeeds in making history, will she and her sister have the courage to face the truth this newfound knowledge could hold for their lives? A Perfect Life is a novel of scientific and self discovery, about learning how to embrace life and love, no matter what may come. Eileen Pollack conjures a thought-provoking, emotionally resonant story of one woman’s brilliance and bravery as she confronts her deepest fears and desires—and comes to accept the inevitable and the unexpected.