The Perfect Novel: An Essential Checklist

The Miracle Life of Edgar MintThe Miracle Life of Edgar Mint is the Perfect Novel. Here is a list of the essential components of the Perfect Novel :

1) The Perfect Novel is almost impossible to review well.

Case in point
This review, clearly. For better summaries I recommend Scott’s equally glowing but much more coherent review. For a quick synopsis, the back blurb has put into words what I cannot: “Half-Apache and mostly orphaned, the adventures of Edgar Presely Mint begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven when the mailman’s jeep accidently runs over his head. Shunted from the hospital to a reform school to a Mormon foster family, comedy and trouble accompany Edgar – the irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart, and whose quest for the mailman eventually leads him to an unexpected home.”

2) The Perfect Novel has characters so real that you become convinced that THEY live in the real world and you live in a made-up one.

Case in point
Edgar Mint is a kid whose dead-pan, reflective voice belies the force with which he explodes on the page. Sometimes, some novels, you’re introduced to characters who take awhile to brew with you. You have sit with them awhile, follow them around a bit before you feel like they’re real. Edgar Mint, by contrast, is a kid who is so vivid, so authentic from the very first moment you meet him, that it’s you who feels like a fake.

3) The exercise of reading the Perfect Novel will, by default, render all other activities pointless, distracting and inconvenient in the extreme. Conversation will be scorned, commitments broken, sleep lost, meals missed and relationships with real-actual-people risked.

Case in point
If it’s not Edgar’s voice that grabs you, it’s his story. The opening line is: “If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was 7 years old the mail man ran over my head.” If this was a normal novel, you would be able to put this book down after reading a few chapters and continue about your daily tasks like a normal person. But, since this is not a normal novel, but in fact the Perfect Novel, you should know that it will be IMPOSSIBLE to put this book down until every last footnote, dedication and page number has been read, nay, inhaled.

4) The Perfect Novel always elicits some form of extreme emotion accompanied by its associated outward manifestation, i.e.: Happiness = laughter; tears = snot; anger = book tossing. Sometimes all at once.

Case in point
Edgar Mint’s life involves a series of unfortunate if not downright tragic turns that it’s hard to comprehend why it is that you find yourself laughing so heartily so frequently. But then all of a sudden (because it’s the Perfect Novel with the Perfect Story Arc), you unearth the mystery of Edgar’s near-death experience and find the laughter has all but evaporated, leaving in its place an enormous weight of sadness that can only, inevitably, result in snot.

5) The Perfect Novel may lead to hefty library fines.

Case in point
I can neither confirm nor deny whether I have yet returned Edgar Mint to the library after I borrowed it in January.

6) The Perfect Novel is not a book, but a friend.

Case in point
I still cruise by the bookshelf every now and again to say Hi to Edgar Mint, (who may or may not be on my bookshelf) and to flip through the dog-eared pages to re-read a few of my favourite passages. Because friendships, like the Perfect Novel, are forever.

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8 thoughts on “The Perfect Novel: An Essential Checklist

  1. I’ve read alot of book reviews in my life; but THAT was the best one ever. Grabbed me from word 1..made me want to read this book right NOW. I only hate I went to the library just yesterday before I read this review..Headed right now to reserve it online..Will hit you back after I read it. Thanks for the heads UP

    • Awesome and thank you! So glad you liked the review, I felt it rather inadequate myself… But then, of course, the Perfect Novel ought to leave us speechless. Look forward to hearing what you think of it, this review comes with a money back guarantee by the way 😉

    • I know, I ought to have added:”The Perfect Novel will demand a period of reading abstinence following its conclusion, as no other book can be read without inviting inevitable comparisons and general feelings of disillusionment. This state of apathy can last anywhere between 3-6 months.”

  2. I have the same feeling with my perfect novel. I own three copies of it. “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabiel Garcia Marquez It leaves me speechless every time I read it. If you have a chance, I consider it the best book ever writen.
    Like your review, the best I read until today! Very good indeed.

    • Aha! I can see I’m going to need to append this post with additional criteria. #) A single copy of the Perfect Novel will never be sufficient. One must own a minimum of three copies (not including the one “borrowed” from the library). PS: I have had a copy of 100 Years for a long time but haven’t yet read it – shame! To think I’ve had a Perfect Novel sitting on my booshelf unappreciated like this. Will endeavour to read before the year is out. I’ve read Love in the Time of Cholera… left me a little spooked.

  3. Pingback: Reading Round-up March – June 2013 (in no particular order) | 5inabus

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