The Perfect View

The Perfect View

by Carolyn Young

ISBN: 9781483422213

Publisher Lulu Publishing Services

Published in Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Mystery & Thrillers

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Book Description

Who has a view into your life - your whole life - but you? In this dark, psychological suspense novel, Mara learns she has never really been alone.

Sample Chapter

Mara was dimly awake and sitting on the edge of the bed with her feet on the floor, but she could not quite force her weighted eyes to open completely.  Her lids were swollen like rain clouds, and the nightmares that had passed only minutes before were covered by a thick fog, though still close to the surface.  She rose abstractedly onto her unsteady legs and made her way across the room to her dresser, but when she reached it she could not remember why she had come.  She stood for a moment, staring down at the walnut drawers, and then she blinked her eyes hard and fast and pushed up on her forehead with her hands, trying to lift herself out of the layers of haze.  Water.  She needed water.  She went through the double doors into the bathroom where Ben was already in the shower, filled the cup by the sink and drank it like a shot.  Then she wiped a circular patch of fog from the mirror with her hand and looked into the round frame at her image.  She was pale and her eyes were dark and retreating, but other than that she looked no different than any other morning.  There was no swelling or sagging of her skin, and her irises were not covered by a film or muck of any kind.  It was nothing but her usual face, the one that she saw every day, and it was clear and without scars. Her defects and diseases were all inside and not visible in her reflection.


 She splashed intensely cold water on her face to shock herself back into the skin she saw and out of the one she perceived, but it had little effect.  All her parts felt disconnected and her head ached, and yet somehow her body still functioned, so she slowly dressed in vague clothes and began to drift through the morning routine in her usual reclusive cloud.  She quietly brewed the coffee, prepared the eggs and toast, assembled Annie’s lunch and duffel bag for her summer day camp, and took a package of halibut fillets out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.  When the breakfast that Mara did not eat was over, she stiffly accepted Ben’s tentative kiss on the cheek and said goodbye to both of them with a forged smile as they left together, and then she went to the front door to watch the silver Lexus wind down the driveway through the trees. As she stood in the threshold, she suddenly imagined herself as Mrs. Cleaver wearing a white ruffled apron and sending sparkling stars into the air with her shiny smile, while her arm waved slowly back and forth like one of those mechanical characters that lived in the store windows at Christmas time.  Then the car disappeared around the bend, and the odd picture blurred and dissolved into the green breeze as she closed the door and turned to lean tediously against it.  She was alone now and her tense performance as the image in the mirror, a fictitiously normal wife, was over, but her body remained as stiff as her imaginary aqua-netted Cleaver hair.  The characters and the audience were gone, and yet still, nothing about her felt normal at all.


She laughed, and it was a ringing echo in the silent foyer.  Normal was such an utterly intangible concept to her that she could not begin to know how to achieve it. This home and this life that she had ventured into seven years ago certainly appeared upon shallow examination to be the embodimentof normal, and that was precisely what it would be if a worthy person lived within its clean and balanced form, but Mara’s weight had shifted that balance.  She had been a fool to think she could exist here authentically, transforming herself into a shape that would fit, rather than pretending not to be a flawed and dirty creature that had invaded this pristine world.  She had worked so hard at her role, though, and for a while she had deceived them into believing that she belonged. She had abandoned all her old lives with her body and her mind, never looking back, camouflaging her wounds under the layers of her new character.


In the beginning, Mara had lived the whole part, determined to become the unbroken person that she pretended to be, the one Ben had chosen to share his perfect, ordinary life.  She had settled effortlessly into the role of stepmother and wife, but then somehow the mother part had transformed into something lovely and almost real.  Being a mother even became consuming enough to overshadow the other parts of the life that were not so simple for Mara - the truffle-scented country club dinners, the chafing dish office parties, and the agonizing PTA meetings where she could not even hide behind glass shields of wine.  She despised all of those functions, knowing that although she could speak the proper language and wear the appropriate clothes, she would always be an outsider masquerading as a member of circles that belonged to others.


Those things had been necessary parts of the role, though, and so she had played the character just well enough to fool all the polished, conventional, faithful people into believing she was one of them, carefully hiding the demons that, if revealed, would breathe fire and send the people screaming for the cover of their picket-fenced homes.  It had been an arduous task to mingle and speak and laugh while pretending not to listen for the voices inside that might rise to whisper the truth about her, but she suffered through the hours because she knew that when they were over, she would go home to Annie.  Back then she had even hoped that someday she would be able to absorb the Mara that she was portraying into her pores, so that she would have nothing left to hide and no voices left to fear.  She performed every obligatory act, moving boldly ahead on what she thought was the right path toward the bright, open spaces where real, ordinary people lived, and it had all seemed so promising.




Excerpted from "The Perfect View" by Carolyn Young. Copyright © 2014 by Carolyn Young. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Carolyn Young

Carolyn Young

Carolyn Young is an entrepreneur, curriculum writer, mother, and traveler, and she lives in the suburbs of Columbus Ohio. She has written poetry and short stories throughout her life, and was finally inspired by experiences and her family to pursue her dream and write her debut novel, a dark tale of what picture-perfect suburban life sometimes looks like behind closed doors.

View full Profile of Carolyn Young

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