There are not many occasions where I change my rating once I have given it unless I’m doing a re-read, and decide upon finishing the book again that my original rating was either too high or too low. However, in the case of Sad Perfect, I originally rated the book 3 stars but thinking about it overnight, I have decided to raise my rating up to 4 stars.
(NOTE: Trigger warnings for eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide)
I really did find this book to be pretty interesting. In fact, from about the 2nd half on, I could barely put the book down, and I read most of it in one night – until I was actually falling asleep reading because it was past my bedtime, so I had to set it aside for the next day. Something I did not expect about this book was how difficult it would be in parts to read. There is a point where Pea begins to self-harm and an anonymous tip is sent in to her school to report it, which gets her sent to an institution for about 5 days. From the point where she begins to self-harm all the way through the time where she is in the institution, it was extremely difficult for me to read. It was not something that was triggering for me personally, but it was just so much more intense and there was a suicide that I was not expecting, which was hard to read about.
And I think that the worst part was that the conditions presented in the institution were terrible. Scary terrible. All I could think was that if I were the parent of a child in there, I don’t know how I could let them stay. I’d have to find them anywhere else to be if they were treated like Pea was being treated.
But ALL of that is not the reason for giving this 4 stars. My reason for giving this book 4 stars is because of Pea’s horrible attitude toward her parents. I remember being a teenager, and I know that some attitude is a given. I related to the parents and their efforts to help Pea to get better and to protect her from further harm. So to see her just have a horrible attitude and hate them for their efforts because obviously, they’re just trying to ruin her life, was really difficult. I do recognize that probably most teenagers would not be able to see that their parents are trying to help them, BUT as a teenager with an eating disorder who is actively in therapy, I would think that Pea would have a little bit better perspective than most.
Still, I enjoyed the read, and I feel like there are probably important aspects to the book that can help teenagers feel less alone – especially if they have ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder).