My rating of THE PERFECT MARRIAGE is more for the fact that, despite how I felt about the story the first time way back when (PB may have been tossed a time or two), I've re-read this book several times over the years. Yet I still feel unsatisfied in some way. Maybe I'm a closet optimist or romantic at heart, but with every re-read, I expect something
new/different which will make me somehow OK with this book, even as I keep reminding myself that it was written in 1995. (Yikes!)
THE PERFECT MARRIAGE makes for a terrific book club read (if the members can handle infidelity and its aftermath). The starting basis and circumstances of the marriage itself is a point for discussion, as well as the behaviour of the main characters before and after revelation of the affair. And of course, there's the hot buttons of the how/why and whether or not there was enough in the book to justify or explain Max's POS behaviour/actions. And let's not forget the "confrontation" with the other woman, followed by a "clearing of the air and misunderstandings" and supposed HEA.
TBT, I didn't particularly like either Max or Celine and that certain tired trope (but again, written in 1995). Several times (OK, many
times), I wanted to smack Max upside his head and came close once or twice with Celine as well. As for the OW, I have no sympathies whatsoever and was disappointed that Celine "turned the other cheek" so easily.
This could've been a great, angsty read about an all-too-real and (sadly) common problem in a marriage. But for me, there were certain issues either underdeveloped or not addressed. But THE PERFECT MARRIAGE definitely works in that the reader feels the painful and angry moments. I still mutter under my breath as I read certain parts.
Even today, when I randomly think about THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, I'm still not sure if it really, truly was.