Past Imperfect

Fiction - Drama
161 Pages
Reviewed on 04/06/2021
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Author Biography

I originally thought about writing this novella as three separate chapters, each looking at the story from the perspective of the main individual characters. However, it seemed more conclusive to proceed with a normal 'flow' to the story. It touches on some major issues of today. I hope you enjoy the read as much as the reviewers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Past Imperfect by GD Harrison is an intriguing drama about a social worker coming to grips with the truth about his life. Colin Smith is a middle-aged professional who lives quietly in a small town with his mother. He likes his job as an anticipatory grief counselor, working with clients who don't have long to live, and counseling their families as well. All is fairly well until he encounters one patient that makes him rethink everything. His mother's disclosure about his life sets him on the path toward his own self-discovery, altering this even-keeled man so much that he is the one now needing help. As more stages of the secret are revealed, he finds himself pushed to the limits of his easygoing character.

I love how Harrison begins his book in 12-year-old Samuel's POV. It immediately pulls you into the story of someone else's life. And then you learn that Samuel isn't exactly 12, but the plot and characters gradually begin to unfold and reveal what's going on. The author does a lovely job of creating a world we can believe in, and characters we care about. This slice-of-life piece is a character study too and gets even more interesting as the story moves forward. I enjoy how Harrison handles the emotions of his characters--realistic and empathetic. The secret revealed to Colin is a real shocker, and you will want to keep reading to see how it plays out. You'll find yourself standing in the shoes of the characters and maybe you'll wonder how you would fare in such a situation. Past Imperfect by GD Harrison is the perfect book to read if you like family dramas and self-discoveries.

Grant Leishman

Past Imperfect by G D Harrison is a short but interesting take on the interrelationships that can lead us down paths that seem totally incompatible with our moral viewpoints. Colin is a fifty-something Social Worker for the local government. When he is called in to assist with a new patient, Sam, little does he realize the interconnectedness he will discover with his new charge. Colin has some new techniques in mind that he believes will be of benefit to Sam but will also open up some old wounds. Colin loves the work he does and revels in helping his patients and most importantly their caregivers. Colin, who is single and lives with his mother but never knew his father, faces his own identity crisis when a family tree, prepared by one of his relatives, reveals some shocking information about Colin’s parentage. He is faced with a dilemma that all his training and experience have never really taught him how to handle.

Past Imperfect is a short, yet powerful look at ordinary life and how we as humans react to extraordinary circumstances and happenings when they present themselves. Author, G D Harrison, has provided an interesting character in Colin, one that many of us can identify with. He is neither ordinary nor extraordinary, he is just one of the faceless millions who go about their tasks in life, quietly, efficiently and with as little fuss as possible. I really appreciated Colin’s relationship with his coworkers, how he saw them somewhat as competition but tried very hard to keep his feelings and frustrations with the job to himself. He needed the job to last until he was ready to retire and didn't want to do anything to rock the boat or cause any sort of ruckus. Colin’s relationship with his mother was also fascinating. It was clear, without a male figure in the household, Colin was required to perform the role of both son and comforting partner, which he did admirably. I was pleased the author also focused on the competing emotions of Sam’s daughter who on one hand wanted the best for her Dad but who also felt guilty for feeling he was an annoyance and in the way of her and her husband fulfilling their own dreams. Past Imperfect is a short but interesting read that I can easily recommend.

Lesley Jones

In Past Imperfect by GD Harrison, Samuel believes he is 12 years old and feels no-one loves him. His father is distant and his mother is verbally abusive and volatile. Samuel prefers to be alone with his own thoughts and memories from the comfort of his bedroom. Meanwhile, Josie and Steve's marriage is strained with the pressure of taking care of their elderly loved one. They call the Heath Authority Support Team for guidance and Social Worker Colin Smith is assigned to their case. Colin's expertise is in assisting people as they near the end of their lives. As Colin begins the counseling process with his patient, he also has to deal with his own personal search for truth. As the patient and counselor relationship grows, Colin discovers secrets hidden in the home he shares with his mother which throw his entire life into turmoil. Faced with the painful reality of the past, Colin decides to discover his true identity while at the same time helping his disoriented patient find some peace of his own. It is only when Colin discovers more family secrets, that he realizes his past might be connected to the man he has been counseling.

Past Imperfect by GD Harrison is such an imaginative and well-written storyline that draws you into the world of the characters immediately. I simply adored Colin's personality. He was extremely kind and considerate but there was also a deep sadness surrounding him too. The relationship he shared with his mother was truly endearing and as the plot unfolded, you realize why they shared such a close bond. There are many layers to the plot which kept being revealed as the story progressed and these interesting revelations kept my attention consistently. Samuel was also a well-created character with many hidden secrets about his past which I totally did not see coming. I thought the interactions between Colin and his patient very realistic and the scene where Colin played music to spark his patient's memory was very chilling. I also thought the scenes where Colin discovered the truth about his past were full of tension and suspense as the realization about his identity was slowly revealed to him. The twist at the end was superb and really gave Colin the emotional release to make peace with himself and his mother. Expect the unexpected throughout this novel because nothing or no-one is as they seem on the surface. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys an intelligent, thought-provoking read.