Perfect Days – Raphael Montes

The path to true love rarely runs smoothly…

Teo, a medical student, meets Clarice at a party. Teo doesn’t really like people, they’re too messy, but he immediately realises that he and Clarice are meant to be together. And if Clarice doesn’t accept that? Well, they just need to spend some time together, and she’ll come to realise that too.

And yes, he has bought handcuffs and yes, he has taken her prisoner and yes, he is lying to her mother and to his mother and to the people at the hotel he’s keeping her at, but it’s all for her own good.

She’ll understand. She’ll fall in love. She’ll settle down and be his loving wife.

Won’t she?

 

I don’t think I realised exactly what I was letting myself in for with Perfect Days

I read the kindle version, which described the book synopsis as above, after looking online on finishing the book, the hardback version states much more detail and portrayed quite an alarming read….which it is…not one that I was prepared for.

I didn’t refresh myself of the description before plunging straight in, which worked in my favour because I had no preconceived ideas and simply discovered the story word for word, flicking through the pages and making sense of each scenario in turn.

Lets begin with Teo Avelar, the main character. I think it is fair to say he is more than a little disturbed, the opening chapter sheds light on his mental state as we discover about his strange ‘relationship’ with Gertrude, it is also evident that he likes his women to be the quiet, reserved type, not too loud, brash, bold or liberated but not necessarily as ‘dead’ as Gertrude, whom he believes to be his current love affair.

Clarice Manhaes is a strong, bold, liberal character, everything the Teo isn’t and doesn’t want her to be but yet he is drawn to her, smitten by her after one chance meeting where she chatted with him in a stilted fashion thinking nothing more of the encounter in the days to follow. Teo isn’t her type, she is in love with Breno, her boyfriend, she is flirtatious with her good friend Laura, she is a free spirit with a feisty soul and addiction to cigarettes. She dreams of writing a screenplay, she has want for nothing, she enjoys getting her own way.

Teo has other plans, he wants Clarice to fall in love with him and if she would just give him the opportunity, share his company, take the time to really get to know him she will love him in return. Teo begins to stalk Clarice, which in itself is rather creepy, slightly unsettling and highly frustrating but lets face facts, his mental stability isn’t anything to shout home about, his life is no longer all that, he has had his fair share of tragedy and Clarice could fill that void….whether she agrees or not. Stalking is only the beginning….

15% into reading Pretty Days came the ‘oh this isn’t exactly a love story is it’

Teo’s behaviour frightened me, his plans for Clarice unsettled me but yet I couldn’t stop reading, he managed to take them on a journey fully believing this would be a ‘ride into the sunset’ and whether or not from sheer luck he manages to dodge all the near misses thrown in his path. He always, ultimately, has the upper hand and that is the way things will stay.

There are scenes in this story that make uncomfortable reading, the kind of scenes where you hold the book at arms length, hold your breath, curl your toes and read through your nearly closed eyes. It is dark and gory but yet avidly clinical and stark, routine and ‘normal’ yet horrifying and unbelievably cruel.

The first twist was unexpected but glorious, the differences in the male an female gender, who is most cruel? who is the stronger of the two and for that fleeting glimpse we envisage the story from the other side, the revenge but as always all good things sadly come to an end and after the good comes the very bad as Montes deals his most horrendous scene yet….. I simply can’t get passed that. The descriptive writing was so good I felt like I was watching the event over Teo’s shoulder. Again horrific and mind numbing with the constant stream of ‘what is he doing oh my god, oh my god’ (and a few other unsavoury words) ringing through my ears and the disbelief of his actions those frightful drastic measures he is taking (out of love) to ensure Clarice will always be his and no-one elses.

The interesting view on this plot is that even after Teo has everything he wanted, he didn’t seem to be happy, he wasn’t so sure they were made to be together, he wanted someone that Clarice wasn’t and even after the manipulation and fateful circumstances he seemed more concerned with his secrets staying safe than actually being in love. Was he living a lie?

I wanted for an alternative ending, Teo was too dammed lucky in my opinion and this didn’t feel realistic. Everything worked in his favour and beyond the twists and turns and near misses he still ended up with the life he thought he deserved. The final twist of bringing the last chapter right back around to the first was a good one and clearly evident that Clarice knew more pieces of the puzzle that she was prepared to admit.

I found this book interesting and thought provoking. I enjoyed it found I was hooked and consumed by the whole thing. Montes descriptive writing evoked the emotion it was expected to leaving me wanting to discuss the plot further and get other peoples opinions on the storyline.

I would definitely recommend this book but not without a warning.
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