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Perfect Skin Paperback – Feb 28 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Australia (Feb. 28 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140290982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140290981
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,724,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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You'll be under a drape, a green paper drape, and you'll have to lie very still. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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By Andrew K. Quan on March 6 2003
Format: Hardcover
Two of my favourite literary characters are Louis Ironson - from Angels from America - who polemicizes, intellectualizes, pontificates and basically just talks and talks - and Mo, from the very funny comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" who basically does the same. In the face of fear, pain or jealousy, they talk against the world, and yeah, it's blathering, but I find it charming. Probably because I do the same, which is maybe a reason why I'm a writer.
The main character in Perfect Skin does an awful lot of talking which biases me towards both liking him and liking the book.
Another reason why I like the book: I like books that are about people and relationships, that don't necessarily need big events to drive the story. Perfect Skin is a page-turner because you want to know what happens to the characters. It's about how we live our daily lives, how we relate to each other, and how we reach out to people.
A lot seems to be made about the humour in this book - and it's true, it's very very funny and enjoyable because of it - but perhaps it works all the better because of what lies underneath - weighty gusts of loss and hurt, recovery and survival.
I found it affecting and beautiful: a perfect little gem of a book that let me under the skin of some characters I was glad to meet and get to know.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a self-proclaimed British Chick books lover and when I saw this one in the library, I was intrigued by the cover jacket ~~ it looks like something I would read and the fact that it was written by an Aussie and a male at that, I just had to pick it up. It's wonderful! It's cute and pardon the pun ~~ it's adorable. (I don't think the author would like that term applied to his book!)
Jon, a single dad and doctor, is attempting to go back into the world after his wife's death in childbirth and what ensues is a series of misfortunate and hilarious accidents. (I have to say that Nick Earls sure knows his cats! I am almost tempted to ask him if my cat was the basis of Flag, the cat hero in this book!) Anyhow, one day he was just dad to Lily and a dermatologist in a busy practice then the next day, he's juggling between two women. Katie is the woman trapped in the 80s with the 80s hairdo that Jon and his office mates secretly joke about. Ash is the jogging partner that makes his mind go around in circles. Jon is left juggling his feelings for Ash while trying to let Katie down gently. That is where Flagg comes in. Flagg decides that he likes Jon ~~ and Jon seems to be extremely clumsy where the cat is concerned. (My husband laughed and laughed over choice parts of the book.)
I really can't go into too much details about this book because if I do, I will ruin it for the next person to read this review. All I can say is buy this book and see for yourself. Earls writes with humor and grace about a single dad slowly feeling his way back into the world after his wife's death. He also writes with feeling about Jon's coming to grips with his wife's death and becoming a father. Jon may be bewildered and confused at times, but what father wouldn't be? And it is just one of the best short reads I've read this year.
If Earls has more books out in the States, I'll be sure to pick them up. He is a talent to watch out for.
...
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By T. Morong on March 12 2002
Format: Hardcover
Where else could you find a story about a recently widowed father who pees on his date's cat?
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By "foxechick" on Oct. 26 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Perfect Skin" is another addition to the modern breed of popular novel: aimed squarely at the 20- or 30-something yuppie women's demographic, with perhaps a sideline in selling to the SNAG market. Published in a nice large size, with an eye-catching picture and a sleek new millennium font (wouldn't want to risk being confused with the Danielle Steele genre), these novels have become disappointingly homogeneous. Unusually among its shelf companions, however, "Perfect Skin" is written by a man. Nick Earls' no-nonsense prose and willingness to grapple with some deeper life issues makes a refreshing change from the giggly bimbo style of other similar novels.
The topic of this venture into pop publishing is single parenting - more specifically, single fatherhood. Jon seems to have his life all under control: there's him, the Bean (6 months old), his gaggle of similarly single friends and his dermatology practice. As we begin to delve deeper into Jon's life, the strands come apart to reveal some unexpected truths about putting a life back together. Along the way, there's a semi-deranged cat woman with eighties hair, an unfortunate incident in the bathroom involving her cat, several sleep-deprived nights with baby Bean and an interesting new female acquaintance...
"Perfect Skin" kept me entertained for a few hours without really leaving a permanent impression. It stands out somewhat from other novels of the same type for the reasons above, but ultimately doesn't amount to much more than that. The style is easy, the characters are amusing, the plot isn't too saccharine. A good 'girly' book to read in the bath with a block of chocolate and a glass of something nice; or buy it as a present for that friend you always buy the latest yuppie book for.
6 stars out of 10
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Perfect May 17 2012
By James Turnbull - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Perfect Skin is my favourite Nick Earl's book. I've re-read it several times now and enjoy it each time more and more. It's touching, funny and his main character has that charming haphazardness that Earls does so well. You can readily fall in love with the characters and their imperfections and you quickly find yourself wincing at Jon's experiences and egging him on as he tries to balance fatherhood, love and loss.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Skin in a Not-So-Perfect World May 16 2012
By Shannon L. Yarbrough - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Perfect Skin is a slice-of-life contemporary novel about Jon, a dermatologist, who suddenly finds himself raising a baby girl all by himself after his wife dies during child birth.

Unlike the age spots and skin cancer that Jon can meticulously remove with laser precision at work, its the blunders in real life that he embraces and accepts.

We see Jon's daily routines for what they are and for how they are different (or not) every day in some way - checking his email, running, walking the dog, hanging out with his coworkers, dating, and the interaction with his baby girl.

Ultimately it is the baby, nicknamed Bean, that comes first as it should be. Jon has plenty of pictures of her to prove it! But it is the life happening in between the bouts of parenthood that give this book color.

Jon finds a running partner in his new neighbor next door, Ash. He goes out for coffee with Katie. He hangs out with his male coworker friends for "book club" night, though no book discussion ever really happens. He finds himself caught up in each of their daily lives, but always returns his focus to Bean.

The reader shares in the everyday habits and routines that make up Jon's life, right down to that "Weasel" of a computer program that greets him every morning when he goes to check email. But it is these mundane details of every day that also make up our own lives, and like Jon, we just have to laugh at ourselves and make the best of it...and take lots of pictures.

Though the book lacked a certain element of drama and conflict for me, I still enjoyed slowing down a bit to savor a nice light-hearted comical read. This was Earls' first book I had read and I look forward to more.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A gem of a book May 13 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Perfect Skin is one of those rare novels that wraps you up in a sunbeam of warmth as you read it. Like Charles Dickens, and more recently Kingsly Amis, Armistead Maupin and Nick Hornby, Nick Earls is one of those gifted writers that can lift a character out of the pages of a book and into your head and heart.

Perfect Skin is the laugh-out-loud funny, touching and human tale of Jon Marshall who's living life after the loss of his wife and infant daughters mother. Unsentimental, Perfect Skin follows Jon as he meanders through work, dating, friendship and being a sole parent.

My highest recommendations.

PS- if you love this you'll love Zigzag St, also by Earls.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Talking is Good March 6 2003
By Andrew K. Quan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Two of my favourite literary characters are Louis Ironson - from Angels from America - who polemicizes, intellectualizes, pontificates and basically just talks and talks - and Mo, from the very funny comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" who basically does the same. In the face of fear, pain or jealousy, they talk against the world, and yeah, it's blathering, but I find it charming. Probably because I do the same, which is maybe a reason why I'm a writer.
The main character in Perfect Skin does an awful lot of talking which biases me towards both liking him and liking the book.
Another reason why I like the book: I like books that are about people and relationships, that don't necessarily need big events to drive the story. Perfect Skin is a page-turner because you want to know what happens to the characters. It's about how we live our daily lives, how we relate to each other, and how we reach out to people.
A lot seems to be made about the humour in this book - and it's true, it's very very funny and enjoyable because of it - but perhaps it works all the better because of what lies underneath - weighty gusts of loss and hurt, recovery and survival.
I found it affecting and beautiful: a perfect little gem of a book that let me under the skin of some characters I was glad to meet and get to know.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good character development Jan. 4 2013
By Victoria - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a light read, with little in the way of drama or suspense. The thing I liked about it was the authenticity of the characters. They aren't perfect; they are genuine. They do normal regular day-to-day stuff that a reader can relate to. She runs in the morning and studies at the library in the afternoon; he drives his baby around the neighborhood to get her to sleep. Even though he is a doctor, reasonably intelligent & well-educated, he is befuddled by modern technology in the form of a Web Weasel. I can relate to all of those things. By making me feel that the characters are just like me, the author makes it entertaining to read about how they react to odd events, thereby making it possible for me to ponder my own reactions when funny or bizarre things happen to me.

Life just doesn't work out the way we expect. What do we do then? Hide away from the people who care about us; become a recluse? Or give it another go? There are so many times when we simply can not make everything right again, we can't put it back the way it was. But we CAN make life the best it can be right now. The dermatologist Jon can remove diseased/distressed layers of dermis and smooth out surface blemishes to give a patient Perfect Skin, but he comes to realize that, in life, sometimes you just have to learn to live with the imperfections.

The length of the book is just right, but I found the constant references to "the Eighties" to be a bit overdone. The story is humorous to the point that I often laughed out loud. It's a perfect read for that evening commute.

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