A Less Than Perfect Life
by Isabelle Olivia De Luca

"I've often said that if it wasn't for my pets, I don't know if I could have made it all these years!"

Looking back on a life full of stories and beloved friends, family members, and cherished pets, the author of this book shares her experiences and memories with readers. Starting with her early childhood in a cold-water flat in New York City, major life milestones are covered with stark honesty and colored by an instinctive roadmap of the Big Apple that comes with living there all of one's life. In time, the author starts a family of her own and excels in a career working for government offices, juggling stress at home and in the office with grace. After retiring, she finally leaves the city. She relocates upstate, settling into a peaceful but still entertaining routine with her pet Chihuahuas, taking the time to reflect on her journey and capture it on the page.

There is a strong sense of balance to this book that keeps the read interesting without becoming cliched or telegraphed. In the face of adversity, De Luca overcomes. In her moments of triumph, she can crack a joke at her own expense or move on with reserved dignity. She frequently offers little nuggets of information that breathe life into details or shares a wink and a laugh at a ridiculous circumstance. Most chapters are tied to a move of some sort—sharing a street, neighborhood, or borough in the title that gives a geographical context or results in a break before moving on to the next life event. Even though moves tend to be cumbersome and are typically indicative of a major change, the book's chapter transitions serve as a useful mechanism for ending one thought and quite literally turning the page. Clever and self-aware, the author's storytelling charm leads to an intimate and entertaining read of her life's largest moments.

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