Review: This Perfect Day
This Perfect Day
by Ira Levin
published by Pegasus Books
this edition: 2011 (originally 1970)
size: 484KB (320 pages)
categories: science fiction; high tech (Bufo adds dystopia; social science fiction)
simultaneous device licenses: six
real page numbers: no
part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: no
suitability for text-to-speech: good (although there are some neologisms)
Whispersync for Voice: no
The movie versions of Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives have secured author, playwright, and songwriter Ira Levin a place in the mainstream pop culture consciousness. However, I do think that This Perfect Day was ahead of its time, and if first released today, would be one of the first things associated with Levin.
What’s odd for me is that this is dystopian literature (which is very popular today) that seems to tweak and comment on the formula…which didn’t exist yet. 🙂
Sure, there were dystopian works (Brave New World, 1984), but this ties clearly into The Matrix and the ones with young romances.
Don’t think, though, that this a comfortable read. For one thing, the “f word” is used completely appropriately…it’s not considered a swear word (it’s used referring to the act), although both “fight” and “hate” are considered shocking terms, and “fight” in particular is used the way people use the “f word” today (a great insult is to call someone a “brother-fighter”).
Without giving too much away, that’s because the society we encounter first is, hypothetically, one big happy family. They refer to it as the “Family”, and rather than “people” they talk about “members”.
What they think about our era is a fascinating commentary on our society, but also understandable within the world we are shown.
However, Levin goes far beyond what you might expect. I think that the book could be visually adapted now, although ideally, it would be something like a four-part miniseries on a cable channel.
It definitely had me thinking. As regular readers know, my favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and this did that. I also judge the impact of a work by whether or not it spontaneously comes back to me after finishing it. I’ve already had that happen several times since finishing this book: seeing something and having it relate back to the book.
Unlike some science fiction, though, it isn’t just about the technology…in fact, the technology really serves the social commentary. I was quite surprised to see this listed in the “high tech” category under science fiction at Amazon. You don’t have to be a gearhead at all to appreciate this one.
Again, this won’t be for everybody, and I think them include nudity on the cover image (a naked man from the back) may be intentional to signal that. I would say, though, that people who like dystopian young adult fiction can see this in some ways as an adult version of that genre.
I’d recommend this one.
I know that the price may put off some people (close to ten dollars). I bought it when it was sale, and I would guess that will happen again. You might want to list it at
which you can do for free, and they’ll send you a free e-mail when the price drops an amount you specify.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.