“I saved myself and let everyone else suffer. Me and the god of creation—we’re the villains of this story.” – The Wisdom of Perversity
The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias is a wonderfully written book about a very difficult topic: child molestation. The novel navigates between the past and present of three children, who all suffered at the hand of a very well-respected man. As they grew up, their secrets affected them in different ways; but it’s one particular event that hurdles all three of them toward exposure.
In the late 1960s, Brian, Jeff, and Julie thought that NBC executive Richard Klein was the most impressive adult they knew. He worked with Johnny Carson after all. But from the moment Brian is first alone with the man, he learned that Klein was to be feared, not respected. Even as adults in 2008, they continue to deal with the repercussions of their childhood secrets.
Having never dealt with the topic, the subject matter was sometimes too much for me to take in, but at the same time, I couldn’t put the book down. Rafael Yglesias is a brilliant writer and it is testament to his writing that I felt the need to continue reading. I needed to see how Brian, Julie and Jeff’s stories would end.
While the book is a courageous and emotionally difficult story, I highly recommend The Wisdom of Perversity to other readers. It isn’t the easiest subject matter but the writing is excellent and the story is unique. Do yourself a favor and add it to your to-read list if you haven’t already.