Feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam's two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister's medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word "dyslexia" is generally unknown so to most people he's just a "retard". From the severe knocks life's dealt him, Sam's developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player. Despite his defects, Alex's love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex's powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle. As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex's evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what's the mystery behind Alex's father's death? Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?
ReviewsReview from Night Owls Reviews:
When I finished reading Perfect Score I felt like I had caught a glimpse, as if through a window in time, of what life was like in the 60's for people like Sam and Alex. I am glad I took a chance on Ms. Roebuck's Perfect Score. She took two very difficult topics, threw in a deeper topic of which you will read about with Alex's uncle and delivered a unique, yet very good tale.
Reviewer Lena Grey says:
I'm usually a fast reader, but it took me a while to get through 'Perfect Score' by Susan Roebuck; I consider it time well spent. The style, content and complexity of the story dictated that each page be read and digested before proceeding to the next, otherwise, no compass in the world would have been able to help me find my way back. A pet peeve of mine is when information is repeated several times. I am pleased that Susan Roebuck did not do that. She explained something once and expected me to remember it, rather than repeating it a few more times just in case I didn't.
The vernacular used in the story added lots of local color. Words and phrases such as “current of bad breath swept over them carrying with it the aroma of undigested raw bull hide with the hair still on.”; or “You know what you look like?...A mule-deer in meltdown.” placed me right in the middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma. The references to the 60s and 70s time period such as “Car 54 where are you?”, 'Midnight Cowboy', Simon and Garfunkel, and Carlos Santana led me even deeper.
The characters In 'Perfect Score' are superbly crafted, each evoking different, but essential emotions which had me embroiled in the story from the beginning, butSam influenced me the most. Life knocked him down so much that anyone of lesser moral quality would have given up, but not Sam. Not only did he overcome disparity, he rose like the Phoenix from the ashes. Sam was an amazing combination of strength, intelligence, gentleness and forthrightness; in the face of injustice, whether for a person or an animal, Sam was there on his white horse ready to do battle.
Alex was a unique blend of musical genius, stubbornness and detachment. However, Sam possessed more direction in his little finger than Alex did in his whole body. Yet he offered Sam what he would have not accepted from anyone else in the world; he loved him madly, blindly and completely. “one had ever got under the fence and rocked his world like Alex had.”
Reading 'Perfect Score' was quite a moving experience for me. It brought to mind several life lessons, especially one in particular: whatever you sow, you reap. Alex and Sam paid their debt of responsibility and sowed consideration, kindness and compassion, even though it was not reciprocated by others. In the end, they reaped their reward by finding happiness together. In my opinion, this book deserves a 'perfect score'.