Everyone wants a piece of Rosemary Ellis. Her husband, her high-maintenance kid, her pregnant friend, the neighbor with the scary husband, the lonely guy with cancer, the local water-fight forces. Of course she should give all she has to give. It s what women do, right? With stark insight and wry humor, Love and Death in a Perfect World follows the arc of a modern woman s life from tender adolescence to hard-edged middle age, offering a fresh, honest look at women s lives today. Blind to the traps, Rosemary believes she s in control If I m popular, I ll be happy; If I detach from my mom, I ll be free; If I have a family and high-minded work, I will win. But the blessed existence she has always seen in her mind s eye with its intact family, organic food, and solar-powered house fails to manifest. Instead of right livelihood in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a perfect world populated by enlightened people, she is confronted with a thorny marriage, a son she longer understands, and a string of disturbing losses. If this is the right way to live, then why is it so hard? Against a backdrop of birth and death, financial turmoil, and environmental clashes, Love and Death in a Perfect World explores deep questions about human nature and modern life: How do we find connection in fractured middle-class America? How do we navigate a world that does t behave as promised? And where do we find the strength to rebuild our lives when expectations are shattered and the wrong people win? In Love and Death in a Perfect World, first-time velist Barbara Gerber delivers a richly textured yet unsentimental portrait of a family that keeps on keeping on, and of a woman who expects to live in the light but must instead fight to find her own light in the darkness of everyday life.