cover image Perfectly Imperfect: A Life in Progress

Perfectly Imperfect: A Life in Progress

Lee Woodruff, . . Random, $25 (235pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-6731-2

Following her memoir of healing, coauthored with her husband, Bob Woodruff, an ABC journalist gravely wounded in a bomb attack in Iraq (In an Instant ), Lee delivers a collection of 17 brief, plainspoken essays about being a busy mother to four kids and a loving wife, daughter and friend who doesn't always know the right answers. Navigating the adolescence of her two oldest kids, Mark and Cathryn, focuses much of her parenting effort, and where the whole clan was once comfortable with nonchalant nudity, once her son turned into Mr. Hyde and her daughter into an eye-rolling critic, “the bathroom door is sealed tighter than a government nuclear testing ground in New Mexico.” In the essay “A Different Ability,” Woodruff writes movingly of first learning about her younger daughter's deafness (Nora and her twin sister were born by surrogate) and how a personal tragedy has been transformed in time to a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Similarly, Lee writes of the sustaining friendship with Melanie, whose own journalist husband died in Iraq, through the initial hours of grief when she learned of Bob's injuries. Lee moves fluently from deep to lighter subjects, such as worrying about her sagging knees or bemoaning her otherwise ideal husband's woeful gift-selecting ability. Self-deprecating and modest, Woodruff is certainly likable, and this collection will broaden her appeal. (Apr.)