3 Sentence Summary
All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover delves into the complexities of marriage, exploring the challenges of infertility and infidelity. It offers a realistic portrayal of love after the “happily ever after” and emphasizes the importance of fighting for the relationships we cherish. With its dual timeline narrative, the novel captures the journey of Graham and Quinn as they navigate the ups and downs of their seven-year marriage.
Summary Read Time: Less than 6 minutes
Actual Book Length: 305
First Published in: 2018
Disclaimer: Summary contains the mention of sexual interactions and self-harm.
Below is the detailed yet quick All Your Perfects summary:
“All Your Perfects” sets the stage by stepping back seven years, when Quinn stumbles upon her fiancé, Ethan, in another woman’s arms. Enter Graham, the spurned boyfriend of Ethan’s illicit partner. A connection sparks between Quinn and Graham, leading them to the brink of a rebound tryst. But they back off, too jaded by the betrayal. Graham leaves his number, but Quinn doesn’t call. Six months later, fate has them cross paths again, kindling an impassioned romance.
The narrative intertwines the past (“Then”) and the present (“Now”), painting a picture of the early infatuation and the present-day struggle. Quinn and Graham grapple with infertility, shadowed by guilt and shame. Endometriosis renders Quinn unable to conceive, and a past conviction blocks their adoption route. Failed IVF attempts and rejection from adoption agencies compound their distress. Quinn feels the stinging pain of her infertility and guilt of denying Graham fatherhood. She copes by distancing herself from Graham, associating sex with trauma.
Meanwhile, the “Then” timeline captures the whirlwind romance of Quinn and Graham. Graham sees their relationship as destined, unnerving the cautious Quinn. Yet, she succumbs to her deep love for him. She finds solace in Graham’s warm family, contrasting her own complicated family dynamics. Though close to her sister, Ava, she faces coldness and judgment from their mother, Avril.
In the present timeline, Quinn’s emotional turmoil remains hidden from Graham, creating a growing chasm between them. One night, when Graham realizes Quinn’s interest in sex is merely because of ovulation, he reacts strongly, causing a rift in their intimacy. Adding to Quinn’s grief, Ava relocates to Europe and becomes pregnant with ease. Quinn finds herself wrestling with the bitter-sweet reality of joy for her sister against her own deep longing for motherhood.
The narrative beautifully contrasts the couple’s passionate past with their strained present. “Then” offers us glimpses of Quinn and Graham’s compelling sexual connection. As they navigate through their relationship, they discuss the metaphorical ‘Category 5’ moments, assured they can weather any storm together. But “Now” has them struggling to maintain their intimacy. An interesting encounter unfolds when Graham meets Avril, Quinn’s frosty mother. Quinn fears judgment, but instead, Graham’s admiration for her deepens, seeing her background.
Fast forward to the present, deception seeps into their relationship. Quinn, heartbroken at overhearing Graham’s lament about not having a child, leaves without meeting him. Later, she feigns being held up in traffic. Graham, too, masks his feelings, claiming he never held his nephew.
One evening, Graham’s drunken state triggers a sexual encounter that leaves Quinn calculating her ovulation days. Graham, disconcerted by her lack of response, feels like he’s “making love to a corpse.” Quinn suspects infidelity, confronts him, and Graham admits to it. Distraught, Quinn leaves for her mother’s house but ends up having a revealing conversation about Avril’s initial disinterest in motherhood, ultimately returning home feeling lighter.
As Graham clarifies, his infidelity was limited to a kiss with a woman, Andrea, who reminded him of Quinn. However, their reunion is marred by a crisis – Quinn suffers a rare, nonviable cervical ectopic pregnancy and has to undergo a hysterectomy, eliminating any chance of natural conception. Amidst her grief, Quinn absolves Graham of any blame.
Opting for a respite, she flies to Europe to stay with Ava, distancing herself from Graham. But Graham unexpectedly arrives at Ava’s, bearing a wooden box of their early marital love letters, a pact to be opened only at their 25th anniversary or in a marital emergency. Reading Graham’s additional letters addressing their growing divide deeply moves Quinn, reigniting their bond. They decide to rekindle their love, choosing to move to Italy to be closer to Ava.
Two years later, the Epilogue finds them shopping for their nephew’s birthday, inventing a playful story about their non-existent six daughters to fend off prying inquiries. In a heartwarming turn of events, they adopt a puppy named August, after the numbers on their fortune cookies and their anniversary date, marking a hopeful new chapter in their lives.