Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! by Stephen Manes, 1982.“Some people want to be astronauts or ballet dancers or plumbers. Milo Crinkley wanted to be perfect.” So begins the story of Milo’s journey toward perfection.”Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!” Milo can’t resist trying it when the book by that title falls off the shelf at the library, hitting him on the head when he’s looking for a scary monster book. The picture of the author, Dr. K. Pinkerton Silverfish, looks a little strange, but Milo figures that it’s worth a try. After all, the book practically jumped off the shelves at him, begging to be read. Also, when Milo starts reading the pages, Dr. Silverfish practically seems to be reading his mind, even guessing that he’d try peeking at the end of the book to see how it ends. (“Didn’t I tell you not to look at the last page of this book? Do you want to become perfect or don’t you?”)But, Dr. Silverfish’s three-day program isn’t anything like Milo could have imagined. Could wearing a stalk of broccoli around his neck for an entire day really be a lesson in perfection? Or skipping all meals the next day? Or drinking weak tea? Dr. Silverfish is a bright man, and there are lessons to be learned, but as to whether or not Milo becomes perfect . . . don’t skip to the last page.
There is also a movie version of this book, but the last lesson is different in the movie version, giving the story a slightly different twist. In a way, I kind of like the movie’s twist a little better because it involves the reader doing something that he never thought that he could do. The final lesson of the movie was that, while no one is ever perfect, people can do many things that they never thought you could do, which can give them more confidence. The book focuses more on the boring nature of perfection. Both of the movie and the book do have the same basic theme: that there may be other options that are even better than perfection.