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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Tom DeHaven


Damn Near Perfect is the first section of the second draft of a novel. It is a romance and a coming-of-age story, about an conservatively raised young man, Reese McEwan. On a Mardi Gras visit to Louisiana, Reese falls in love with Noel Guillory, a bisexual poet finishing her last year at Louisiana State University. Reese also dreams of becoming a woodworker, and wants to serve as an apprentice at his family's furniture workshop; his parents oppose this wish and his relationship with Noel. From an affluent, Protestant background, Reese is a senior at Hampden-Sydney College, one of the last all male colleges in the U.S. He has been raised to take for granted his culture's very traditional, conservative values, and at the opening of the book has met with nothing to dispute these ideas. During the course of the novel, Reese abandons his education and traditional lifestyle. Because of his fascination with Noel and how she lives her life, he tries to become a part of her world, to his and her cost, and possibly to their benefit. Most of the novel is set in Baton Rouge, where Noel is finishing school at LSU, and where Reese goes to pursue her. The year is 1992. This first section is one hundred and four pages long, and covers the time from the beginning of Reese's visit to Louisiana, to when he goes back to school in Virginia. The second section, of about fifty pages or less, will cover his time back at college; until he decides to abandon his pursuit of a college degree and move to Baton Rouge permanently, in order to be with Noel and pursue a new career in woodworking. The final section, about one hundred pages in length, will cover Reese's attempts to build a relationship with Noel, and his frustrations with her much more liberal view of what a dating relationship should be.Damn Near Perfect explores how we decide who we will to grow up to be; what kind of relationship we want, what kind of person makes us happy, and what kind of person, in turn, we can make happy. It is about staking our claims to fulfillment - in love, work, and family, and about what our claims sometimes cost us.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008