Book Review: Perfect Match

Perfect Match by Jodie Picoult. Reviewed by Kris Harding

Jodi Picoult is amazing. Her first book, Songs of the Humpback Whale, showed such insight and wisdom that the Los Angeles Times Book Review said, “Jodi Picoult is a more convincing argument for reincarnation that anything Shirley MacLaine has ever written: How could a 26-year-old first novelist have so much knowledge of marriage, of mothering a teenager, of separation and reconciliation, unless she’s been down this road before in another guise? Picoult’s imagination is formidable.”

And the fourteen books that followed have all been just as remarkable.  Picoult tackles controversial, topical subjects and does not shy away from the tough questions.

Picoult studied Creative Writing at Princeton and later pursued a master’s in education at Harvard. She worked as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as an ad copywriter, a textbook editor and an eighth grade English teacher before marrying and writing her first book while she was pregnant with the first of her three children.  She’s won numerous awards including a lifetime achievement award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America, had two of her titles debut at number one on the New York Times Best Seller List and has recently written five issues of Wonder Woman for DC Comics (as if she weren’t cool enough already.) Her books have been translated into thirty-four languages. Three have been made into Lifetime TV movies – The Pact, Plain Truth, and The Tenth Circle . My Sister’s Keeper is available on DVD at the library, with Nick Cassavetes directing and starring Abigail Breslin, Cameron Diaz, Jason Patric, and Alec Baldwin.

In Perfect Match a dedicated prosecutor ends up on the other side of the law when her five year old son is molested. Nina Frost knows how the legal system fails children; how their competency is questioned when they are at their most vulnerable; how they are further traumatized by having to face the monster, who hurt them, in the courtroom and being forced to relive a life-shattering experience in front of a room full of strangers; how charges are often dropped when all they have is the child’s word; how even a successful prosecution often leads to a sentence so short the molester will be out before the child is even an adult. And she will do literally anything to protect her now mute son, Nathaniel.  As always Picoult uses multiple viewpoints, so we also get into the heads of the Nina’s child, her husband Caleb, and her best friend Patrick, a police detective she’s known since childhood.  Though it’s the story of more than one unforgiveable act, the book is about love, family, forgiveness, about moral dilemmas, second chances and the things of which we did not realize we were capable.  And of course there is more than one twist you might not expect.

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