28 Oct 2015


Jodi Picoult - Picture Perfect | Books Worth Reading | PinterestPICTURE PERFECT by JODI PICOULT.

INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: A woman wakes to find herself lying in a graveyard, hurt and bleeding, her memory wiped clean. She doesn't know what she's doing there - or even who she is.

She is rescued by a police officer, himself a newcomer to Los Angeles. After days of waiting, she is taken by complete surprise when she is finally identified by Alex Rivers, Hollywood's biggest movie star - and her husband.

Cassie is dazzled and bewildered by the fairytale in which she suddenly finds herself. But everything is not quite right, and there is something dark and disturbing behind this glamorous life. It is only as her memory gradually returns that her picture perfect life comes crumbling down, and Cassie is faced with choices she never dreamed she would have to make.

FIRST SENTENCE {1993}: Long ago on the shores of the Atlantic there lived a great warrior called Strong Wind.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 300}: She brought home minimum wages, a perfume mixed of grease and labor, and the leftover fish sticks and meatball subs.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

MY THOUGHTS: Despite my complaints that her books are formulaic I normally like Jodi Picoult's books - some more so than others, a lot depends on how much I'm interested in the topic/how much empathy I can muster for the characters at the heart of the story.

A bit different from the other books I've read, you'd think I'd be rejoicing and yet this is the only book of hers (so far) that I can say I didn't enjoy.

Trying desperately hard to review it without what may be considered spoilers but finding myself unable to do so I do hope I'm not giving too much away when I tell you that that the 'ethical dilemma' at the centre of Picture Perfect is domestic abuse.

And therein, for me, lies the major problem with the book.

Without going into my personal feelings too much on the subject of domestic violence lets just say that I struggled with the author trying so desperately (or so it seemed to me) to get the reader on-side with the violent Alex, to portray him as much a victim of his actions as his wife, Cassie.

However, the domestic violence aspect of the story aside. 

Poorly written: too much attention was given to minute details, a predictable plot, cliched characters, the passages regarding the nature of 'celebrity' uninteresting (dare I say boring?). The only vaguely redeeming feature about the whole novel being the Sioux aspect of the story and even then whilst the telling of the folklore was momentarily engaging I found it incredulous to believe that Cassie found herself in that situation and thus found myself having to put my feelings of disbelief aside and just go with the flow as it were.

Definitely not one of the author's better offerings. I was surprised to learn that this was actually her third novel (it was first published in 1995, her first, Songs Of The Humpback Whale, having been published in 1992, her second, Harvesting The Heart, in 1993) and not a recent one as I had convinced myself that it was as bad given the pressure she must be under to produce book after book on an almost a yearly basis. Oh well, knowing this perhaps I can put it down to her having to yet perfect her craft. 


Natasha Hill said...

Love the opening line, that would have hooked me for sure! It's always sad though when the story doesn't deliver as well. I've not read much of Jodi Picoult but I've heard she's good so I need to find some books of her and have a go! - Tasha

Lily B said...

I have not read Jodi Picoult's, thought my friends seem to love her. I like the plot for this, sounds exciting

Sherry Ellis said...

Sorry to hear this wasn't a good book. I would find it difficult to sympathize with an abusive person as well.

carol said...

I'm not much of a Picoult fan and this doesn't sound like one I'd enjoy no matter who the author was.

Suko said...

Tracy, thank you for your honest review. I've only read a handful of novels by this prolific author!

Kelly said...

I've finally put two books by this author on my wish list and will eventually move at least one of them to the TBR pile.

I'm sorry this one wasn't among her better books. Perhaps you're right and she just hadn't found her niche yet when it was published.

She was trying to get the reader to sympathize with the abuser? Odd.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Formulaic can be good or bad depending on my mood. Sorry this one didn't work out for you, but I'd probably think the same and feel that she was still learning at this stage.

Romance Reader said...

Hi Tracy,

I loved how you picked apart all the things you liked or not. I also like a story to move fast and not be bogged down by too much minute details of setting.

And domestic violence is always...unexplainable. Though one can be on the side of the abuser.

Melliane said...

Oh sorryit was like that for this one... many things to take in account

Betty Manousos said...

hi tracy, i'm sorry it didn't work out for you. i hope your next read is better! i've not read much of jodi picoult but i've heard she's good so i need to check out more of her books. thanks for your honest review.

big hugs!

Brian Joseph said...

Based on your commentary it does sound like this book handles the issue of domestic violence in an odd way.

I think that I would have the same problem that you had with this issue.

Literary Feline said...

I am sorry this one didn't work for you, Tracy, although now you've got me curious whereas before I wasn't at all! Funny how that works sometimes.

ClaudineGueh@CarryUsOffBooks said...

I haven't read any of her books but I have an ex-student and a very good friend who both love her stories.

So many books, so little time said...

I gave this 4/5 according to Goodreads but it was in 2010 so before I wrote reviews a lot. I do enjoy JP writing although that is a tough subject.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Gingi Freeman said...

I've been meaning to read something from this author for awhile now.. need to bump it higher up on my list! - www.domesticgeekgirl.com