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Perfect Match - Jodi Picoult

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Author: Jodi Picoult / Genre: Fiction

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      27.05.2012 14:12
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      A wrenching story with line a how far someone should or would go to protect someone they love

      I have read a few of Jodi Picoult's books now and have yet to be disappointed. This times choice was Perfect Match.

      ****THE STORY****

      The Frost family are not unlike many working families. Nina is a prosecutor for the district attorney's office and her husband Caleb is stonework builder, with just one son, Nathaniel aged 5.

      Things are ticking alone when suddenly everything comes crashing down when they discover Nathaniel has been sexually abused - but by who?
      The world of the law for which Nina stood for hard and fast becomes a blurred line; what she feels as a mother and her knowledge of the legal system.

      ****WHAT I THOUGHT****

      At the start of the book is the prologue. Now when I read this I was disappointed, I thought why are they telling me what happens at the end? I don't want to know. Having read her books before I carried on reading and discovered that this prologue is actually only half the way through the story, so persist it's worth it!
      The story took me a couple of chapters to get into the story, unlike some of Picoult's other books where I have been captured from the start.
      You meet Patrick who is a childhood friend of Nina's, continuing colleague, confidante and somewhat unfrequented love. The relationship between him and Nina develops further as Nathaniel's abuse is discovered as she leans to him, when she cannot lean to her husband.
      Caleb is a strong man in the physical sense but in the home is often outweighed by his wife's lawyer abilities to negotiate and take hold of situation. This is none more prevalent than when Caleb is accused of being the abuser, with the instant reactions to push him away and defend her child. Nina jumps to conclusions as Nathaniel identifies "father" as the abuser - does father necessarily mean dad?

      It is very early on in the book that you realise Nathaniel's abuse and I have to admit I found this difficult to read, it is an uncomfortable subject and although the story is fiction, you as the reader are well aware it sadly happens.
      Nathaniel's character is a gem of childhood imaginative creativity, creating his little bubble to try and protect himself in the only way he knows how. As a five year old I like the way Picoult has explained his reasoning and thoughts to what is happening.

      When what happens in the prologue occurs in the story I am completely in understanding of why she has done what she has done. There is a very fine line drawn as the book says " What happens when you do all the wrong things for the right reasons?" It becomes an eye for an eye situation and pushes the boundaries of what you feel and how you think you would cope if it was you on the other end.
      However, what happens if that is wrong and you were not right? Has Nina jumped to conclusions again and got it wrong?
      The story takes many twists as you get further into the story and who you think is the abuser is not necessarily the case, the story is not cut and dry.

      I was captured by the story right until the end and was emotionally pleased with the outcome but legal not so sure.......


      Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult can be bought for around £5-7 new, from only a few pence used and £4.99 as Kindle. Found in many bookstores, www.ebay.co.uk, www.amazon.co.uk

      Review maybe posted on ciao and dooyoo under the same username.

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        30.08.2010 20:54
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        worth a read

        This is a review of the book "Perfect Match" by Jodi Picoult. I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them but I was a little apprehensive about this one; the subject matter was really dark and I wondered if it would upset me too much. I also thought the 2 for £3 sticker on the cover may indicate this was a less than amazing read but I think it actually was a good read so excellent value for money!

        A brief bit about the story line
        The lead character, Nina Frost is an Assistant District Attorney and a mother of five year old Nathaniel. Husband Caleb is first suspect in line for sexual abuse on their son. Then when his name is cleared it's the local 'Father' (Priest) who appears to have done the deed. The test on mother's love is apparent when she hastily takes her revenge out on the Priest.

        It's a cleverly written book...
        Which keeps you guessing throughout and considering the harrowing subject matter, is handled well without being too graphic. I liked the twists and turns in the plot and had guessed the ending (which of course I won't give away here) well before it was revealed in the book.

        The bit I liked best was...
        How Nina handled the allegation towards her husband and Nathaniel's father, Caleb. What would you do if you even suspected someone you had trusted all your married life with your most precious belonging? Nina takes out a restraining order to keep him away and her son safe but you can also feel that she never really believes he is capable of doing something like this. Caleb in turn is hurt, yet he appears to understand Nina's position and respectfully keeps his distance despite how much it is hurting him to be apart from his beloved son.

        Could have been a film?
        I can see how well this book would have turned its hand to an amazing motion picture. All the storyline is there which would keep you guessing and the detective storyline would have made a fantastic movie. The book was first published in 2005 though so I guess it would have happened by now if it was going to be made into a film.

        Not for the easily distressed
        It still has to be acknowledged that the subject matter of the book is extremely sad and distressing. Although the author handles it in a respectful and informed manner, I can imagine it would not be to everyone's taste as there are parts in the book, for example where semen is found on the little boy's pants and used as evidence, which is just so sad but on the other hand, it's not just being sensationalist, as it is essential to the storyline.

        Final word
        I would recommend this as a good read. The book took me only two days to gallop through but I was on a holiday in a rainy UK location so the boredom factor probably guided me back to my book many times!

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          06.05.2010 17:39
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          Someone could have made great detective book out of it.

          A Perfect Match is the story of how one couple dealt with the horror of the sexual abuse of their young child.
          The central characters of the book are Nina and Caleb Frost, their five year old son Nathaniel and Nina's best friend, Detective Patrick Ducharme.
          The main story comes with a side order of unrequited love that does little to enhance its depth and I couldn't help thinking that it was little more than a fluffy filling to wad out what should have been a powerful tale in itself.
          Jody Picoult steers the reader through the extremes of emotion that the discovery that their child has suffered sexual abuse, evokes in the parents and particularly the mother, an assistant district attorney in Maine, New England.
          I say "steers" because I felt remarkably untouched by the emotions that Nina was feeling and as a mother myself I can barely imagine the dark place of horror and pain of such an event, but I have to say that Judy Picoult didn't take me there. This is not to say that I think her a poor writer, quite the contrary. She writes some beautifully descriptive text but the character of Nina left me cold.

          The book is primarily about the rights and wrongs of a mother's actions in doing what she feels she has to do, in order to protect her child. Nina, however, appeared to be a rather hard and calculating figure and I didn't find it easy to empathise with her or her actions at all. Strange because as a mother, I know that there are no limits as to the lengths I would go to protect my children.
          The father, Caleb, despite being a somewhat weak individual (who seems to tolerate his wife's close friendship with another man who is clearly in love with her, without a second thought) is genuinely close to his son but we don't really get to understand what it is that anchors this successful woman to him nor do we get more than a passing glance at his feelings after the discovery of the abuse.

          Although I was quickly hooked early on in the book I did find the middle tedious, the court case, all 60 odd pages is little more than a rehash of the story so far and a courtroom drama, gripping or otherwise, it is not. This is perhaps partly due to the nature of the case. It was academic as to whether the victim was shot and by whom as this was never in doubt and I found that I didn't really care about the verdict by the end.

          The abuser's story was not even touched upon and I can't help thinking that there was a missed opportunity here to bring the story to life. I was left wondering what sort of man he was and how he felt about himself.
          The great pity is that there were some surprising facts, for example the DNA thread was fascinating and there was a glimpse of a tale in the bone marrow donation that could have been developed. In short there was a huge amount to build a story around here but the author chose to concentrate on the one issue which for me, just did not work.

          The ending of the book was almost predictable and I didn't feel that there were any great surprises there. A pity really, because I feel that there is a great book to be had on this topic but sadly this isn't it.

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            18.04.2010 19:22
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            a fantastic read

            The books written by Jodi Picoult are undoubtedly gripping and though-provoking. Every time I come across one of her books that I haven't read, I must buy or borrow it. 'Perfect Match' is another one that I couldn't put down.

            Nina Frost is an assistant district attorney. She works on the cases that tear families apart: child sexual abuse. She is very devoted to her cases and knows the procedures inside out. She also has a five-year old son Nathaniel and is trying to raise him with her husband Caleb. They would never think that their child could be sexually abused but unfortunately, it does happen one day.

            Nina tries to protect her little boy that stopped speaking. She has no idea who has done it to him and she knows that very often a child isn't strong enough to speak for himself/herself and she doesn't want Nathaniel to stand up on a trial. She is also aware of the fact the if he doesn't testify, then the chances of putting the accused in jail aren't high.

            There is no good solution to this problem and Nina knows it. Instead, she decides to take the matters in her own hands and does something utterly crazy, resulting in being arrested herself.

            I am sure that Nina's actions and responds to this extremely difficult situation can be understood by all parents (at least mothers). But unlike other parents, she is aware of the system's flaws and the way she can and cannot deal with this situation.

            Her husband, Caleb, cannot believe that Nina puts him through all of this. He is shocked and - as it seems to me - a bit lost. As a father, he doesn't seem to have that much power but yet he tries to do everything to protect Nathaniel.

            There isn't much to say about Nathaniel though; he is a little, scared boy that tries to be brave but refuses to speak to anyone after his tragedy. I really pity him because he is innocent and no one ever deserves to be sexually abused.

            'Perfect Match' shows perfectly well how strong maternal love can be. You can also see how much a mother is able to do when her beloved one is in danger. It makes you think how far you would go as a parent to protect your child and whether you can do all the wrong things for the right reasons.

            This book made me also feel a bit frustrated as I realised that there is no good way to protect the sexually abused children. It also made me feel really aggressive about the abuser as it was very difficult to find and punish him.

            'Perfect Match' is extremely interesting and utterly gripping - I literally couldn't put it down because I had to find out what will happen next. It isn't straightforward and when you think you know what is going to occur now, something completely different happens. The language isn't too complicated so I think all the non-native speakers shouldn't have problems with reading it.

            So if you are a fan of Jodi Picoult, you won't be disappointed. It is a great, though-provoking read.

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              15.04.2010 12:32
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              A great novel by Jodi Picoult!

              I first read a Jodi Picoult book back in 2008, when I devoured the brilliant Nineteen Minutes in not much longer! Following that excellent read, I began buying her other novels and quickly finished Plain Truth straight after I had read Nineteen Minutes. But then I had a long gap and it was around eighteen months until I read another of her novels, though I'm not sure why!

              But after reading a disappointing novel by my beloved Tess Gerritsen (Bloodstream), I wanted to have a great book to compensate - so I turned once again to Jodi Picoult and picked out a book from my collection - Perfect Match. I picked it up to begin reading - and only stopped some 200 pages later! Wow!

              How reassuring to find another book I want to engross myself in for hours, to carry around with me, to creep off to bed early to read... Being the Easter holidays, I was happily offering computer time to my surprised children, as I disappeared off somewhere with my next hundred pages calling me...

              So, what's Perfect Match all about then? As any fans of Jodi Picoult will know, there's bound to be some legal trial coming up and yes, you're right, that's central to this one too.

              We meet our leading lady early on - Nina Frost, assistant district attorney in Maine, USA. (Incidentally, Gerritsen's Bloodstream was set in Maine too.) She's professional, efficient, confident and competent - what you might expect from her choice of career. But there's another side to her too, her home life and here, we meet her husband Caleb and her son Nathaniel.

              Caleb is self-employed and works outdoors, building walls and other stonework. He comes across as nice enough, but a bit uncharismatic. However, Nina loves him and they're happily married, both successful and living a pretty good life really.

              They both love little Nathaniel, who's just five years old. A real sweetheart, he seems to have a great life too and everything seems fine. Then one day, he just stops talking. They take him for some medical tests, culminating in a meeting with Dr. Robichaud, who is a psychiatrist. While he's there, Nathaniel's actions lead the psychiatrist to believe the little boy has been sexually abused.

              Further physical examinations prove an assault has taken place, which sends Nina and Caleb's life into instant turmoil. Of course, any parent in that situation must feel awful, we can all sympathise with that. But for Nina, it is arguably even worse. Part of her job is working with abused children whose parents are hoping for a conviction. She knows how traumatic it can be for young children to face a scary courtroom and tell strangers there all about the abuse they have suffered. There is no way she wants Nathaniel to go through that - but how can she prevent it?

              I don't want to go into too much of the plot from here, as it is full of twists and turns, shocks and surprises. The novel does start with a brief court scene, then the story goes back in time to explain how the first scene took place.

              There are many themes covered in Perfect Match and the main one is - How far would a parent go to protect their child? And how far SHOULD they go? As a mother myself, it is something I have thought of before and I'm sure we have all considered similar topics. I see myself as quite a calm, peaceful and non-aggressive woman, yet I know I would fight to protect my kids, if I really had to.

              We've all watched the News and heard about the nursery school teacher sexually abusing young children in her care, or the Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse, or the care home workers. It's all around us. Each time, we feel anger. We understand when people shout at the accused in the dock or if they break the windows of their homes. But no-one really knows how you would react, until it happens to you - and hopefully, it won't.

              But it happens to the Frosts - and Nina's actions have a big affect on both Caleb and Nathaniel. This is fascinating to watch how their relationships change and it seems very realistic and believable. It is easy to picture the characters and you get to know them well.

              Although some reviewers have suggested Nina is rather a cold character, I found her easy to relate to, simply as a mother and I did like her. Nathaniel seems very accurate too. It is hard to write a voice for a five year old, but Picoult does a great job.

              The slight problem I had was with Caleb, who never seemed to develop into anything more than a grey shadow. It might just be because I didn't like him. I really wanted Nina to leave him and go off with Patrick Ducharme, the policeman who has loved her for years. He comes across as much warmer than Caleb and I felt I knew Patrick better and liked him much more too.

              But this is only a slight criticism and didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel. It really is a great read. It is well-paced and exciting, but also quite deep, as it throws up lots of issues and situations that make you think and wonder what you would do in that position.

              It is definitely the sort of book that could be read in a couple of hours - or a couple of days in my case, as real life kept getting in the way! The novel itself is around 400 pages long, but each page seemed to fly by and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story. I rated it 9 out of 10 and would definitely recommend it.

              The paperback edition of Perfect Match is currently selling for £4.97 on Amazon UK, but I was lucky enough to pick my copy up for 50p from the local charity shop.


              The Jodi Picoult books I have read, with my ratings -

              Nineteen Minutes, 9.5/10
              Plain Truth, 9/10
              Perfect Match, 9/10

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                04.06.2009 22:06
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                a fab book which is impossible to put down!

                Perfect match is an amazing book by Jodi Picoult!

                The story is about a mother who finds out their 5 year old son has been sexually abused and the determination of the mother to bring justice. The mother, Nina, is an inspirational character whos torn between doing what is morally right but legaly wrong.

                The story is gripping and definitley thought provoking. It makes you wonder how far you would go to protect your child and whether you would step over the line of the law to do so.

                The book flows easily and it an addictive read. i just could not put the book down and finished it in a couple of days. The characters are all believable and im sure it would make a fantastic read for anyone!

                Throughout the book you can really empaphise with the strong emotions of the characters and it will have you feeling the same!

                This is a fantastic book filled with strong emotions and will have you thinking about your own reactions in the same situation. This is definitly one of Jodi Picoults top books!

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                  22.05.2009 12:45
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                  This book really opened my eyes, however was very hard going.

                  Perfect Match was the first Jodi Picoult book I have read. I did not have any expectations, my Mum had borrowed it from the library for me.

                  I do not want to give away the plot of the book as that would spoil it so I have to gloss round the edges. The book follows a couple Nina and Caleb, and their young son. The start of the book shows the son showing character traits which are unusal so the parents take him to a child psychiatrist. The story goes on to divulge what happened to him and how it rips the family apart, with the underlying theme, of how far exactly a mother goes to protect her son.

                  I found the beginning chapter quite predictably, you could see that by portraying a rushing mum you would then feel her guilt later on once the crime was revealed. One thing that I found really good was how the author managed to balance people opinions. There was no obvious right or wrong, you could sympathise with things that you wouldn't normally and it really made you question your judgement, and for me that makes a good book.

                  Im not going to lie a lot of the book was hard going. A black cloud hangs over you as you read it as it is full of darkness and depression. The subject matter, although dealt with very delicately, is upsetting to some and I would not recommend this to anyone that may find this disturbing.

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                    11.01.2009 00:35
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                    A true test of how far a mother will go

                    This was the first book of Jodi Picoult's that i read and i have to say i could not put it down.

                    Not only does it tug at the heart strings but it's got several fabs twists throughout making you head reel at each turn of the page.

                    All of Jodi's books are court room based drama's and it atsonishing at how much knowledge and passion she puts into her writting - i'd much prefer to see something like Jodi's books turned into a film or tv based drama than some of the rubbish thats been released.

                    This book does not just question the justice system but how far any mother will go to protect their child.

                    Other reviews have already explained the plot of this book so i wont give you all the plot again.

                    However this has to be an all time greatest read and i urge to take the time to read this fanatstic book !!

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                      17.12.2008 11:25
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                      The style is easy reading but the subject matter is a bit heavier

                      I have read a few of Jodi Picoult's books as I find her style easy to read and her characters realistic. "Perfect Match" was the latest book I read after finding it in a charity shop four days ago. I was so desperate to find out what happens at the end that I have barely been able to put it down!


                      PLOT
                      Jodi Picoult is renowned for writing novels about moral dilemmas that readers can only pray they never have to face. And this book is no exception. Nina Frost is an assistant district attorney who prosecutes people who commit sex crimes. She lives with her husband Caleb and five year old son Nathaniel and has a close relationship with Patrick, a policeman and childhood friend. However when the usually outgoing Nathaniel suddenly becomes mute, career-focused Nina has to turn her full attention to her son. They take him to a child psychiatrist and discover that he has been sexually abused.

                      Nina, who works with child sex abuse cases every day, knows that it is rare to secure a conviction. Plus she does not want to put Nathaniel through the distress of taking the stand. So she takes the law into her own hands. When the perpetrator is finally identified, Nina shoots him in the courtroom.

                      What follows is Nina trying to justify and come to terms with her actions, as well as salvage her relationships with her husband and son. She works with her one-time adversary Fisher Carrington, a defence attorney, to plead insanity in order to prevent a lengthy jail sentence.

                      As with other Picoult books, the plot is not straightforward and there are a few twists that keep the story alive, including an interesting and unexpected twist at the end.


                      CHARACTERS
                      Picoult is excellent at creating characters and I found Nina realistic and flawed. I can imagine why she was driven to do what she did, particularly as she watches child molesters walk free every day due to lack of evidence. She was so hell-bent on revenge that it never occurred to her just how her actions would affect her son, and that although she has killed the person responsible, she may end up leaving her son without a mother if she is jailed. And how can she continue to protect him once she is in jail?

                      Caleb is not as well developed as Nina but his devotion to his son and confusion over his feelings for Nina are well crafted and realistic. The twist at the end of the book involves Caleb and it left me viewing him in a very different light.

                      Picoult always manages to create realistic child characters and the sections of the novel from Nathaniel's point of view contain wonderful childlike observations.

                      Patrick was likeable in his loyalty to Nina and his relationship with Nathaniel but I found his infatuation with her a bit pathetic and somewhat distracting.


                      STYLE
                      The story is told from various points of view which give the reader a wide insight to everything that is happening. Nina's sections are told in first person so that we know exactly what is going on inside her head, whereas the rest of the novel is in third person. The style is easy to read as it is easy to identify who's point of view we are reading.


                      MY OPINION
                      I found the story quite slow to start with although the prologue had me hooked (the prologue is Nina shooting the alleged perpetrator in the courtroom). When the story starts, it goes back to the day Nathaniel became mute. I also found the story repetitive in parts and found myself scanning over some sections of text later in the book. This is a problem I find in a few of Picoult's books; we read what happens to the characters but then we have to read it again when the case goes to court and the witnesses are cross-examined. Sometimes this can be interesting as it can show how attorneys can twist the words of witnesses but at other times it is just a re-hash of what we already know.

                      The amount of research undertaken by Picoult for her novels is, as always, excellent. There is a twist regarding a DNA sample that is so obscure I would never have imagined it possible, and which gives the novel its title.

                      I would say that this book would make hard reading for anyone who is a parent. I am not a parent but I found myself feeling Nina's anger and frustration as well as great sorrow as she feels she has failed as a mother by not protecting her son, and indeed by pushing him towards his abuser.

                      This is an emotive and well written novel and Picolut has handled a delicate subject with great tact. It will make you think, and wonder if a wrong action can ever be right if it is done for the right reason.

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                        02.01.2008 19:32
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                        May be too upsetting for some people, but it is a great book

                        Perfect Match is one of the best, yet one of the hardest books I have ever read. It is definitely a difficult read due to its subject matter. As a parent, it's somewhat uncomfortable reading the harsh truths the book details.

                        One of the things hardest to read, is something that I guess we all know, but don't want to face up to; the fact that child abusers do not come with a sign announcing the fact. The book describes them as "the neighbour next door, watering his forsythia...the stranger who smiled across the elevator...the kind of man who took a toddler's hand to help him cross the street." Of course, deep down we know this, especially; unfortunately, in the world we live in today we are no longer naive about this. There is however something difficult about reading and accepting the fact that if you were to meet a child abuser you would probably be none the wiser.

                        The main character, Nina Frost knows this more than most, as she is a district attorney and has met many convicted child molesters before and is well aware that they don't come branded announcing their vice, that it is "hidden under a soft, grandfatherly smile; it's tucked in the pocket of a button down shirt." The book states the most frightening fact of all. They look just like anyone and they have wives and girlfriends that they have loved them unaware - which begs the question, if even those closest were none the wiser then what chance in hell do we stand of knowing who is a danger to our child and who isn't.

                        The book deals with a lot of harsh realities, as a parent it can be very hard to read and to have to accept these things as true. For example, if the worst was to happen and anything did happen to your child, the book teaches us through Nina Frost, that justice for the child is rarely if ever done.

                        The book starts off going into a lot of detail about how as district attorney that is constantly dealing with cases of child abuse, Nina Frost knows more than most that even on the rare occasion that the child is found competent to stand trial, and that they win the hearing, which is rare since a lot of the case is based on a child's word only, that the child never really wins. She describes one case she won where the defendant spent three years in jail, and the victim spent seven years in therapy; "you can't convince me that a competency hearing itself doesn't traumatize a child. You cannot convince me that even if I win that hearing, somehow the child doesn't".

                        In order for the reader to understand why Nina may subsequently act as she does the book has to make us feel how she feels, make us see that although justice must be done it never really is and added to the abuse the child has endured, the trial itself will traumatise them, and due to the mother most often being used as a witness, she is not even allowed in the room whilst the child is on the stand, leaving the child with no sense of security at all whilst standing just a few feet away from their abuser.

                        Added to everything that the child has been through, there is then the fact that for the defence lawyer, it is almost easy to discredit what the child is saying, as it is easier to manipulate what a child is saying and change its meaning.

                        Before anything happens to Nina's son, although she cares, she can distance herself somewhat to anything that has happened to the people she is working for. She cares and wants to make a difference but knows there is only so much she can do. Her advice initially to one mother whose child has been found incompetent to stand trial is that simply in a few years she could try again and may be found competent. However after hearing the mother's response; "By the time she's older...he will have done it to her a thousand more times", she advises the woman that if it was her, she would take her child and run.

                        The book also faces the harsh reality that even when tragedy of any kind occurs, the world does not stop and you still have to deal with the every day trivial things.

                        Nina is the main character, and it has been said that she is somewhat hard to relate to or warm to. I found this to be untrue. I could see exactly where Nina was coming from. Maybe it's a case of as a mother, or even a parent, you can understand that need to protect your child, and to do whatever it takes to do so. The book also deals with the pain and guilt of when you have failed to protect your child.

                        When Nathaniel breaks his arm as a two year old, Nina goes through the same feeling, that I'm sure all parents have felt at one point or another. Quite simply, I'd give anything, for my child not to be hurting; "The whole time I was thinking that I would gladly break my arm, my heart, myself, if it meant my son wouldn't have to hurt like this." I think the inclusion of this is important because not only does it make anyone as a parent remember a time they've felt that and therefore be able to feel where Nina is coming from, it also draws a comparison - if you feel that bad when your child is hurt, imagine how you would feel if damage had been done that could not be repaired in a matter of weeks like a broken arm.

                        Nina struggles with the fact that her son still has one hundred percent faith in her that she will keep him safe, when all she can think of is that she didn't protect him from this happening, going through that heart wrenching guilt of, if only I'd been there, if only I'd been watching, I could have prevented this from happening; "This makes me feel sick - that he should choose me to keep him safe, when I have already failed miserably"

                        Because the book is told through the eyes of someone who has seen both sides of things; the legal and the personal, it balances both sides well. It shows that, as a district attorney, things seem so clear cut, black and white, but once something is personal and has happened to you it is a different thing all together.

                        It describes the fact that although the legal system is supposed to work, and although outsiders will care to an extent, no amount of legal terms; penetration, molestation etc hold the weight that the sentence "someone raped my son" will hold with that child's parent. It also highlights how even though people are working in her child's best interests, they don't know all the little things that used to make him, all the silly questions and little things he has done, and therefore they can not possibly care enough.

                        As a reader, we are seeing through Nina's eyes in her chapters, so we do see it how she see's it, and this allows us as the reader the compassion and understanding to see why Nina acts the way she does, be it legally and morally right or wrong.

                        She also realises how even though she felt she was doing the best she could for children whose cases she's worked on in the past, she knows she hasn't, because once it's her son, it is simply not enough; "I tell the parents I'd do anything to get that monster in jail. I tell the parents that in their shoes I'd do whatever it takes, including putting their child on the stand. But now I'm the parent, and it is my child, and that changes everything."

                        Nina feels that she hasn't done anything wrong; she see's her actions as saving her son, and that that is what a mother is supposed to do. Therefore, how could whatever she has done be seen as a horrible thing; "Don't judge me, I'd say, until you've seen the view from here. You are only as invincible as your smallest weakness, and those are tiny indeed - the length of a baby's eyelash, the span of a child's hand. Life turns on a dime, and - it turns out - so does one's conscience"

                        Another hard, but also nice thing to read in the book, was Nathaniel's unfaltering confidence in Nina to protect him. "'Mom . . .Do you always catch the bad guys?'. . .'Not always'. . .'Most of the time?'. . .'Well . . . at least half'. . .'I guess that's good enough to be a superhero' "

                        As well as the difficult topic of the actual child abuse, and the mother and child coping with that, is the knock on effect on everyone else's life. With everyone going through so much it is bound to put a strain on Nina and Caleb's marriage. The book details how the two cope with the situation so differently, with Caleb being the opposite of Nina and just wanting things to go back to normal; telling Nathaniel off for things he would have told him off for three weeks ago, because he doesn't want to treat him differently just because this has happened, whereas Nina wants to wrap him in cotton wool.

                        Caleb also has the difficult task of trying to love a woman who he has known every little bit of so deeply, but has changed so much that a stranger may as well have been put in her place. The book follows his struggle with the fact that he no longer knows her at all and the bitter truth that having her around is making life more difficult. The book deals with the difficult notion that you can hate someone and love them at the same time.

                        Just to add a bit more strain and confusion, there is Patrick, Nina's best friend who has silently loved her since childhood. Caleb has been aware of this, but comforted by the fact that Nina is with him and that it has always been envy, coming from something you want but have never had, in Patrick's eyes, when he sees Caleb and Nina together. With the strain on Caleb and Nina's marriage and Nina's obvious need for some comfort and understanding through everything she's going through, will Patrick get what he's always wanted?

                        I think this book is best aimed at parents, as I feel as a parent you can relate most to what this book is about, the absolute horror of the worst happening to your child. I do warn you though, although as a parent you will probably understand it best, it will also be hardest for you to read. Expect to cry, a lot. Expect to hold onto your child's hand that bit tighter, as if we didn't need more fear putting into us already.

                        The writing style is good; it is split into chapters for different characters. Nina's is the only one written in first person, and it shows us exactly how she feels and helps us identify with her. The fact that the other characters also have chapters gives the book a balanced feel and lets us understand why everyone is behaving how they are, rather than just being on one persons 'side' so to speak.

                        I would say this book is suitable for any adult, so long as they are prepared for how hard it can be to read. I think the book is aimed mainly at parents, as although it may be more difficult for them to read, they can also relate to it that bit more too. That said, I do think any adult could read it, so long as they can cope with the subject matter.

                        I would say this book is definitely worth reading at least once and is one that I would possibly read again one day, which is saying something as I very rarely do that. It is not however a light easy read so I wouldn't recommend it if you don't like anything to heavy.

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                          19.12.2007 15:15
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                          Disturbing but well worth reading.

                          I am what is known as a major fan of Jodi Picoult's work...or at least most of it...and this one was no disappointment. Jodi Picoult has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you know all of her characters personally, if you saw them in the street you'd recognise them immediately and this book is no exception. It is touching, heartfelt, deeply sad and yet also very funny on occasions...it is a book that shows the bounds to which a mother will go to protect her child...and how the American Justice system works in ways which maybe many would rather not know about.

                          Boring Stuff:
                          Title: Perfect Match
                          Author: Jodi Picoult
                          Price: £7.99
                          Publisher: Hodder Paperback
                          ISBN: 978-0340897225
                          Pages: 416

                          Basic Plot:
                          Once again Jodi Picoult has picked a controversial issue to write a novel on. On this occasion it's sexual abuse and murder. But that's only the outside of the novel. That's what you see if you are only looking at the barest outlines of the plot. Because this story is far more about a mother who will move mountains for her son and the question: How far should a mother go to protect her child? Beyond the law? And the other main issue is the American Justice system, and how it so often works on the side of the offender rather than the victim...particularly in cases involving child abuse...
                          Anyhow, Nathaniel Frost - Nina Frost's 5 year old son - suddenly stops talking. As in stops talking point blank. Nothing can convince him to let a word slide through his lips...so Nina - a high flying court attorney - tries to find out what is going on. While in a psychologists room it is noted that Nathaniel is playing with a doll...in a compromising position, that a 5 year old should have no reason to know let alone mimic. It appears sexual abuse is on the cards. While trying to solve the mystery of the abuser by teaching Nathaniel sign language the sign for 'Father' comes up, and Nathaniel repeats it, and repeats it, and repeats it until it is almost certain that he is trying to tell them something. Thinking as any mother would, that the father is to blame Nina takes out an immediate restraining order against Caleb, her husband.
                          This is the first twist of many in the book, and one the reader cannot quite believe, particularly as it is so early on...and conversations go into whether Nathanielhas ever called his dad 'Father', now if you call your Dad 'Daddy', who else would you call Father? Hint: It involves the Catholic Church. I can't mention much more of the basic plot without unravelling the whole thing as it is all so interlinked. But to add twist after twist Nina murders the accused rapist...but was it the right priest; and this is where the real story starts as such...the questions asked are plentiful: Was Nina right? How far should a mother go to protect her child? Does the leagl system adequately protect a child from harm? How could this be improved? If the legal system cannot protect a child from harm, does the mother then have the right to take the law into her own hands???

                          When doing my psychology course we went to a conference where a real murderer was speaking to us. He'd been in a similar situation as Nina, he'd split from his wife several years back and she had got custody of the kids but he had found out that her new husband was abusing his 3 children and the mother had watched it. After trying for several years to get custody off his ex-wife he snapped...he bought a gun, went to his ex-wife's house, then shot her, and said if the husband had been there he'd have shot him too. He paid his 20 years in jail, and he said that although he knew they couldn't have put him in for such a short amount of time, that if he'd have been in there for 3 months he'd never have put a foot out of line again, but after 20 years he'd been there, done that and seen the worst possible, if he was at risk of re-offending prison wouldn't stop him. But I think the most sticking line he said was 'If I went back in time, but knowing all that I know now, I'd still do exactly the same. I know it's not what you'd want to here, but I'd do exactly the same'. It does bring some questions up about what is right and wrong, and when you're desperate you'll do things that others will think are evil.

                          Characters:
                          Nina Frost: District attorney Frost. Not the most likeable character in the world; but then again, who likes lawyers? However she is faced with a major problem, as an attorney, she knows darn well that the law WILL fail her child. She knows the chances of them getting convicted are low. And she knows that even if they get convicted, they'll be out of prison before the victim is out of therepy...and she wants to protect her son. This leaves the reader with a major question; is Nina right to protect her child even by taking the law into her own hands - or should she have just let the law do the job it supposedly does best.

                          Caleb Frost: Nina's husband and Nathaniel's father. Other than being the first suspect he actually has very little to do in the book suprisingly...the only interesting bit with him is the love triangle between him, Patrick and Nina...in which he's married to Nina but Patrick has always loved her...a rather nice point in the novel surrounding this:

                          'And although the guy is something of an albatross, his relationship with Nina has never really bothered Caleb, because when push comes to shove HE was the one sleeping with Nina every night.
                          But Caleb has not been sleeping with Nina.
                          He squeezes his eyes shut, as if this might block out the memory of Patrick turning away abruptly when Nina put her arms around Caleb. Tha, in and of itself wasn't disturbing - Caleb could list a hundred times that Nina has smiled at him in the other man's presence that unsettled Patrick in some way...even if Nina never seemed to see. In fact, there had been times Caleb even felt sorry for Patrick, for the blatent jealousy on his face a moment before he masks it.
                          Today, though, it wasn't envy in Patrick's eyes. It was grief. And that is why Caleb cannot pull away from the incident, cannot stop picking the moment apart like a carrion vulture going for the bone. Envy, after all, comes from wanting something that isn't yours.
                          But grief comes from losing something you've already had.'

                          It's an interesting one, and begs the question, do we really know the person that we love at all...

                          Nathienel Frost: The five year old focus of the story...a boy whose been badly hurt and in typical child fashion thinks he's to blame...on several occasions you see him blaming himself - like when his mother got arrested after being let out on bail because he'd run towards a man she wasn't meant to speak to and she'd gone after him. On each of the occasions when he blames himself he stops speaking - as if to say that it happened because I opened my mouth, and I won't make the same mistake again...a very well written character that shows just how much a 5 year old can hurt...He's very well characterised to give credit where due and some of the comments he makes are very astute...because of his age you hear more about him than from him, but at the end of book sections it's split up by what appears to be his thought processes which is very clever...

                          Patrick: A police officer who loves Nina more than life itself and would do anything for her 'except lie'. He is one of the few characters in the book that you really feel for the whole way through. He keeps himself near Nina because he cares for her, but cares enough for her that he will let her have Caleb, as that's what makes her happy. He plays a main role in the novel due to his relationship with Nina, and his role as a copper in a court case...which begs another question, as n expert witness, surely he's biased.

                          Father Szyszynski: The first main suspect for the abuse...can't say much more than that without giving the game away...

                          There are other characters...but these are the main 5 around whom the novel revolves...

                          Religion:
                          The use of a priest for the sexual abuse captures contraversial ideas once again, which is no big suprise considering that most of her books are controversial...the priesthood has been in the news recently over abuse of boys and so the idea was probably got from that...it is however a fairly sympathetic telling of the Catholic faith, making it blatently clear that although there are always a few bad apples in a bunch it's never the whole...the confessional scene when Nina thinks her husband is to blame is very touching with the question being; How can you confess for what he has done? People say that the Catholic faith is about guilt, and in a way I suppose it is - taking responsibility for your actions, admitting you did something wrong and allowing God to forgive you for it. This puts forward an interesting question of - How many times do we blame ourselves for other peoples failings? In this the Catholic faith isn't about laying guilt, but allowing the person to accept that there are things they shouldn't feel guilt for. This confessional does however take a new turning when Father Szyszynski is one of the main suspects...

                          Forgiveness is also a major issue here...Nina makes a lot of mistakes - well meaning ones, but still mistakes...such as accusing her husband - and although she forgives him...will he forgive her? Does he have a right to be angry? Would you be able to forgive someone who had got a restraining order out on you and refused to let you see your son? Should he forgive her for murder? Even if God can forgive all sins - can the human heart? And should it?

                          American Justice System:
                          If there's one thing this book is, it is an excellent critique of the US justice system...one of the first points made is that Nina spends her life prosecuting the sort of crimes that tear families apart, she 'helps clients navigate their way through a nightmare - even though the legal system is not always the faultless compass they want and need it to be.' The justice system is portrayed as trying, but failing, to fully protect the child...
                          The system works like this: First the child has to go for a competency hearing in which the defense can try to tear the child to shreds to prove that he/she is not competent to stand trial - if they succeed the trial never goes to court and the perp is let free...this alone is stressful to the client...if the competency hearing is passed then the child goes to court where the same thing happens just in front of tons more people and again, the whole thing is set so the prosecution can tear the child to shreads...in basic the case has little chance of getting to court, little chance of getting a conviction and then if it does the perp will be out of jail before the victim is out of therepy...
                          This is the situation Nina was in...and the question you need to ask is: Was Nina justified in her actions, or was she "simply a reckless woman who thought she knew better than anyone else"? And even if she was justified - Was it moral? And if you do think it was justified should the legal system allow for this, or should the legal system be set aside from such justifications...

                          Questions
                          As per usual Jodi Picoult asks and sets up more questions than she actually solves...and perhaps the biggest and most scary is: How far would you go in the same situation? Would you be capable of murder? Do you really know yourself and your friends as well as you think you do? There is also the question of; Do you agree with Nina? What about the end of the book? Is it fair? Or would you have had a different judgement? There are questions set up all the way through, and you have the impression of a mother who would do anything to save her child, do anything, and lose everything if necessary...but even if you can see her side, should the legal system?

                          Criticism
                          'With this ripped-from-the-headlines plot, the usually reliable Picoult (Salem Falls, etc.) fails to deliver; major flaws include a cast of one-dimensional characters and an awkward mixture of first and third person that confuses rather than enlightens. In addition, Nina is a truly dislikable heroine (her justifications for the murder are both laughable and frightening), and the meaningless subplots distract from, rather than add to, the main story. '
                          Library Journal
                          Personally I don't think this is true...in a sense it is straight out of the head lines, but again it's done in a far more sensitive way than most...the characters to me seemed to be realistic...and I could actually understand Nina's motices - which in the light of this comment seems quite scary...and said sub plots appear to add some light heartedness to what would otherwise be quite a scary story...

                          One of my friends said it was rather slow and she found the characters could have had mre work done on them...but again I think this is just the way she writes her books...

                          Recommend
                          Yes, most definitely - a brilliant read with some rather disturbing issues involved.

                          On Ciao as Secre

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                            26.07.2007 08:56
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                            A book centred on a child abuse case by Jodi Picoult.

                            I love getting stuck into a good book but it seems that I never have the time nowadays to have a good reading session. However when I booked my recent holiday I knew that at the top of my “to do” list would be a note to remind me to get some decent books to read by the pool. Even though my holiday was only eight days long I optimistically packed six books even though deep down I knew I had little chance of getting through even two of them on the lively holiday we’d booked!

                            The first book I got stuck into while my friends attempted to sleep on the plane was one by Jodi Picoult. She seems to be quite an up and coming author with a particular talent for writing books that you can’t quite put down. I’d previously read two of her other novels and really enjoyed both of them so it was with high hopes I got my self comfy and settled down to read the somewhat oddly titled “Perfect Match” which was published in 2002.

                            The Author

                            Jodi Picoult is an American author who at the age of 41 has a massive fourteen books under her belt, the majority of which have soared into the best selling charts in both America and the UK. Her books typically revolve around some sort of court room drama, although I’m led to believe this isn’t consistent in all of them. However before you start thinking that it’s your typical police case, court case, etc. novel there’s a lot more to it than those elements. She manages to incorporate some family and romance drama into each of her books in a way that lightens the otherwise monotonous tone of police crime stories.

                            The Plot

                            The main theme behind this novel is one of child molestation which in retrospect possibly wasn’t the lightest of books to take to read beside the pool. It follows an assistant district attorneys journey as she discovers that her young son was abused by a member of society that they considered both a friend and someone they could trust. It follows her journey from the normality and routine of her daily life to her utter despair at discovering what has happened to her son before moving on to look at her resolve to survive this and her complete determination to seek revenge.

                            Without wanting to give away too much detail the book opens with a personal account of sitting in a court room awaiting a hearing of a male for a child abuse crime. It then tells of standing up, walking through the barrier and calmly shooting the accused several times. Although this account is only just over a page long I was breathless as I read it and it had me instantly hooked. The story then takes you back in time to explain what occurred before this event and then also what occurred following it.

                            The child begins to display typical behaviour traits which force his parents to take him to a psychiatrist. Here they learn that he has been sexually abused by a male who he later identifies as the family priest. I don’t want to say anything else apart from the fact that the story is not clear cut at all, there are quite a few surprises and plenty of twists which will manage to maintain your attention throughout and arguably make it one of the best books you’ll read this year.

                            The Characters

                            There are two main characters in the novel; Nina and Caleb Frost. Nina is the central focus of the story and my initial thoughts of her were that she was a typical mother and loving wife living quite a perfect life it would seem. She helps families deal with difficult times, often as a result of child abuse, and quickly comes to realise that the American justice system is often far from fair. We quickly learn of her strength of character and her never failing love for her small son. We also learn of the guilt she possesses and how heavily it seems to weigh on her shoulders. Despite the story being quite hard hitting she’s a likable character and one the reader can instantly get to grips with, at times it was like I almost knew her and could easily empathise with her.

                            Caleb is Nina’s husband and we’re not given as great an insight into his feelings and thoughts throughout the novel. Again he seems to inhabit in this perfect world with his son and wife until he learns of what has been done to his small son. Just like Nina, his world seems to fall apart at this news and he struggles to deal with what follows. Although we don’t get to know him as well as we do Nina you can see his strength of character and also his compassion for his family.

                            In addition to this we’re given short insights into the head of Nathan Frost who Picoult manages to capture perfectly. Through his small passages we learn of how he feels that the abuse is his entire fault and the fact his parents are now arguing as a result of it all is also his fault. We learn of his innocence, his never faltering ability to see the pure simplicity in daily life and above all the sheer childlike purity that we all seem to forget as soon as we get older. Picoult has managed to capture his thoughts exactly as how I’d imagine them to be and she also shows that often children understand a lot more than adults give them credit for.

                            My Opinion

                            I felt this novel was absolutely brilliant, the plot easily held my attention and not once did I become impatient or wish the end was nearer. The sordid nature of the plot wasn’t my typical choice of plot but it provided an interesting criticism of the criminal justice system as well as a heart rendering look at a family’s independent struggle to overcome an event which everybody prays will never actually fall on their own doorstep. The failure of the court system is arguably one of the underlying messages of the novel and it is one that I think Picoult has displayed accurately and honestly. There are huge discrepancies within the justice system today and this novel manages to highlight one in a concise and clear way; the fact that the majority of child abuse cases are never tried due to the child being classed as incompetent to give evidence.

                            With regard to the characters within the novel there are two main ones as well as several others that appear from time to time including Nina’s colleagues and her best friend Patrick, which is where the slight romance storyline comes in to provide a little light relief at times. However rather than providing this light relief I found it quite awkward to read and it annoyed me somewhat that Nina turned to another to provide her with comfort at this time rather than her own family. Nina herself is very easy relate to, from the opening paragraph where her guilt at being a full time working mother comes through to her feelings when she discovers what has happened to her son. I feel that she’d be a woman than many other mothers would easily identify with. Nina as a central character is what some would perhaps consider not your typical heroine, I quite liked her character and felt that Picoult managed to grasp the gist of everything she would be feeling and elaborate on it perfectly. However her slight arrogance and unrelenting drive for revenge does get a little tiresome, I couldn’t help but feel that her focus should have been more on her son rather than fighting for revenge.

                            The novel itself brings up several morals that most of us hope we are never faced for and certainly already believe that we would abide by the law. What if you knew the law would fail you and that the perpetrator of the crime against you would walk away? Would you sit back and accept this or would you employ your own personal crusade against this? I think most of us hope that we’d abide by the law and sit back, but when it came to the crunch how many people can honestly say this is what they would do? In Picoult’s book lies an answer that is both honest and frightening when Nina attempts to seek her own revenge on those who have hurt her most precious belonging.

                            The Washington Post – “At the heart of Perfect Match lie the true emotions of motherhood, with all the contradictions and intensity… It is impossible not to be held spellbound by the way she forces us to think, hard, about right and wrong.”

                            USA Today – “Picoult’s characters are so compelling that the reader hopes this won’t be the last time we meet.”

                            I finished this book within two days and each time I reluctantly put it down I couldn’t wait to start reading it again. I find that it’s very rare that I get so passionate about a novel and indeed there’s very few that I’ve read which I’d say I had 100% enjoyed. I felt anger, disgust, upset, etc. and never before have I had feelings quite so vivid from a book alone. Although the content of this wasn’t exactly light reading it wasn’t quite like anything I’d ever read before making it one of this most refreshing reads of the past couple of years. This book gets the full five stars from me, I can’t wait to read another one!

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                              14.01.2007 10:04
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                              You won't be able to put it down til the last page is read.

                              Since reading My Sister's Keeper I have made a point of trying to get my hands on anything I can by Jodi Picoult. Her books have kept me enthralled each time I have picked one up and this one is no exception.

                              ***The Background***

                              Jodi Picoult, to date, has written 13 novels beginning with her first, way back in 1992 entitled Songs from the Humpback Whale. From then on she has continued to write best selling novels as well as raising three children and her experiences of love and as a parent come though in this thought provoking and often difficult at times to read book, which was published in 2004.

                              ***The Story***

                              This story is all about Nina Frost, her husband Caleb and her 5-year-old son Nathaniel. Nina is a district attorney who specialises in prosecuting child molesters, something that is very frustrating as she knows that often the child is not strong enough to testify and that without physical evidence, the offender will hardly ever be brought to trial. Imagine her horror when she discovers one day that her own son has been abused and can't tell her who did it.

                              What follows is a desperate attempt to find the culprit and punish them but Nina decides to take matters into her own hands and ends up being the one on trial. Will she be found guilty of murder or will her excellent defence attorney be able to convince a jury that she was temporarily insane at the point of the killing? That's for you to find out when you read this amazing book.

                              ***The Characters***

                              Nina Frost - She can't bear the thought of her son having to go through the difficulty of a trial only to see the man go free so she takes the unusual step of killing him in cold blood. Through the book we see her reasons for doing this be explained and her horror at the thought that she may end up losing her husband and son if she is convicted.

                              Caleb Frost - He can't believe his wife would put him through this. Not only does he feel that she has betrayed him but he feels that she has been selfish in her actions by not telling him what she was planning. He struggles to keep his feelings under wraps and can't cope with the thought that she may be locked up for the rest of his son's childhood.

                              Nathaniel Frost - He is a scared and lonely little boy whose trauma only comes to the surface when he is disruptive at school and refuses to speak to anyone. As he is too young to read and write, he is taught sign language and through this is able to give the name of his abuser. He is a brave little boy but is very troubled, not only by the abuse, but also by the troubles that his mother and father are having.

                              ***My Thoughts***

                              This was a very difficult book to read as I have a four-year-old son and the thought of anyone abusing him makes me sick to the stomach. That being said, it was a book that I still wanted to finish, despite being very upset as I was reading it. I felt a lot of the anger that Nina felt and I have to say that if I was given the chance, that there is a good possibility that I may have done the same thing, if it meant saving my child from having to relive the horror of abuse in a courthouse. I probably wouldn't have thought about the consequences of my actions either.

                              Of course, Jodi Picoult is excellent at making things a bit more complicated as her books progress and nothing is ever that straightforward. There are quite a few twists and turns in the book that I don't want to mention in too much detail as I feel it would spoil it for the reader but there is a question as to whether or not the correct man was arrested and this sends Nina into another round of emotional turmoil, for killing the man she thought was responsible as well as the thought the real abuser may still be out there harming other children.

                              As the book goes on we gradually find out the real truth and there are a couple of other characters that have smaller parts but are essential to the storyline. Dr Robichaud, the psychiatrist and Monica LaFlamme, the social worker assigned to help were both characters that were introduced slowly but developed into people who became more than just the useless professionals that Nina expects them to be.

                              Patrick is also an important character, as he is the only one that Nina can turn to for support when her husband turns his back on her. An old friend who has always had feelings for her, he gives her the strength to get through her ordeal. The relationship between them is touching and I felt that this was just what Nina needed at a time when she feels that no one else cares.

                              The way this book is written is amazing with views from Nina written in first person and the rest written in third person. There is also a small section at the start of each chapter where we get some thoughts from Nathaniel and this helps us to understand what it is that he is feeling and has gone through. These thoughts are the only way he has to communicate to us.

                              I don't think I have felt so much anger and sadness reading a book before and this is probably due to the fact that my son is of a similar age to Nathaniel and I could relate to all the motherly feelings that Nina felt. It was also a book that made me think about the safety of my own son and how easily it could be for a person that was supposed to be a trusted member of society, to get access to him.

                              This book is a wonderful read, despite being a painfully difficult read at times. The ending is very well done with a surprising revelation in the final few pages. Yet again Jodi Picoult has come through with an amazing novel about a very difficult subject.

                              ***Price and Availability***

                              The price on the cover of this hardback is £12.99 although you can buy it from Tesco for only £9.09. It is also available in paperback form at the publishing price of £6.99 but it is also available at the cheaper price of £3.94 from Tesco.

                              Hardback ISBN No. 0340897201
                              Paperback ISBN No. 0340897228

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                                16.10.2006 22:46
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                                A story to make you think!

                                This is the first book I have read by Jodi Picoult and I chose it as a result of reading lots of positive reviews about her books. I was not disappointed!

                                'Perfect Match' tells the story of Nina Frost and what happens to her when she discovers that someone has harmed her son in the worst possible way. The story follows her discovery of the truth, her immediate actions and the enormous consequences which affect not only Nina but her family as well.

                                To outline the plot in some detail, but not to give to much away would be to say that this story takes place in Maine, USA, where Nina Frost is a very successful prosecuting attourney. She is married to Caleb, a man who builds walls and paths, and they have one son, Nathaniel.

                                One morning, Nathaniel suddenly becomes mute. The parents take him to a psychiatrist where it becomes apparent that he has been interfered with. As Nathaniel cannot speak, the doctor helps him to sign which seems to give him the means to identify the offender. Nina, obviously distraught at what has happened goes all out to protect her son from having to endure any more suffering. Unfortunately, as she is so involved with the legal system, she has many first hand experiences of how having to testify in court can be so traumatic for children. And she does not trust the legal system enough to be sure of the right result. Therefore, she takes the only course that she believes open to her, and takes matters into her own hands.

                                i won't say any more about the plot, but there are many twists and turns along the way, and just as you think you can see where the story is leading, there is a twist that takes you in another direction. This is true right up to the last pages, where even then there is a final and unexpected twist.

                                I think that the fascinating thing about this book is the questions that it makes you ask of yourself. I would have to say that at times it is not easy reading, although thankfully Jodi picoult does not find it necessary to go into graphic details of the actual offence. You do find yourself questioning - what if it were my child? What would I do? I don't think there are any easy answers. The book does demonstrate how easy it is to convince yourself that you are doing the right thing for the right reasons. However, when you see it from another person's perspective, such as Caleb's, it is certainly not theright thing and the reasons are all wrong!

                                It is also quite harrowing to see the effect of Nina's actions on Nathaniel. In her bid to prevent any further suffering for him, she actually causes him to become more disturbed. particularly, when he sees her taken away from him.

                                I think that the characterisation in this novel is etremely good, although it is written in an unusual way. Jodi Picoult chooses to write different sections from different points of view. it is primarily Nina's point of view and on these occasions it is written in the first person. At other times the viewpoint is Caleb's, Nathaniel's and sometimes Nina's friend Patrick's. These are written in the third person which does seem a bit confusing at first but you do soon get used to this style. I think that all the characters are quite sympathetic and you do find yourself caring about what happens to them.

                                It did take me a while to get into this book (although I think that is more to do with having two small children and not enough time to read!). However, once I had reached the halfway point I found it quite unputdownable and the book certainly picked up momentum towards the end. I think I read the last seventy pages in one go!

                                My overall impression is that it is a really well written novel which handles some quite difficult issues. At times it is quite difficult and certainly not a light read. If you are a parent, I feel that you would identify with Nina and pretty much go through her anguish with her.

                                It is published by Hodder and at just under 400 pages is not too long a read. There is also an interview with Jodi picoult at the back where she talks about how she set about writing the novel which is very interesting.

                                Incidentally, as i was reading the book i couldn't quite see the significance of the title 'Perfect Match'. It all became clear round about page 250 and then you can see why it is a very appropriate title!

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                              • Product Details

                                From the first few words of her latest novel, Jodi Picoult grips her reader so firmly it would be madness to struggle. And from then on, it’s such a roller-coaster ride that it’s as much as you can do to put it down before you’ve reached the very last word. After years of dealing with abused children and their families and working her damnedest to bring the perpetrators to justice, assistant district attorney Nina Frost takes a while to recognise the signs of abuse in her only child. When five-year-old Nathanial stops speaking and finally, through sign language, identifies his abuser, Nina takes the law into her own hands. And so begins a fast and furious tale of twists and turns--just when you think you’ve got it covered, you move at right-angles and a new reality emerges.