My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Perfect Match is a typical Picoult-syle novel, containing her trademark controversial issues, shifting perspectives, and legal conflicts. I have read and enjoyed many of Picoult’s novels, however, I am becoming slightly disenchanted by the fact that I can predict the outcome more often than not.
The story revolves around Nina Frost and her son Nathaniel. Nina is an assistant district attorney who has been involved in hundreds of child molestation cases. She has seen the heartbreak in a parent’s eyes and the shattering in many a young child in the aftermath of sexual abuse. Nina seems to feel immune to the suffering but throws herself into each and every case, loathing the system that fails so many of her clients. When Nina discovers that her own son has been sexually abused, her life changes drastically as she ends up on the other side of the law.
This book could have been really incredible, but it feels like Picoult used a stereotypical plot and characters. Despite being written slightly prior to the sexual abuse scandal of the Catholic church, Nathaniel names a priest as his abuser. The once witty and intriguing courtroom drama that was the cornerstone of Picoult’s writing has become stale and scripted. Perfect Match contained no real plot twists and I could see the “surprising” events coming from miles away. By the end of the third chapter I knew exactly how the book would end and why. The only real surprise in the entire story occurs on the last page of the book. This incredible twist at the very end (and only real surprise in the entire novel) is the only reason I am giving the book more than one star.
Readers should be aware that this book does center around the sexual abuse of a child. Picoult does a fantastic job getting inside the head of a five-year-old who has suffered an unspeakable tragedy. The sections of the novel that surround Nathaniel and his thoughts are particularly gut-wrenching and emotional. It is this amazing writing style that may cause some readers to feel uncomfortable and find the descriptions in the novel too graphic and disconcerting. Please take this into consideration before diving into Perfect Match.
I have enjoyed many of Picoult’s novels and I plan to continue reading her future novels. Her work is very well written and I enjoy the shifting viewpoints of the characters. For those who have never read a book by Picoult, Perfect Match will be a page turning adventure filled with suspense and courtroom antics. However, those more accustomed to reading Picoult’s novels may find predictability of her formula leaving them wanting just a little bit more.