Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book #33: Picture Perfect

Book #33: Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
5/5 stars

So the last time I posted about a book in my 100 list was a few weeks ago. Since then I've read five books, but nothing really worth blogging about. This, however, was amazing and I felt the need to write about it. I realize that I'm a little behind the times by just reading Jodi Picoult starting this year; many fans of hers I know have been reading her books for years. However, I know there must be people who haven't yet discovered her amazing, wrenching novels. If my review of The Pact didn't convince you, or if it did and you haven't discovered Picture Perfect yet, you need to read this book.

The novel opens on a woman who has just woken up in a cemetery, not knowing who she is or how she got there. She is rescued by a kind, brand-new to the area policeman, Will Flying Horse, who is of Native American descent. Will brings this woman down to the station where she realizes who she is...her name is Cassie, and she is the wife of wildly famous heartthrob movie star, Alex Rivers. Even upon seeing this man, she barely remembers him. Cassie goes home with her husband to one of their three residences (he's a mega movie star) and bit by bit begins to remember things from her past. She's an anthropologist, and a great one at that. She teaches at UCLA. She met Alex in Africa while he was shooting a film, and she was working. Oh, and there's a dark secret in her marriage that no one but Cassie and Alex know about.

As Cassie remembers more and more about her seemingly "picture perfect" life as a successful anthropologist married to a handsome movie star, her life begins to seem less and less perfect. She questions how and why she left that night before she become unconscious, and whether she should have ever come back.

Just when Picoult twists the plot so that the reader can barely breathe, she switches back in time to explain how Cassie and Alex met, and how their life came to be the way it did. Though it killed me to leave the "present" of the story, Picoult provides the reader with crucial information and plays with the reader's mind even further.

This novel, like all of Picoult's I've read so far, controlled my emotions for the few days I read it. I felt strong flashes of anger and fear, and had to tear myself away from the pages to go on with my daily life. Her characters, both protagonists and antagonists, draw you in and won't let you go, even after you're done. I especially loved the Native American culture that comes in spurts throughout the book, both through Will Flying Horse, and occasional Native American legends that parallel the events of the novel. This is definitely a quick read, but a worthwhile one as well. The book poses important questions about reputation, love, and honesty that will keep you thinking for a while after you finish the story.

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