I really do hate to say it, but I guess this makes strike two for Jodi Picoult for me. The topic for this book, Picture Perfect, was a great controversial topic that Picoult always pulls off so well. However, I found the characters once again to be annoying and stupid, and I had little sympathy for them by the book's conclusion.
The book is about a movie star, Alex Rivers, who falls in love with an anthropologist named Cassie. Their courtship and romance were a bit of a stretch for me personally, but nonetheless I sincerely liked Cassie's intelligent and passionate character at the beginning of the story. Then she met and married Alex in a rushed wedding that started the downward spiral for me - especially when I didn't feel as though there was enough of a relationship to base a marriage on in the first place.
That's when the controversy starts: when dreamy Alex Rivers reveals that he is a ruthless wife-beater. From the first time this happened, I wanted to slam the book down over and over - where was this intelligent woman that had married this idiot? Why was she constantly making excuses for him, and taking beatings that she eventually thought she deserved? You can tell that Picoult researched the mind of a battered woman to come up with Cassie's thoughts, and I suppose I was supposed to gain some lesson from how battered women feel, but it just made me pissed.
In terms of the writing style itself, not a page-turner. There's a random Indian involved with the plot line that is kind of weird, so there's some Indian culture and stories thrown in that I didn't quite get the relevance. And, I was kind of hoping that the Indians could talk some sense into her after she leaves her husband to live with them. But no. After 10 months of staying with Indians, "But THIS time he really has changed." Urgh!
There is some redemption at the end, so I got closure, but was overall frustrated. I'm thinking the fact that it was "early Picoult" may have something to do with it - I believe this book was published in the early '90s. I've got another Picoult book waiting for me on my windowsill, though - maybe 3rd one's the charm?
Bottom Line: Slightly agonizing read, but I just wanted to get to the end to find out what happened.
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