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Perfect Match: A Novel Hardcover – April 30, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 292 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One plot element¢a case of child molestation involving a Catholic priest¢in Picoult's latest novel (after Salem Falls) now seems eerily prescient, but that's only part of the saga she weaves, which is primarily an indictment of the current criminal justice system. Nina Frost, an assistant district attorney in Maine, knows how hard it is to obtain a conviction for a sex crime when the victim is a juvenile, so when her five-year-old son, Nathaniel, identifies their priest as being the man who raped him, Nina's grievances with the system become personal. Frustrated by the threat of an unsatisfactory legal outcome, she takes the law into her own hands, killing the priest in open court. Awaiting her own trial, a startling fact emerges from the DNA: the priest was innocent. Will Nina be able to prove to a jury that her actions were justified, particularly since she killed the wrong man? Picoult adeptly renders Nina's feelings¢impotence, guilt, the drive for retribution¢but Nina is herself an unsympathetic heroine, from her initial accusation of her husband to her arrogant vigilante stance, which does little to persuade the reader that an act of premeditation should be recast as maternal instinct. While the argument that the current system is flawed is solid, the only alternative offered is an iffy form of frontier justice that many readers may find unpalatable.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As an assistant district attorney in Maine, Nina Frost knows all too well that the legal system often fails to protect children from sexual predators. So when her five-year-old son, Nathaniel, suddenly refuses to speak and begins misbehaving in school, Nina and her husband, Caleb, consult a psychiatrist and learn that their son has been sexually abused. But by whom? Although Father Szyszynski strenuously denies the accusations, DNA evidence says otherwise. At the priest's arraignment, Nina shoots and kills him, only to find out later that he was innocent. Nina is found guilty of manslaughter, given probation, and loses her license to practice law. 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. Buy only for demand and then conservatively. Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atria (April 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743418727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743418720
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers "The Storyteller," "Lone Wolf," "Between the Lines," "Sing You Home," "House Rules," "Handle with Care," "Change of Heart," "Nineteen Minutes," and "My Sister's Keeper." She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I will start by noting the positive aspects of this book. First, it challenges the reader to ponder the boundaries of our own behaviour; to ask what it might take for us to do the "unthinkable", whether that be shooting a person accused of child molestation, or carrying on an inappropriate relationship with our married best friend. Second, for all its issues, I thought the novel was a page turner; it was well written, and I was eager to know how the story would be resolved.

However, there are a number of major issues with this book that bring it down to a two-star rating for me.

First, while the novel was engaging, I thought the story arc was complicated by an ever-growing cast of bit players and extras whose stories were neither interesting nor well developed. For instance, in the second half of the novel, we are told about Quentin's interactions with former wife Tanya and son Gideon. I'm not sure why we are meant to be interested in Quentin's private life. To the extent that we are meant to be interested, this story seemed to be resolved in the absence of any real character development. I don't think think these aspects of the book added to the story; if anything, they were a distraction from its central narratives.

The second big problem is that the lead character of Nina is very difficult to like or even empathise with. She comes across as a calculating lawyer who believes she is "bigger than the law", and who takes advantage of her experience and insider knowledge to play the system, and seek to avoid the usual justice that would be dispensed for committing murder.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to preface this by saying that anyone who has not read many of Picoult's works might love this book. But having read almost all of her books the minute they were released, I was sorely disappointed by this one.
The writing, as always, is eloquent, gripping and excellent. However, this book follows the same sequence she has used in her past few books. And it has become too formulary for me. It is almost as if her editors are pressuring her to get the books out so she follows a similar style for all of them. And although each story is different, they read the same after a while. A plot develops at the beginning with a life changing event, there is a court case, and then a surprise at the end.
This particular book lost its appeal to me as soon as a Priest was drawn in to the mix. Having been prevalent in the news of late -- reading about church scandals is hardly something I wanted to do for pleasure. Perhaps that was a part of the problem. The subject is worn down.
That said, Picoult is amazingly talented, there is no doubt about it. And I will read all of her books that follow because I have faith that she will work originality back into her writing. The character development is fantastic, as is the dialogue and writing, but its the story lines that all develop similarly regardless of how different they initially seem.
Plain Truth, Keeping Faith, Harvesting the Heart and The Pact are four of my all time favorite books. And I cannot wait to add another of hers to that list.
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Format: Paperback
This is the fourth book I've read by Jodi Picoult and it may be my last. The first was My Sister's Keeper which I adored and I became a fan. Jodi Picoult is a very talented writer and I was intrigued by the premise of Perfect Match.

The story began with so much promise that this would be another emotional rollercoaster full of twists and turns. However, I got an early impression that the author's sympathies were heavily with the main character Nina and that everything would come out well for her in the end. But then I thought surely not; Jodi is going to pull out one of her surprises at the end.

I found Nina to be self-serving and unsympathetic. Like others, I found Patrick to be pathetic and creepy and thought it unrealistic that Caleb would allow him to be so much "a part of the family." And Jodi should have stayed away from trying to communicate Nathaniel's viewpoint... she clearly can't express the thoughts of a 5-year old.

And then came the ending that I was anticipating, the totally la-la land happy ending that has nothing to do with what would happen in the real world. **SPOILER ALERT** You cannot make me believe that there is a judge... anywhere...that would acquit on this flaky "mommy" defense even if the guy she killed was guilty of molesting her son.... and this guy was innocent! I was appalled. And then to top it off, Nina finds Caleb's bag with the antifreeze in it which proved he was the one to kill the real molester. Was anyone really THAT surprised (or cared, for that matter)? How convenient, how "sweet" and "justified" that both parents were willing to kill to protect their son. What an awful message this sends.

Time will tell if I pick up another of her books, but I doubt that I will.
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Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult's books and have probably read about six or seven of them. I would have to say that this is probably my least favorite of her books that I have read so far. Although it wasn't the best, it was still a good read.

My main dislike of this book was the main character, Nina. Similar to the mother in Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper," she was just cold and unlikeable to me. I really didn't care what happened to her. I just wanted her son and husband to be okay.

I would still recommend it, but if you haven't read her other books, read those first!!
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