Perfect Match: Jodi PicoultBy Lee Peoples | September 11th, 2010 | Category: Book Reviews, Fiction | No Comments »
Perfect Match is the story of a mother who would do anything for the safety of her child—and does. Nina Frost is a prosecuting attorney. Nathaniel, her five-year-old son, has been sexually abused. Knowing that the conviction rate of child molesters is almost nil, having herself failed to get convictions that depended on the testimony of the child, she takes matters into her own hands, bent on getting justice for her son and symbolically for all the other children she has failed. Jodi Picoult as in others of her books shows the strain placed upon marriage and family when trouble injects itself.
When Nathaniel stops speaking because of the trauma of the rape, he is taught sign language. When he is able to communicate through this method, he signs “father” as his perpetrator. This leads to the arrest of his father, Caleb Frost, and the estrangement of his parents. But the family is Catholic, and it is soon learned that Nathaniel is signing a priest, not his “daddy.” Nina takes matters into her own hands and is arrested for the murder of Father Szyszynski, the family priest. Already blaming herself for her lack of attention to her son, leading to his rape, she quits her job and devotes full time to taking care of him.
Through the use of multiple points of view, Picoult has again crafted such a plausible conflict that the reader will be left holding his/her breath and asking, “What if . . .?” throughout. The use of two first person narrators, Nina, the mother, and five-year-old Nathaniel himself, allows us to see into the thoughts of the two main characters. Through Nathaniel, we ache when we see how he blames himself for the breakup of his family and how he, a small child, goes about trying to fix it. Through an omniscient third person narrator, we see into the thoughts of other major characters, for example, Caleb, the father, and assistant Attorney General Quentin Brown, himself an estranged husband and father, chosen by the state of Maine to prosecute the case.
The book addresses two difficult moral and ethical questions: Is the crime of murder ever justified? Is there ever a possibility that DNA test results can be wrong? And here again the multi-layered plot and the twists and turns of the conflict with its climaxes and anticlimaxes will have you guessing right to the end how things will work out.