Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match
Nina Frost is an assistant district attorney who often deals with accusations of child abuse, and she is also the mother of five-year-old Nathaniel. But one day, after her son becomes suddenly unable to speak and is brought to the psychiatrist and diagnosed a victim of sexual abuse himself, her two worlds, that had she so efficiently kept apart, collide painfully.
Being at the best place to know that justice is rarely served in such cases, and that when it is, it takes a huge toll on children who are asked to face the court and give a testimony, Nina does the only thing she believes will spare Nathaniel and keep him safe. But Nina had not foreseen that what she did might have the exact opposite effect, and that she might have put herself in a position where she will be unable to protect what counts the most…
Ever since I have discovered Jodi Picoult’s courtroom dramas, I keep coming back for more, because, even though they are no great achievements in terms of writing style and literary effects, they are entertaining, well-documented, challenging and usually surprising. Picoult always chooses controversial issues, exceptional situations, and manages to challenge our point of view. In Perfect Match, we are challenged about what we think of a person who does something wrong, but with the right intentions. In an interview at the end of the novel, Picoult is interviewed and talks about the character of Nina:
Nina is opinionated, single-minded, and thinks she knows all the right answers, even when she doesn’t – there were times I wanted to knock her head against a wall, and I was the AUTHOR!
It is true that, as a reader, I kept changing my mind about Nina, sometimes I could relate to her decisions and feelings as a mother, and sometimes I was really annoyed by her know-it-all attitude and inability to see the big picture. Jodi Picoult’s novels are unequal: in my opinion, some are more satisfying than others, and although this one started slowly and took its time to really grip me, it is one of the strongest ones. Not quite as good as Nineteen Minutes or Second Glance, but certainly better than Change of Heart or Keeping Faith.