Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult
The subject matter of child abuse is all to real and in the novel, Perfect Match, it is explored from multiple view points to deliver a morally challenging conclusion – the case with all of Picoult’s novels that I have read (Plain Truth, The Pact).
Nina Frost, the victim, Nathaniel’s mother first suspects her husband when the child indicates ‘father’ as the abuser, and she accuses him, to the near destruction of their marriage. When it is later revealed that the father he referred to was their family priest, Nina decides to take matters into her own hands.
As an assistant district attorney, Nina’s actions are bedded in irony as the consequences of her actions call for the best defence attorney, a man she has opposed many times in the very court in which she is to be tried.
While I could understand Nina’s parental instincts and overpowering need to protect her son, I could not invoke sympathy for her actions and struggled with the notion of an insanity defence.
When it is later revealed that Nina went after the wrong man, causing the death of an innocent God-fearing figure, her attorney must rethink his strategy. Being legally astute herself, Nina pushes the limits of her defence to the annoyance of her lawyer who threatens to abandon her.
Nina’s relationship with Patrick, a life-long friend and also a policeman on the case complicates her already challenged marriage to Caleb. For me it added a dimension to Nina’s duplicity and questionable moral foundation.
The infinite detail of the DNA composition revealing insights about donor blood cells, is a tribute to Picoult’s research ability, but the unlikelihood of its bearing in reality, stretched the parameters of credibility a bit too far more me.
This novel did not move at the same pace as Plain Truth, and ended with remarkable similarity to the technique used by TV series, The Practice where, in essence, everybody gets away with murder.