Picture Perfect

 
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Product Description

"Jodi Picoult's novels have been hailed as 'engrossing' (People) and 'addictively readable' (Entertainment Weekly). Now, the author of Salem Falls and Plain Truth examines the fault lines of a troubled marriage in Picture Perfec, an 'unfailingly intelligent...undeniably literary psychological drama.'(Booklist) 'Picoult writes with an all-knowing and piercing eye. Hers is an important book from a talented writer we hope to hear from again and again.' (Library Journal) To the outside world, they seem to have it all. Cassie Barrett, a renowned anthropologist, and Alex Rivers, one of Hollywood's hottest actors, met on the set of a motion picture in Africa. They shared childhood tales, toasted the future, and declared their love in a fairy-tale wedding. But when they return to California, something alters the picture of their perfect marriage. A frightening pattern is taking shape-a cycle of hurt, denial, and promises, thinly veiled by glamour. Torn between fear and something that resembles love, Cassie wrestles with questions she never dreamed she would face: How can she leave? Then again, how can she stay?"

Customer Reviews:

  • Less than her best
    There is WAY TOO MUCH going on in this story..Hollywood glamour, Indian mythology, Anthropology, Domestic violence...rates down with romance novels. This is definately not the author's best. I am thinking of giving up on it. A BIG disappointment! ...more info
  • Far From Perfect!
    Jodi Picoult is a great story teller. Writing about relationships is her strength. I have read all of her novels and have been captivated, time after time, by her characters and engrossing storylines. "Picture Perfect" is not one of Ms. Picoult's best efforts, however. This novel of the relationship between a Hollywood super star and a brilliant and acclaimed anthropologist is too contrived for my taste. She writes about an important and difficult societal issue here, but the complexity and real drama of her story are diminished by the unnecessary glitter of her characters and the addition of a subplot, so tangential, it is superfluous.

    Cassie Barrett is a physical anthropologist and lecturer at UCLA. She has been assigned to work at one of the university's sites in Tanzania for the semester when she is disturbed by the crew of a film production company in the process of making a movie. Since the film just happens to feature an anthropologist, she is recruited as a consultant and meets super star actor and heartthrob Alex Rivers. In a Cinderella romance with overtones of the "Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous," the two fall in love and marry. But gold does not lie beneath the glitter. Alex carries tons of baggage from an abusive childhood. Cassie has baggage of her own. Picoult describes the psychological dynamics of the couple with a sharp and knowing eye. Her characters are finely drawn, realistic and compelling. Characters and a parallel story are introduced that would make an interesting novel in itself, but are so removed from the main plot that their presence is distracting. I was left with a feeling that the author had added apples to oranges and hoped to come up with a logical rational for her character's actions. This is not typical of Ms. Picoult's usual taut plots and tight writing style. Apples and oranges do not mix well in this novel and I was left hungry.
    JANA...more info

  • Disappointment
    I had been waiting to read this book for quite a while. I've read all of Picoult's others and have loved most of them. As this was one of her first books, I didn't know what to expect.
    The premise intrigued me, but after about 200 pages, I couldn't take any more.

    The story dragged on and on, and I just got to the point where I couldn't even care about what happened to the characters anymore. While there were some interesting elements to the story, most of it was mundane and formulary.

    Cassie, a renound archeologist falls for a movie star, Alex Rivers. She always questions how well she can ever trust an actor to ever be genuine, but regardless, she is swept into his spell. Warned against marrying him by a childhood friend who has died, but appears in her dreams, Cassie still goes with her feelings and marries Alex.

    Of course all is not what it seems, and Alex is not the man Cassie thought he was. Which leads to how the book began, Cassie, wandering around with amnesia. Rescued by a police officer/American Indian, the book has its hero.

    Not much more than a harlequin romance, this book is not worth the time. Try one of Picoult's others. Most of them are excellent books that will have you spellbound....more info

  • Picture Perfect
    I didn't enjoy Picture Perfect as much as I enjoyed Jodi Picoult's other novels. I couldn't identify with the characters and don't find the subject of domestic abuse interesting. I really enjoyed her other novels....more info
  • Not up to par with her others
    I struggled with this book. I just could not get into it. I have read Nineteen Min, Handle with Care, The Pact, Salem Falls, My sisters Keeper.... and this was by far the biggest disappointment. Hard to get into for me......more info
  • THIS BOOK IS LESS THAN PICTURE PERFECT...
    This book recounts the almost fairytale like romance and marriage of anthropologist, Cassie Barrett, and silver screen star, Alex Rivers. All that glitters, however, is not gold, as Cassie will soon discover. It seems that her handsome husband has a dark side to his personality.

    When Cassie undergoes some form of temporary amnesia, she makes the acquaintance of William Flying Horse, a rookie police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is immediately attracted to this lovely, though mysterious, woman. He treats her tenderly and, ultimately, falls in love with her. He does not reveal his feelings, however, as she is eventually claimed by her husband, who has been looking for her.

    As her memory returns, Cassie recalls what was it that drove her away from Alex. Unfortunately, Alex is the product of an abusive childhood, and the psychological trauma that he sustained growing up rears its ugly head in a way that is not conducive to a happy marriage. Cassie, however, is the great enabler, as she has allowed Alex to continue with this pattern of behavior, rationalizing it to herself.

    This is a formulaic story that the author tries to augment with some Native American Indian lore that is somewhat interesting but, ultimately, fails to carry the day, as it spirals into the ridiculous. All of the characters, including the Native American ones, are one dimensional and, consequently, the reader ends up caring very little about what happens to any one of them. Neither of the readers of this unabridged audio book are talented enough narrators to make this book into something other than what it is: a mediocre work of fiction not worth reading....more info

  • Should Be Listed As A Romance Novel
    Terribly disappointing. I am a Jodi Picoult fan, but this was a waste of time. I am chalking it up to the fact that it is one of her early works. It reads like a romance novel - nothing more. ...more info
  • Thought provoking yet entertaining
    Typical Picoult in that the story is believable and makes you think of people you know. This would make a great movie. ...more info
  • Good, but not perfect
    I love Jodi Picoult. She is one of my favorite authors. I liked this book, but I wanted to like it more. There's nothing wrong with the subject matter. Domestic violence is a serious issue and people need to be aware of it. What got to me was the emotion that oozed from every single scene, the excruciating psychological agony every character experienced, the nonstop telling us how everyone felt. It's as if they were all overacting, and even if it does take place in Hollywood, the author should have resisted the temptation to descend into melodrama. Thr ending left me feeling it was a hopeless cycle, whether Alex and Cassie got back together or found other partners. I mean, go back and check out Will again. He's a lot more similar to Alex than the first read-through makes you think. He's a career police officer who lost one job--why? It's not the best book she wrote but it is by no means bad. I disagree that Strange Fits of Passion was better. In fact, that one was so awful I stopped reading anything by Anita Shreve. Jodi Picoult writes on a far more intellectual level. I'll go on reading her books....more info
  • Boring
    I am a great fan of Picoult but was very dissappointed with this book. I list The Pact as my favorite book followed by a few of her earlier titles but this book was a total bore. I would have put it down if it was not for the author. I kept thinking this has to get better but it never did. Save your time and skip this one....more info
  • Disappointing
    I have read several of Jodi Picoult's books and consider myself a devoted fan. However, I didn't even want to finish this book. It wasn't near as compelling or interesting as her others. ...more info
  • Disappointing, yet couldn't put it down.
    I think Jodi Picoult is one of the best modern fiction writers with deeply emotional language that makes and immediate connection with the reader. Picture Perfect is no exception. However, I found this book much more of the romance genre than I would have liked. I felt that the book lacked substance and tried to incorporate far too many concepts. That being said, Picoult's writing captured me from the first chapter and I quickly devoured the book. Reminds me of a powdered sugar donut... so tempting and satisyfing on the surface, but while you are eating it your body tells you a steak and salad would have been a better choice. But there's nothing wrong with a powdered sugar donut every once in a while......more info
  • Don't Bother
    This book is the literary equivelent of a video game. Although fans of soap operas may enjoy it, this novel is so far fetched it lacks any sort of credibility. All it needs is a swash-buckling, over-muscled pirate clutching a flame-haired, raven eyed damsel (or is it raven haired, flame eyed? I forget...)on the deck of a ship during a violent thunderstorm. Oh, well, maybe on her next novel.......more info
  • Great Emotional Read.
    This book was honestly a hard book to read, but not because it was bad. The book was very well written. And hard to put down a bit. Alex Rivers and Cassie Barrett are a Romeo and Juliet pair. Alex Rivers is the handsome sweetheart of Hollywood he meets Cassie on a movie shoot..and its a whirlwind from there. They seem to be the perfect couple, and all goes well. But..there's a secret..Alex beats Cassie, and she takes it, and as many do blames herself. Picture perfect was a good emotional read, and it goes through many things. You will love some characters and want to throttle others. If you are ok with the emotions of it, I do recommend this one....more info
  • Liked it But DIDNT Love it
    I am a HUGE Jodi Picoult fan, who has happily worked my way through everything she has written. My Sisters Keeper is especially dear to me. Picture Perfect was for me interesting though the subject matter made me uncomfortable I pushed through and read what turned out to be a very believable portrayal of the cycle of domestic violence. It is accurate in the thoughts and ideas that inspire someone to stay in a relationship that isn't healthy, in more ways than one, and I found myself equally disgusted with Alex as I was understanding of his characters flaws. He was someone whose first person account would have aided in the understanding of women everywhere, of the thought process of the person who abuses. Though at points I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at some points that were simply to unbelievable, I walked away understanding the point of view of many women I have heard of and pitied instead of applauding for there strength....more info
  • Painful
    This book was nothing but painful to try and get through. Though I sometimes enjoy Jodi Picoult's writing, Picture Perfect was extremely far fetched and simply unbelievable. I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes, shaking my head, thinking...come on, give me a break. I stopped the torture about 60% of the way through, giving up the hope that I had indeed wasted 10.46.
    Pretentious, unbelievable, boring, pathetic story line...save yourself the money and the torture..pass this Jodi Picoult novel by....more info
  • Melodramatic story of a troubled marriage.
    Jodi Picoult's novel, "Picture Perfect," is the story of Cassie Barrett, who holds a doctorate in anthropology and is world famous in her field. On a movie set in Tanzania, where Cassie is serving as a consultant, she meets a gorgeous and desirable film actor named Alex Rivers. Alex sweeps Cassie off her feet with his charm and charisma, and Cassie falls in love with him. They seem to have a "picture perfect" relationship.

    Unfortunately, Cassie finds out later that Alex is the product of a horribly abusive childhood, similar in many ways to her own very difficult childhood, and he bears indelible scars from his youth. When Alex lashes out at Cassie, she forgives him time and again, since she truly loves him and empathizes with his pain. Alex is the consummate actor. He allows the world to see what he wants them to see. The real Alex is far different from the persona that he projects to his fans. Cassie learns, too late, that she has married a man with deep-rooted psychological problems.

    Unfortunately, most of "Picture Perfect" is predictable and melodramatic. We have seen the scenario of the "perfect" marriage, which is really far from perfect, so many times before. What saves this book from being just an average melodrama is the clever inclusion of a subplot about the Lakota Sioux of South Dakota. When Cassie suffers from temporary amnesia, she is fortunate enough to meet a man named William Flying Horse, who is a rookie in the Los Angeles Police Department. He helps Cassie in many ways, and through him and his family, we get a wonderful and poignant glimpse of the Lakota Sioux culture.

    Jodi Picoult's writing style is fairly pedestrian and her characters are too one-dimensional. Still, Cassie's story has some compelling moments, and the subplot about the Sioux is moving and informative. Therefore, I give "Picture Perfect" a marginal recommendation....more info

  • Best Jodi Picoult Novel
    This is the seventh novel I have read by Jodi Picoult. I really enjoy all her books but this is definitely my favourite. The characters are such enchanting from Cassie Barrett to Will Flying Horse and even Alex Rivers. This novel does not get as much publicity as the others but I recommend it to everyone and anyone. Read it you will not be disappointed. Also, if you missed reading Tino Georgiou's masterpiece--The Fates, go and read it. It's so addictive.
    ...more info
  • Mildly Entertaining, Completely Unrealistic
    This book was readable and somewhat compelling in that I wanted to know what would happen next. However, the narrative was ridiculous in its depiction of the character's lives. A UCLA professor who seems to have all kinds of free time for attending events with her famous movie star husband? It reinforces the stereotype of college professors having an easy job that doesn't require any more time than giving lectures (with apparently no preparation), going on sabbatical whenever they feel like it, and traveling to exotic places to do research. That was just one of the silly descriptions in this very silly book. I had to work to suspend my disbelief long enough to finish it. It was like watching a soap opera - a guilty pleasure....more info
  • Not Picture Perfect
    After reading Harvesting the Heart and Plain Truth, I was so impressed with Jodi Picoult's writing I wanted to read everything she's written. Picture Perfect was truly disappointing, though. The author describes over and over again the many times in which Cassie Rivers is beaten, kicked, shoved, bruised and knocked out by her husband Alex. After the second beating, I'd had about enough and just wanted to see how Cassie was going to resolve the situation, hopefully by leaving Alex. However, Jodi Picoult takes us through countless more scenes of domestic abuse before she's convinced that we truly fathom (yes, we get the picture) that it's a tough situation to get untangled from. I almost gave up on the book a few times, but kept reading, hoping it might get better somehow. It didn't happen. I'm just left wondering what happened to the wonderful wisdom and insight Jodi had in her other books....more info
  • Always 5 stars for Jodi Picoult!
    A truly wonderful book. I find myself engrossed in the lives of her characters! A must read... just make sure you have plenty of time. You won't want to put it down!...more info
  • Seriously, save me from this book
    I am a Jodie Picoult fan yet am finding this book an arduous literary sleeping pill. Seriously, I am in the 4th quadrant of the book and Cassie is now going to the indian reservation with the cop. Arghhh, someone please email me and tell me what happens so I don't have to read the rest of this book! ...more info
  • Very disappointing
    This is the story of Cassie, who is found wandering helplessly in a cemetery by a young Indian policeman who just arrived in LA. Cassie suffers from amnesia and we don't know what brought her there, until a hollywood megastar recognizes her as his wife.

    This is by far the most disappointing of Picoult's books, and I've read almost all of them and am a big fan of hers. Cassie is amnesic, yet she does remember stuff and it is not clear at all in the book how comes she recovers from her amnesia or actually how it happened. The story goes back and forth between the present, the past, the memories, and leaves readers lost in the middle.

    I was surprised by other reviewers who were surprised by the ending. Chapter one gives the ending away in my opinion. What is frustrating is that it takes Picoult 350 pages to make her character realise the obvious.

    I also found Cassie to be unreliable and unappealing, let alone her husband Alex, a massive egocentric. The story was very confused, mixing hollywood lifestyle with movie sets in Africa, with anthropology, Indian legends, domestic violence, alcoholism, amnesia - it was just too much for one book and the message was confused.

    If you want a superb story of domestic violence, read Black & Blue by Anna Quindlen. If you want a good Picoult book, read The Pact or My Sister's Keeper, but definitely not Picture Perfect....more info
  • 2 Thumbs Up!
    A lot of people didn't like it, but I thought it was a very interesting book. Sure it's a bit predictable, but the journey and Jodi's writing are what make it worth the read!...more info
  • THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM.....
    After some of the not so stellar reviews of this book I was a little wary of buying it. All said and done, I do not regret it. It is a cautionary tale of what can happen to even the most "perfect" couples and the twisted forms that love can take.

    Cassie's tale will no doubt frustrate many readers and I felt as though the ending did not quite deliver, but I still enjoyed the book and would reccomend it....more info
  • Painful subject - sensitive approach
    Jodi Picoult does a wonderful job of allowing the reader to see that a person CAN love the one who abuses them. Love the sinner, hate the sin. This is a great book to recommend to anyone going through abuse - as well as for the family and friends of abuse victims. This story forgives the victim for feeling the way she feels - as it SHOULD, and provides a level of understanding to people who have not experienced abuse. It also shows that it is possible to love and still walk away. ...more info
  • Less than Picoult's best, but still intriguing
    Cassie Barrett Rivers is found wandering around in a cemetery with a case of amnesia. When her picture is published, her husband comes to pick her up, and to everyone's surprise, he is a famous movie star, Alex Rivers. Gradually Cassie's memory returns, although this is not described or explained well in the book. She begins to remember meeting Alex in Africa where she was asked to serve as a consultant on the set of a movie in which he portrays an archeologist, Cassie's real-life occupation. Alex wines and dines her and eventually asks her to marry him. They feel that they are perfectly suited to one another and are very much in love. However, the perfect picture is marred when Alex begins abusing Cassie, as a reaction to his own abusive childhood. In the typical way of battered wives, Cassie covers for Alex and tells herself that things will get better. Eventually she depends on the half/white, half/Lakota police officer who found her in the cemetery to help rescue her from a bad situation. The mysticism of the Lakota culture is part of the book, but somehow doesn't fit well with the rest of the story. Despite its flaws, the book did hold my attention because of the interesting characters created by author Picoult....more info
  • Long, unrealistic, and all over the place
    I had high hopes for this book, but it lost me in the first few chapters. There wasn't one likable character in the entire book. I thought much of it too far fetched to even be in the realm of believable. Between Indians, Africa, Anthropolgy, Hollywood, Maine, and the Bayou, there was just too much going on. ...more info
  • Entertaining and thought provoking...
    This is my third Jodi Picoult book, the first was "Plain Truth" which I found completely amazing and engrossing. It's difficult for me to explain exactly why I love this author so much - because it's sometimes an inner battle to even read her stories, because the topics are often painful or disturbing. But that's what makes her so good - and although I am admittedly an "escapist" reader who usually reads just for entertainment - reading this was still pure pleasure. A few other reviewers complained about implausibility in this story; I enjoyed the presentation of characters who were very diverse and accomplished, yet still flawed in such basic ways. I also enjoyed the method she uses in this story, the piecing together of the character's past in flashbacks. Good imagery, interesting characters, a great ending. Definitely worth reading, in my opinion....more info
  • Perfect Match
    Not the best book Jody Piccoult has written but still a good read. Gets a little confusing at times......more info
  • Best Jodi Picoult Novel
    This is the seventh novel I have read by Jodi Picoult. I really enjoy all her books but this is definitely my favourite. The characters are such enchanting from Cassie Barrett to Will Flying Horse and even Alex Rivers. This novel does not get as much publicity as the others but I recommend it to everyone and anyone. Read it you will not be disappointed. Also, if you missed reading Tino Georgiou's masterpiece--The Fates, go and read it. It's so addictive.
    ...more info
  • Perfect...
    Jodi Picoult never fails me. This is the 5th book of her that I've read, and despite the fact that it isn't one of her page-turning courtroom drama types, Picture Perfect ranks right up there with my favorite, Plain Truth.

    Anthropologist Cassie Barrett wakes up in a cemetary with a cut on her head and wondering how it got there. Will Flying Horse, a Native American police officer for the LAPD, finds Cassie wandering the streets and rescues her. Cassie doesn't know who she is or what she is doing -- a classic case of amnesia. Will aides in finding Cassie's family only to discover that she is none other than famous Hollywood actor Alex Rivers's wife! Slowly Cassie integrates back into Alex's life of fame, fortune, and house help. Until one day, triggered by something she sees, Cassie's memories and the reason for the cut on her head come flooding back to her. Now the only thing left for Cassie to do is escape....

    I don't know what it is exactly that made me love Picture Perfect so much. The writing, as always, was exceptional, and the style of the writing was very easy flowing. And the story itself was very interesting, honest and believeable. I am an avid fan of Jodi Picoult's and reading Picture Perfect was a solid reminder of why. Kudos to you, Jodi, for another wonderfully rendered portrait of a novel....more info

  • My favorite Picoult book!
    What a great story! Very powerful. The complexity of an abusive relationship is captured in this book. ...more info
  • Top notch writer = Jodi Picoult
    With this book, I will have read all of Ms. Picoult's novels..and haven't been disappointed with any of them....more info
  • Perfect Snooze
    This story had a beginning that had a lot of potential. A woman is found with a cut on her head, wandering around a cemetary and church. The mystery is set as to what happened to this woman? But the amnesia didn't last long, and soon Cassie remembers everything that happened that lead to her loss of memory. Three years prior Cassie married Hollywood star Alex Rivers. Life was just wonderful except for those wee moments when Alex would beat her. And so the tale that leads Cassie to eventually leave her abusive marriage, but only after doing what every other battered woman does: keeps going back hoping he'd change, getting into therepy, having a baby.

    I was glad to see that this novel did not involve a court case, as all the other novels by Picoult did. And the author also portrayed domestic violence quite accurately. But for some reason, I was not immediately pulled in, and felt I could predict the next turn....more info

  • The psychology just isn't really there
    If you've read the synopsis of this book on the main page, I'm giving nothing away by saying that is it a book about an abusive marriage. After having read several of Picoult's novels, I've found that she sometimes has a real talent for delving into the psychology of characters in unusual circumstances. I can't say the same about this book.

    Overall, the book is quite predictable--but, then, abusive relationships in general are predictable. Cassie is abused by her husband, Alex, who then apologizes and promises never to do it again. Everything is wonderful until he loses control and beats her again. Anyone who has ever had the trauma of being in this type or relationship or anyone who has studied them knows that domestic abuse is a cycle. The abuser usually apologizes later, there are usually promises never to abuse again, but, eventually, the abuse reoccurs and the cycle begins again. I think Picoult felt she could spice it up by making the husband a celebrity but studies have shown that affluent couples aren't any less likely to have abusive relationships than less affluent couples, so this plot device really doesn't lend any spice.

    Cassie, overall, was pretty well done but she was also frustrating. Abused women usually do make excuses for their abusers and usually do justify the abuse but I found her ultimate reaction a bit strange. As is typical with abusive relationships, there is a great deal of co-dependency between Cassie and Alex and she holds onto the belief that he is simply broken and that she'll be able to fix him. Initially she does love him but the question that Picoult never fully addresses here is if she ultimately continues to love him as the years go by and the abuse continues. The line between love and resignation becomes rather blurred after a while in such a relationship and it seemed to me that Cassie's reluctance to leave had less to do with love and more to do with other factors.

    As for Alex, I felt Picoult tried a little too hard to make him a sympathetic character. His past is pretty horrible but this is neither a reason nor an excuse for him to beat his wife. Abusive relationships are about control and the bottom line is that Alex's real objective was to control his wife. Picoult sometimes portrays this inclination as love but it isn't really love at all. If Alex did really love his wife, he would have gotten himself some serious therapy and overcome his past in order to ensure that his own marriage would be a healthy one. The bottom line is that I really don't find an abusive husband to be a sympathetic character in any way, shape, or form, no matter how traumatic his past.

    I also felt that the addition of Will was more of a distraction than anything. He's a sort of means to an end for Cassie rather than a character in his own right. His only real purpose in the novel is to swoop in and rescue her and to indirectly help her to find a new spin on the career about which she is passionate. If the novel was really meant to focus on an abusive marriage and its repercussions, Will's addition does nothing to further this plot....more info
  • A good fan gets around to all the books...
    Being a Jodi Picoult fan (as in, I devour her books one after another), I bought this book at a used bookstore in my town. After sitting on the shelf for awhile, I thought I'd add it to my summer reading list. I love her writing, but I really think it's developed throughout the years. I have not read all of her books, but can definitely see an improvement and difference between this one and, say, My Sister's Keeper.

    Just like all her books, this one kept my attention. I like how it wandered back and forth between the past and present. I didn't quite understand Will's role in the book, as he seems to be forgotten throughout the whole second part ("1989-1993"). I wasn't sure if he would have a police role or more of a savior role, and it turned out to be the latter.

    It is obvious that she did her research on the celebrity lifestyle and also on anthropology. I like how she gives her women characters highly-esteemed occupations. Even if the book wasn't her best, I am still encouraged by Cassie's profession as a professor of anthropology.

    It was still a good read and I don't regret spending a few hours in all reading it. But now I will be on to bigger and better things from this beautiful and talented author... The Tenth Circle....more info

 

 
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