Heeeeeellllo readers hope you’re well! Got a little bit of a blast from the past today cause this book came out in 1996?! TEN YEARS AGO? I don’t remember when I read this, but I know that this was originally my Mum’s. There’s actually a bookshelf at home that is dedicated just to books that can be borrowed/taken/read, because she has finished with them. It’s definitely something I want to do when I have my own flat so people know which books can be taken and dog-eared and which can’t? Anyway I’m rambling agaaaain – onto the review.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time,The Storyteller, and Nineteen Minutes…
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?
As the blurb suggests the book follows the life of Cassie Barrett who is found, injured, wandering around downtown Los Angeles, knowing nothing about her identity but is found by rookie police officer Will Flying Horse who tries to find out who she is. After a few days her husband comes to find her and he happens to be the famous actor Alex Rivers. As she tries to piece back together what has happened and her life she reads through interviews that their marriage is perfect, healthy and strong. As Cassie starts to remember she realises that there is a darker side to Alex and we watch as she tries to understand what happened and how she can get her life back.
So, did I enjoy this – well I have a couple of reasons why I think it made it onto my mum’s shelf. Cassie is our typical Picoult martyr style character – living through the death of her best friend Connor who was killed by his abusive father, she is a lovely, smart, and a character who catches the eye of Alex, who is your stereotypical, popular, seemingly attentive husband-to-be. He is however hiding terrifying qualities, underneath the surface and Cassie is baring the brunt of it. Will is struggling to find himself – running from his family upbringing and desperate to help Cassie.
The story works because of three main reasons its realistic, it has really well-written characters and the plot is very captivating; as Cassie starts to get her memory back, we get more and more snippets of information; this not only relates to the title of the book ie Picture Perfect, which does truly tell the tale that no matter how perfect the outside looks; Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, outside perceptions of ourselves, the actually reality is very rarely so similar to what we share as a picture of ourselves. As we go through the book we learn more about each character; it’s easy to hate a character like Alex but the author works hard to add a mirror effect of the reasons for his behavior (to a point.)
In terms of the plot the writing is well paced – we’re never desperately waiting for new information to make the book make sense but we’re also not needing something to push it along, it all fits nicely. The title is a perfectly fitting title which is a little extra yes from me and I liked the moral woven throughout. One slight wobble and I know it’s been picked up on Goodreads, is that at times the author does tend to glorify abuse a little to make Cassie look like a hero – it’s glamorisation of something that affects thousands and although it’s not overly done (in my opinion) because I know there’s more too it than just making Cassie look good (we don’t really know enough to make enough of a claim about her being able to leave with no feelings for Alex) it was straying towards that.
So, if I were to review in comparison to the author’s other books – I didn’t like this as much as some of her newer books, because I think the writing style has definitely become a lot more modern, but there’s something very warming about this book – I haven’t written too much about Will but he’s a major part of this tale and takes a very important role; definitely worth a read but not the best this author has written in my opinion.