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Picture Perfect    by Jodi Picoult order for
Picture Perfect
by Jodi Picoult
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2002 (1995)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
*   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Archaeologist Cassie Rivers suffers from amnesia, trying to block from her mind and her soul the abuse her husband Alex Rivers - a handsome, award winning movie star - heaped upon her while trying to scourge the pain of his childhood from his psyche. Jodi Picoult has done her usual fine job of creating seemingly real people to tell Cassie's story - a half-white Lakota Indian, an outrageous roommate whom anyone would adore to call best friend, a loving Indian couple who succor her at just the right time. However I could never really bring them physically to mind. Descriptions were sparse. I knew how they thought and what they liked and didn't like, but didn't know if they were tall or short, slim or fat, handsome or homely.

Indian folklore abounds in Picture Perfect and sets the stage for some wonderful word pictures of the Black Hills and the Indian reservation. Unfortunately, the action could have taken place anywhere. I never really felt in the scene. This story of human emotions is carefully told and I bled for Cassie and felt a twinge for Alex. But, for instance, I could never place Cassie on the Serengeti on an archeological dig. I spent a vacation on safari there and was overwhelmed at the immensity of the plain and the sights and sounds that were missing from Cassie's campsite near wild animals. I stood on the lip of the Olduvai Gorge, the site of Leakey's discoveries, and was struck by the red robes of the Maasi warriors, live red dots walking up to twenty miles a day. Cassie digs at the Gorge, and doesn't seem impressed by the opportunity.

I like Picoult's books, but think she has improved since this one was written. The author has told a great story, but a vast part of it is missing - the scenes that would have drawn the reader into the action.

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