Perfect Match – Week 6; Chapters 8 & 9

August 19, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match Week 6, vigilante justice | 5 Comments

What the?

A screenplay written by Literate Housewife

As inspired by the last two chapters of Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

Literate Housewife [Kate Winslett] is reading while comfortably reclined with a gently read copy of Perfect Match in her hands.  Her relaxed face grows more and more tight and twisted as she reads through the parts of the book where Caleb pretty much forgives Nina (on Nina’s terms, mind you), the perpetrator dies, and the jury cannot make a decision.  Her drawn face loosens as Nina makes the decision to let the judge decide her fate.  The hope of impending justice is like a muscle relaxer for her soul.

As Literate Housewife reads the judge’s verdict, she bolts up straight in her rocking chair.  “What the f*ck?” she says under her breath as it becomes apparent that the judge is going to let Nina off because, as a prosecuter, she has cause to be scared of what the justice system (the justice system, mind you) would have done to her family.  All the while, Literate Housewife’s hands curl and crinkle the book.  She could have possibly bought that a jury would find her not guilty, but a judge sentencing her to probation?  Does it really matter for how long?  Seriously!

Literate Housewife tosses the book on the foot stool, stands up, and starts pacing for a few moments.  She wipes the hair out of her face, stretches her back, arms, and legs.  She gives her head a good shake and sits back down.  After taking several deep breaths, Literate Housewife picks the book back up.

Patrick is leaving town and won’t stick around for Nina.  Literate Housewife nods.  At least that’s something.  Patrick at least grew up.  She continues to read.

 “What?” she cries.  She flips back a page and rereads a portion of the last pages of the book.  She flips back another time before she screams out loud.  “Caleb killed the perverted priest and his damn cat with anti-freeze?  That’s bullsh*t!” [Last sentence drawn out for effect.]

 Suddenly, as if propelled by rocket fuel, a copy of Perfect Match flies across the room.  It hits the wall with a loud thunk and then falls on the floor in a heap.  Literate Housewife gets up from her rocking chair and, while streaming curses under her breath, walks out of the room.  The last shot is of Literate Housewife giving the beaten up copy of the book a good swift kick.

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Perfect Match – Week 4; Chapter 6

August 4, 2007 at 5:03 pm | Posted in Book Club, Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match Week 4, vigilante justice | 3 Comments

Before I read this chapter, I found myself wondering if I just didn’t like Nina or if the character of Nina was written that way.  After finishing Chapter 6, I still do not like Nina, but I believe that Picoult wrote her character very honestly.  I’m sure that there are people who have read this book who like Nina very much.  One could easily say that she is doing everything in her power to protect her son.  I see a woman who has now, on at least four occassions, tried to tightly control the situation even though each and every attempt has blown up her son’s life.  At what point does a person notice and take to heart that things get worse the more that she interferes?

As I speculated from the beginning, Father Glen was not the man responsible for molesting Nathaniel.  The initial blood tests point to him, but a biological loophole clears him.  It seems that Fr. Glen had a bone marrow transplant because he had leukemia.  The man who provide his bone marrow was the man responsible for molesting Nathaniel.  This man was Fr. Glen’s half-brother and one of the clergy visiting Fr. Glen’s parish.  To Nina’s credit, Nina lets go of her smug self-righteousness long enough to feel guilty for what she did.  She realizes that she is a living, breathing example of why there is a justice system and why vigilante justice is against the law.  Even prosecutors peg the wrong man once in a while.

The guilt and sorrow she feels makes her more human to me.  It didn’t hold Nina back for long, though.  She confides only in Patrick and lies to her husband.  She uses her influence over Patrick to manipulate him into tracking down the man responsible for hurting her son.  She doesn’t believe that Patrick could or would take justice into his own hands, but that doesn’t stop her from planting the bug, so to speak.   When Caleb finally learns the truth, he leaves and takes Nathaniel with him.  Due to the terms of her second release from jail, Nina must stay at home.  Alone.  Where she should have stayed.  Nina doesn’t like to be alone, and Patrick sure did come in handy on Christmas Eve…  She had and took the chance to further damage her family and break the heart of her best friend.

I found the DNA twist to be more than far-fetched.  On top of this being a one in a billion chance that the DNA evidence would be wrong, it also just so happens to be the time when the innocent man was killed before receiving a fair hearing.  Fr. Glen was the wonderful man everyone claimed that he was.  So, I cannot believe that Fr. Glen would not sense that his half brother had a dark side.  I can’t see him allowing the other man any where near children.  He might not have turned his back on his half brother, but he wouldn’t have invited him willingly into his parish life.  Even if he did, wouldn’t Fr. Glen suspect what happened from the moment he was questioned?  Wait!  Maybe he did.  We’ll never know.  He was murdered before his attorney had the chance to speak at his arraignment.

As a reader, I’m not thinking that I am a “perfect match” for this book.  Alas, I will soldier on.

Perfect Match – Week 3; Chapters 4 & 5

July 24, 2007 at 2:31 am | Posted in Book Club, Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match Week 3, vigilante justice | Leave a comment

Sorry this is late!  I haven’t had enough face time with a computer at home.

I have a huge, huge problems with what happens in Chapters 4 and 5:

First of all, there was physical evidence that had yet been completed and reported upon.  That physical evidence could prove with very little doubt that Father Glen was the perpetrator (0r not – I still believe that he’s innocent).  Why not wait until that comes in before taking justice in your own hands?  Until it’s proven that the man is guilty, is it really justice?  Or is it just something that Nina can do to feel like she’s an active participant in something that isn’t about her at all?  She wants to believe that she’s protecting her son, but isn’t she really trying to purge the guilt she feels?  Nina is really a control freak I’ve decided.  She just can’t handle it when she’s not the one calling the shots (pun intended).

Second, how exactly is having your mother potentially imprisoned for the rest of her life any better than facing the man who abused you?  Certainly, it would be difficult, especially for a five-year-old, to testify against someone who has hurt you in the most terrible way while that man/woman is sitting in front of you.  I don’t discount that for one minute.  Isn’t it the responsibility of the parent to frame that for the child to let him/her know that she is brave and doing the right thing.  It seems to me that having the opportunity to speak out against that person may, even if it is down the road, give that child the sense that he/she actively took part in saving his/herself by speaking up.  Now, won’t the child feel as though he/she made Mommy go to jail on top of the rest of the shame?  Yes.  As we witness in Chapter Five, Nathaniel, who is not old enough to know any better, blames himself for his mother’s arrest at the grocery store.

Finally, by pretending to be insane or mentally incapacitated, I think that Nina is doing exactly what she thinks Father Glen is doing – trying to get away with a heinous act.  Nina is betting her life and the well-being of her entire family on the fact that she can outwit the system to get herself acquitted of killing the accused without coming off as so crazy that she is hospitalized.  Did I mention before that I think Nina’s a control freak?  Can I say that I would not want this mother to be my mother-in-law?

To sum up my feelings, Caleb and I are on the same page.  In the same situation, I would not have shown up at her arraignment or rushed to pay her bail.  Caleb may have wanted to do the exact same thing that Nina did, but not following such hot impulses is what sets humans apart from animals.  If everyone was like Nina, we would not live in a civilized society.  What happened to her son was not about her.  What she did, no matter how hard she tries to sell it, was not about him.  For her sake, I hope that Father Glen was the man responsible for molesting Nathaniel.  If not, I have no idea what will happen to her or her family.

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