Jodi Picoult never ceases to amaze me! ‘Picture Perfect’ is another brilliant novel that draws you in completely and shows you a whirlwind emotional journey from the first page to the last!
The book begins as an unknown woman is found in a graveyard…she cannot remember her own name, let alone how she got there! Luckily, she bumps into a local policeman (albeit the day before he actually starts working for the police…) and he looks after her until (much to their surprise…) her husband arrives to collect her. Oh, yes did I mention that her husband is world-famous filmstar Alex Rivers? Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with the name…neither is Cassie…and she’s the one married to him!
Cassie soon finds herself sucked into the madness of celebrity life and unable to get used to the person that she supposedly used to be. As the story unravels and we get a deeper insight into Cassie and Alex’s relationship…we begin to understand what could have led her to the graveyard that night and why she would want to forget the present and find her true self again.
‘Picture Perfect’ is a fantastic book full of twists and turns and Picoult’s writing keeps you guessing until the very end! It also raises interesting ideas about identity and how easy it is to lose sight of yourself when you’re deeply in love with someone, even if being with them is destructive to yourself.
Wow! Another absolutely fantastic dark, dystopic masterpiece from Margaret Atwood! I absolutely loved reading ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in school and couldn’t wait to get my hands on another Margaret Atwood book! Not having a job for a while and doing various batches of work experience has meant that the majority of books that I’ve been reading lately were kindly given to me from the publishing companies…so after doing some freelance work, I hit town and picked up ‘The Year of the Flood’ and a couple of other books that I’ve had my eye on!
Anyway…I soon delved into the book and into the years surrounding the ‘waterless flood’ that rampaged the planet. Following the entangled lives of two female survivors, Toby and Ren throughout various stages of the disaster and the aftermath. Atwood has this incredible way of creating terrifyingly serene societies whilst simultaneously throwing spanner after spanner into the works in the form of brutish characters like Blanco and attacks by other desperate survivors.
Long before the ‘waterless flood’, Adam One, the gentle-natured leader of the God’s Gardeners, which is a movement dedicated to looking after the planet, predicted that a disaster would wipe the unprepared civilisation away into nothingness and so he (along with various other Adam and Eve’s) began to prepare those who chose to abide by the ways of the Gardeners for that awful time ahead. When it happens, Ren is locked inside a sex-club and Toby has secured herself away in an abandoned spa. Both women use the skills that they gained from their time with the Gardeners to survive against all odds!
It becomes apparent from the outset that loneliness and identity are key themes throughout and both Toby and Ren experience extreme moments of loneliness but also interchange identities throughout (through no fault of their own, but purely for survival!) Another key element of the novel is the idea of the unknown. Neither Ren nor Toby know if any of their loved ones have survived let alone whether anyone else on the planet is still alive out there!
‘The Year of the Flood’ is an extraordinary but haunting novel that shows the importance survival in the face of adversity. In a similar way to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, the idea of identity is evident throughout and it both gains and loses importance in waves throughout the novel. I love Atwood’s writing style, I found myself transported back in time to my GCSE years and the sheer enjoyment that I felt, diving into a dystopia whilst safe in the knowledge that I could close the book and remain in this sometimes difficult though highly favorable world.