Review

Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story: A Beautiful Photographer, Her Mormon Lover, and a Brutal Murder

by Shanna Hogan

Before they met, Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander were on two seemingly divergent life paths. Travis was a successful salesman of prepaid legal insurance plans, a practicing Mormon, and a guy who really seemed to be going places. In contrast, Jodi was a high school dropout, waitress and aspiring photographer who bounced from one relationship to another, looking for love in all the wrong places. What could the two possibly have in common? More than you'd think, actually.

While Travis and Jodi were in attendance at a convention for Prepaid Legal in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September 2006, Travis introduced himself to Jodi and engaged in a brief conversation. The following day, he invited her to a formal ball being held for the top Prepaid Legal executives, an elite group of which Travis was a member. Flattered and interested, Jodi immediately accepted.

No doubt attracted to Jodi's blond good looks, big dark eyes and playful manner, Travis went out of his way to further his acquaintance with her, never knowing that one day this woman would be the death of him, literally. Unfortunately for these two, what happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas at all.

"...a riveting read that paints a vivid picture of this unfortunate couple who illustrate so clearly what happens when an obsessive relationship goes horribly awry."

Blissfully ignorant that September day, the couple began a relationship with each other that would quickly become sexual. Not so unusual in this day and time, a carefree, no-ties sexual relationship was a problem for Travis, who was a practicing Mormon and bound by religious principles that demanded celibacy before marriage, preferably to another Mormon when the time came.

Jodi, on the other hand, grew up without a religious connection of any kind, leaving her free to quickly embrace Mormonism when she thought it would strengthen her relationship to Travis. But even her conversion to the Mormon religion didn't sway her from exploring a sexual relationship with Travis against all the teachings of the church she had recently joined.

Unfortunately for Jodi, Travis didn't view her as marriage material, a commitment that Jodi desperately wanted. While she was certainly good enough for Travis to spend time with, in and out of bed, he didn't take her seriously as a possible wife. To add insult to injury, Travis was unfaithful to Jodi with other girls, girls whom he designated as possible contenders for the one-day role as Mrs. Travis Alexander.

Even as Jodi and Travis began to fight more, break up and drift apart, their sexual connection brought them back together time and time again. Eventually, an altercation between the pair led to Travis's death in a violent confrontation that Jodi deemed self-defense and prosecutors called an unconscionable slaughter.

PICTURE PERFECT tells the tale that has fascinated the American public since its occurrence in 2008. Now that the trial is over and Jodi is behind bars, the demand for more information about Jodi and Travis continues. Fortunately, Shanna Hogan has stepped into the gap and brought us a riveting read that paints a vivid picture of this unfortunate couple who illustrate so clearly what happens when an obsessive relationship goes horribly awry.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on September 6, 2013

Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story: A Beautiful Photographer, Her Mormon Lover, and a Brutal Murder
by Shanna Hogan

  • Publication Date: September 3, 2013
  • Genres: Nonfiction, True Crime
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250049458
  • ISBN-13: 9781250049452