Monday, March 7, 2011

Vanishing Acts

People say that you should venture outside of your comfort zone. Try something new, try something that has never really attracted you. You never know what you are missing until you've given it a little taste.

I've avoided reading Jodi Picoult for many, many years. I have glanced at the summaries of her novels - mostly, it seems, containing plots of court cases (ie: murders, child sexual abuse) and other high-drama situations. To be blunt, I'm not into law stories. However, I found Picoult's Vanishing Acts gleaming on a bookstore's shelf and I thought it was high time I gave her work a shot.

Vanishing Acts confronts issues of memory, loss, addiction, and the reinvention of identity. Picoult provides readers with the tale of a father who kidnaps his daughter from his divorced wife. She provides reasons to justify the Father's behaviour, but ultimately leaves it to the reader to determine the gallantry of his actions.

Picoult delivers an exceptional work of fiction. How she crafts her sentences (see some of my favourite quotes below), her multidimensional characters, and her ability to entertain while introducing hefty questions of morality and right and wrong, all lend Vanishing Acts an aura of excellence.

I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in dramatic tales of abduction, identity, and memory. I am so glad I decided to venture out of my reading comfort zone.

Maybe you should, too?


"There isn't one truth, there are dozens. The challenge is getting everyone to agree on one version."
(p. 418)

"Memories aren't stored in the heart or the head or even the soul, if you ask me, but in the spaces between any given two people."
(p. 225).

"I watch her doing the simplest things... and I want to tell her what she means to me, but I never actually say the words. After all, to acknowledge Delia as a drug, I'd have to face the fact that one day I might have to go without her, and this I can't do."
(p. 112)


  1. I too have yet to venture into the world of Jodi Picoult. I'm still hesitant. I'm not sure if I want to read about those topics.

  2. Hi Alexis,

    Thank you for visiting and commenting!

    I know what you mean. I think Vanishing Acts is a bit lighter than some of Picoult's other works (judging from some of the summary's I've seen), but I'm still hesitant to go out and read her other novels. I think it'll be awhile before I go back to her.

    Take care,
    Ms. C

  3. Jodi Picoult sure is one intriguing contemporary author. Her Sister's Keeper is supposed to be her best book if you'd like a suggestion for further reading. Thanks for inspiring us book bloggers to seek a wider comfort zone :)

  4. I have to agree with you that Jodi Picoult's books seem to have a Lifetime Movie feel to them, and most of them have a negative impact. I'm still hesitant about reading any of her books because they are way out of my comfort zone, so we shall see if I ever become curious enough to delve into Picoult's works.

    Happy reading. :)

  5. Thanks for the suggestion, Teacher/Learner :) I haven't read or seen the movie for Her Sister's Keeper.

    You're right, DJL. I never thought of Picoult being like a Lifetime Movie, but I can see it now that you have mentioned it.

    As always, thanks for visiting and commenting!

  6. Picoult is a wonderful writer and the basic story is a good one. I'm still trying to figure out, though, why she thought it was necessary to elaborate on the prison scenes and the Indian tribe history and rituals to the extent she did. These detailed sidebars take the reader on irritating detours from the story. Also, Dee is one of the most self absorbed women I've ever read about. She kept both of her dearest friends as emotional hostages.


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