Monday, February 27, 2012

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult


                          Vanishing Acts


  • Paperback: 417 pages
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Publisher: Hodder 2006
  • Source: Unknown on my bookshelves since 2006.
  • First Sentence : ‘I was six years old the first time I disappeared.’
  • Review Quote : ‘Gripping read …never slips into straightforwardly familiar territory and successfully avoids being overly sentimental’ Guardian
  • My Opinion: I was not impressed.


    As I have more titles by Jodi Picoult on my TBR shelves than by any other author I decided it was time I read another one of her books as I have not done so for a couple of years! I really used to enjoy her novels until I got bored with them all being so similar in format. I Thought it would be interesting to see how I felt after a break. I was not impressed! Maybe my tastes have changed as I really did not enjoy this one. It is strange as did I know somehow that this was going to be the case.  I only discovered the work of this prolific author in 2006 although she has been a published author since the early nineties.  I last reviewed a book of hers here back in August 2009, at which time it appears I was very keen on her writing having read eight up to that date. Why then has it taken me over two years to pick up another one, especially when even after reading this one I still have another six on our bookshelves waiting to be read. They will be read eventually as I am still hoping that this was a one off disappointment.

    What would you do if you found the life you had lived for years was all a lie? This is exactly what happened to Delia Hopkins who has led an almost idyllic childhood with her widowed father. It would have been perfect had her mother not died in a car accident when she was very young. She is now on the verge of marriage with a daughter of her own and a search and rescue job that she loves. Sad that her mother will not be at her wedding she is disturbed by flashbacks from her past that she simple cannot recall. The nature and power of memory are strong and that is the central theme of this powerful story. What happens when the past we did not even know we were running from catches up with us and the memories come back to haunt you.

    This should have been so much better than I found it to be as it had all the potential of being a gripping and sentimental story, which it was in parts. Just the parts that I did not like were a big let down for me. The truth hurts I know but I just found the scenes set inside the American prison system far too disturbing in my current frame of mind. Unfortunately these horrendous scenes spoilt the novel for me but do not let my weakness put you off. If you read this or have already done so I will be interested to know if you think I was over reacting; by letting just part of the story spoil the whole.

    Jodi Picoult

    Jodi Picoult Author profile

     Jodie was born on May 19, 1966 in Nesconset, Long Island, New York,, The United States She studied writing at Princeton University, graduating in 1987, and had two short stories published by Seventeen magazine while still in college. Immediately after graduation, she took on a series of miscellaneous jobs, from editing at a textbook publishing company to teaching eighth grade English classes. Soon after, she attended Harvard University to earn her master's degree in education.
    Her novels tend to centre on human emotion and complex human relationships. Most of her books' storylines incorporate a criminal or civil case which lasts throughout the book's narrative, concluding shortly before the book ends. In books that don't follow this pattern, an attorney character is still often included. At the end of nearly all of her books, there is an unexpected twist.

    Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult Book Trailer – No Spoiler.

    Uploaded by italiandiesel on Apr 5, 2010

    The biographical information photo and the video used in this post are with thanks to the following websites.

    Book Twelve - Vanishing Acts - Excerpt etc.

    Goodreads - Author Profile

    Jodi Picoult - Official Website

    You Tube - Vanishing Acts


    1. Can you believe this was the first Jodi Picoult book that I read? ... which might be why I don't read her much:(

      1. I certainly think you might have picked the wrong one to start with.

    2. Hi Linda,

      I have several of her books on my shelves, but believe it or not, I have never actually read any of them.

      I generally quite like books which deal with relationships and emotions, so maybe I should dig this one out if I have it and give it a try, to see if I am of the same opinion as yourself and your previous commenter.

      It is always good to see an honest review as well. We don't need to like every book we read, that doesn't mean to say that there is anything wrong with the writing, it is just a matter of personal taste.

      I hope that your current book is more suited to your mood and that you are having a good week so far.

      1. Thankyou, I would certainly be interested to know how you get on. I will definitely be continuing to read her novels as like you I have them already on my TBR bookshelves.

        Personal taste is absolutely right, I do not like to criticise as I admire authors for writing novels, but I do also do not see the point of not being honest.

        I am loving the book I am reading now, one of my favourite authors Linda Gillard. Do you know her work?

    3. I read 'My Sister's Keeper' long time back and really liked it. Haven't read any other by this author after that. But the weakness that you have mentioned is true for me too so I guess I would rather not pick this one up. Thanks for the review.

      1. So did I although it really tugged at my heart strings!

    4. This is one of the few Jodi Picoult books I haven't read, thanks for the review LindyLou, good to hear your thoughts on it.

      1. I am glad you found it of interest, let me know what you think if you do read this.

    5. I gave it 4/5 when I read it but sadly it was before my reviewing days so can't link up mine nor really recall it. I have a few of JP on my tbr and I loved the ones I have read so far except songs of a humpedback whale which I think was a 50/50 for me.


      1. She has written so many and I still have lots of them on Mt TBR. Songs of a Humpedback Whale was actually her very first published work, in 1992 and was republished in 2008, it is on my shelf!

    6. Hello Lindy,
      I've not read much by Jodi Picoult, only a book called songs of the humpback whale, which i liked a lot!
      Your reviews are informative and organised, and they let me make up my mind about whether or not to read a book easily. Thank you for such nice reviews!

      Lindy, I am a book fanatic,and I recently started my own book review blog. It’s only two posts old, but I’m going to update very regularly.

      Please pay me a visit at

      If you like the blog, please become a follower! I really need feedback and encouragement from experienced reviewers like you.

      Thank you!

      1. Thankyou for calling by and commenting, I hope to see you here again, now off to visit your blog.

    7. This is one book that left me feeling so deeply, it's almost hard to put into words. Its the first time I've read a book by Ms. Picoult.
      The presentation of the story from several of the character's perspective is nothing short of literary genius. It affords you the reader a fuller, broader, more well rounded story because it's all in the first person. The second thing that stands out for me was the amount of research that went into this story. Kudos to Ms. Picoult for a job exceptionally done. It added to the vibrant fabric of this well crafted story in such a natural way that it only enhanced the experience of reading it. And of course there was the story itself. I could talk about the story, the characters, the revelations. But honestly all I can think of is love. The love of a father for his daughter. The bond that such a love can create. It's about when your life is put on trial and under the microscope, what realizations, enlightenments do you come away with.

      1. Hi Portugal, If you enjoyed this one so much considering it is the first of her novels that you have read, I recommend the rest of her work to you.


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