This is the first book by Jodi Picoult which I have read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I would describe Vanishing Acts as long, intriguing, multi-layered. Is it the greatest? No, but it makes me want to read more of her books. Her multiple-perspectives mean you get a 360° view of a situation and see how different people view the same thing, something we are not always privy to in real life.
Delia Hopkins lives in New Hampshire with her widowed father Andrew and her daughter Sophie. She works with her own search-and-rescue bloodhound to find missing people. She is about to marry Eric, a friend since childhood. Everything seems happy, except for strange dreams which she cannot explain. ‘I am little, and he has just finished planting a lemon tree in our backyard. I am dancing around it. I want to make lemonade, but there isn’t any fruit because the tree is just a baby. How long will it take to grow one? I ask. A while, he tells me. I sit myself down in front of it to watch. He comes over and takes my hand. Come on, grilla, he says. If we’re going to sit here that long, we’d better get something to eat.’ Fitz, a journalist, who also grew up with Delia and Eric, cannot explain the significance of the lemon tree. But the puzzles keep coming, after a policeman knocks on the door and arrests her father for kidnapping.
This is a story about repressed memory and triggered memory, the difference of which is central to the court case which is the core of this novel. It is about trust, instinct and loyalty and how sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do.
It is a long book and some sections felt over-written, a style I sometimes find with American authors; using two metaphors where one will do. But the plotting is excellent and the rope of tension pulls you mercilessly onwards. My paperback [below] is an American edition by Washington Square Press, it changes typeface for each different point of view which I found surprisingly irritating.
‘Vanishing Acts’ by Jodi Picoult [UK: Hodder]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
VANISHING ACTS by @JodiPicoult #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2uE