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Vanishing Acts

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Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it." In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth - even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you've loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you've always taken for granted? Vanishing Acts explores how life - as we know it - might not turn out the way we imagined; how doing the right thing could mean doing the wrong thing; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat.

426 pages, Paperback

First published March 5, 2005

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About the author

Jodi Picoult

120 books72.1k followers
Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including Wish You Were Here, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, and My Sister’s Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire.

MAD HONEY, her new novel co-authored with Jennifer Finney Boylan, is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio on October 4, 2022.

Website: http://www.jodipicoult.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jodipicoult

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jodipicoult

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,907 reviews
Profile Image for Jen.
357 reviews36 followers
May 16, 2008
I'd never read any Jodi Picoult before. I read the first 100 or so pages of this one and didn't want to read any more. I found it very uneven, and the character of Delia just ran around being shrill, unreasonable, and oblivious, while there are three men in her life who seem to live only to please her. Jeez.

Also, I could tell the answer to the "mystery" of why the father did what he did was going to be a long time coming--there seemed to be a lot of secrets conveniently being kept, which I think really just served to draw the story out and keep the reader interested along the way. And at 419 pages, that's a long way to go. I was curious enough to find out the "why" of the mystery, so I read the ending and leafed thru a few middle bits. I don't feel like I missed anything.
Profile Image for Teri Zipf.
Author 3 books8 followers
November 2, 2012
Never reading Jodi Picoult again. If there were just one thing wrong with this book I'd give her another try, but read on.

The number one thing I hated about this book was the Hopi character who has breast cancer and kills herself, without bothering to get any treatment, just jumps off a cliff in front of Delia, who doesn't stop her because if she had to look forward to losing her hair and a breast, she'd probably do it too. Well good god, hair grows back. They can give you new, bigger boobs. But no one can restore you to your family and friends. If this woman had had a chance to think this over, if someone had bothered to go to the doctor with her and see what her options are, she might have changed her mind.

We're never given enough information for this to have seemed to have been an informed decision. The woman obviously wasn't in any advanced state of cancer, as she hiked out to this remote spot to jump from, and had previously continued every activity of daily living unimpaired. Why Picoult would even want to put this in a book calls her entire brain into question.

The number two thing is Dear Daddy. While being held in jail, mind you, not prison, but county jail, Dear Daddy gets involved in a drug ring manufacturing and selling meth, shoots someone in the eye with a staple, makes a gun, hides a bullet, smuggles drugs and more. Oh yeah and holds his best buddy, the Black Guy Who Has to Die, in his arms as he dies. This is all in what seems to have been about 2 months. And yet Dear Daddy is the good guy. The reader is the only one who knows this, which makes you wonder why it's there at all, but still, if that doesn't reflect on Daddy's character, I don't know what it would take.

Number 3. Mommy has not had a drink in 26 years, and reaches out to Delia, and yet there's no indication that Delia has the emotional maturity to forgive and establish a relationship. Get over it Delia.

Number 4, Delia. Delia has one admirable trait, being a good mom. Which turns out to be just thinking she's a good mom, see below. Other than that, she's a self-centered, self-righteous bitch who never cuts anyone any slack.

Number 5. Victor, Mommy's boyfriend, may or may not have molested Delia, and yet even though he took her daughter for a visit WITHOUT ASKING and had her alone for an uncertain amount of time, Delia, Mother of the Year, never follows up on checking whether Victor may have molested her own daughter, nor does she even tell Victor that that taking a kid without asking is not OK.

Number 6. Eric, Delia's fiance, also alcoholic, starts drinking while defending Daddy. So, why does Delia insist on him taking the case? He is most emphatically NOT the best man for the case, as he's not a member of the Arizona bar, has never defended anyone on this kind of charge or even any criminal charges that we know of, and has a background that is sure to cause his immense emotional distress in defending Daddy.

But Delia doesn't care about Eric, Delia cares about Delia, and it never crosses her mind to hire someone else. This is because Delia lives in a novel and Jodi Picoult has a lot of points to make.

Again, even though Eric himself hasn't drunk for 2 years, Jodi Picoult can't leave him alone and let him be a good guy. Like Mommy, he is bad. Oh, not really bad, because like Fitz and her father, Eric's whole world just revolves around Darling Delia, so that makes him OK. But he is someone you have to throw away for the good of your child. So Delia throws him away for Fitz. I mean the good of her child. Who will be scarred by the whole experience.

Finally, although Delia is supposed to be a great mother she never gives a thought to how her child might take this throwing over of Eric, her father, for this other dude. This is because both the guys love Delia, and therefore her daughter, and she probably just won't notice the difference.

Number 7, Fitz as a character has one characteristic; he's hopelessly in love with Delia. This is enough for both Delia and Picoult. It's also the only thing he ever talks about, and losing his job is apparently so inconsequential that no one even wonders how he and Delia are going to pay the bills when they get back to New Hampshire. Last I heard, search and rescue, Delia's so-called career, is a volunteer gig, not a paying job. No wonder she still lives with Daddy!

Fitz is basically just standing around, waiting for Delia to ride off into the sunset with him. That is, once Eric's life is trashed. This switch from love of her life Eric to best friend Fitz takes about a 2 weeks for Delia to justify. Good luck to all of them.

Number 8: I could forgive all the writer's workshop flowery writing if that was the only fault of this book, but it's not. This book in no way stands up to the oh-so-beautiful writing. All the freaking metaphors while the lovemaking characters who are 5 minutes from breaking up was enough to make you puke. Pull a curtain over it gentle writer, and move on.

This is a really bad romance novel, not a poem. There were no passages that made me want to stop and underline, there were only great globs of writing I wanted to stop and draw a line through. Truly the worst novel I've read this year if only because of its pretensions. Throw in the rest, and it's bad on a scale I haven't encountered in a long time.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
April 20, 2022
Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult

Vanishing Acts focuses on Delia Hopkins, a missing persons' investigator, and her family, including her young daughter, Sophie, her widowed father, Andrew, and her search and rescue bloodhound, Greta. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can’t recall…until a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret about herself that changes the world as she knows it and threatens to jeopardize her future. The novel is set in rural New Hampshire.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز هجدهم ماه آوریل سال2022میلادی

عنوان: آرام آرام از یاد می‌بریم؛ نویسنده: جودی پیکولت؛ مترجم: مهگونه قهرمان؛ ویراستار: علی‌اصغر عبداللهی؛ تهران، پیکان، سال1399؛ در421ص؛ شابک9789643289102؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

بازرسِ افراد گمشده «دِلیا هاپکینز»، با پدرش «اندرو»، و دختر جوانش «سوفی»، در «نیوهمپشایر» زندگی میکنند؛ «دلیا» برای یافتن افراد ناپدید شده تلاش میکند؛ او در آستانه ی ازدواج با دوستی از دوران کودکی خویش «اریک» است؛ تا اینکه شبی پلیس زنگ خانه را به صدا درمیآورد و پرده از رازی برداشته میشود، که نه تنها زندگی «دِلیا» را زیر و زبر میکند، بلکه آینده او را نیز به خطر میاندازد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 30/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Hollyhocks.
307 reviews14 followers
September 8, 2007
Okay, I got to disk 10 and could not listen to this nonsense anymore! There's so much to this book that coulda been left out! I'm annoyed w/ all the Hopi Indian stuff and the gruesome prison scenes .. and the skirting around the truth crap ... I liked this book in the beginning and the way it was set up switching perspectives but then when it got to Fitz' charachter and everytime thereafter I felt ill .. what man is really like this? I thought I was listening to a female w/ all this unrequited love b.s. ... So I looked this book up on the internet for spoilers and the stuff I saw coming does happen but other stuff makes me glad I'm deciding not to read to the end .. what a ridiculous excuse for a book. I'm wondering why people like Jodi Piccoult so much and am very apprehensive about picking another one of her books ..
Profile Image for Stephanie.
133 reviews3 followers
October 23, 2007
I have sort of a love-hate relationship with Jodi Picoult books. I really enjoyed Plain Truth and My Sister's Keeper, but there are definitely things about her writing that irritate me. It seems they were more apparent in this one. I personally think metaphors would be more effective (and part of a beautiful written piece) if they are few and really well woven into the book. In Vanishing Acts, Picoult tended to bash the reader over the head with meaningfulness and metaphorical irony.
So basically, if you've read and liked other Picoult books, read this one too. But if you've never read one of her books, start with a much better one (Plain Truth is my favorite) and only get to this one if you really like it.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,341 reviews115 followers
July 6, 2021
I thought this book was absolutely fantastic however there were some parts that I found really hard to get through. Picoult in her usual way brings her characters to life and I feel her characters more than I feel most and I felt like that 60 year old adapting to life behind bars, it was a difficult read.

On the other end of the scale though it does make you realise how much has changed in terms of parental rights for fathers in most parts of the world since the 70’s.

5 stars.
Profile Image for Michele.
Author 5 books93 followers
June 27, 2007
"The Only Way Someone Can Leave You Is If You Let Them."

Vanishing Acts is yet another well told tale by Jodi Picoult, who is a master at character development. Once again telling the story through first person accounts of the main characters, she weaves together a family drama centered on a "kidnapping" that had occurred 28 years earlier.

Thirty-one year old Delia Hopkins, aka Bethany Matthews, discovers her loving and devoted father, took her away from her alcoholic mother and her childhood in Scottsdale, AZ, created new identities for himself and his daughter, and raised her on lies in New Hampshire. Delia believed her mother was killed in a car accident. When her father is arrested for the crime and put on trial back in Arizona, everything Delia knows to be true about her life and her world unravels.

This is a quick and easy read. Through Delia, who for a living works with a bloodhound named "Greta" to track and find missing people, we experience the irony of her chosen occupation. Through her fiance, Eric, an alcoholic and the lawyer who defends Delia's father, we get a close up look at how alcoholism can destroy/alter so many families. Through Andrew Hopkins, aka Charlie Matthews, we get an insider's look at life in prison and learn to understand the desperation of a loving father. Other pertinent characters include Fitz, the best friend of both Delia and Eric, Sophie, Delia and Eric's young daughter, and Ruthanne, a Native American woman Delia and Sophie meet in a trailer park, where they temporarily reside in Arizona during the trial.

Fans of Picoult will not be disappointed. I recommend this book for readers who look for good writing and interesting, dramatic story lines.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
19 reviews
January 12, 2008
I have been working my way through Jodi Picoult's books for the last couple of weeks and was really disappointed by this book. I had previously read My Sister's Keeper and The Pact and although I didn't love them I thought they were very well written and the multiple character angle worked in them. My main problem with this book was that there was too much going on, from start to finish there were just too many story lines (I felt the relationship between Delia, Erik and Fitz was pointless and was really disappointed in the outcome at the end of the book) and characters to keep track of (all of Andrew's jail mates and the Hopi people added unnecessary confusing trying to keep everyone straight). The final surprise at the end of the book was almost an after though (although the basis of it was introduced early in the book) and although it served a purpose I think it was too easy of an out.
Profile Image for Cynnamon.
530 reviews99 followers
September 24, 2021
For English version please scroll down


Und sie hat es wieder getan

Nach “Beim Leben meiner Schwester” ist dies der zweite Roman von Jodi Picoult, den ich gelesen habe.

In diesem Buch geht es um eine junge Frau, Ende 20, die bei ihrem hingebungsvollen,- alleinerziehenden Vater aufgewachsen ist. Sie ist seit ihrer Kindheit mit den beiden Gleichaltrigen Eric und Fitz sehr eng befreundet. Mit Eric hat sie eine vierjährige Tochter und ist mit ihm verlobt.

Nun steht ganz plötzlich völlig unerwartet die Polizei vor der Tür und verhaftet Delias Vater. Delia, aber auch Eric und Fitz müssen nun mit der Vergangenheit des Vaters, aber auch mit ihrer eigenen Geschichte fertig werden und versuchen, eine Lösung für die Situation zu finden.

Delia ist keine Figur, die mir sonderlich sympathisch war. Sie ist umgeben von 3 Männern, die alles für sie tun, benimmt sich aber so, als ob das alles für sie nicht genug ist.

Kommen wir aber nun zu den Punkten, die ich als wesentlich störender empfand.

Die Autorin bietet dem Leser hier einen ganzen Gemischtwarenladen unterschiedlicher Themen an:

Durch die Vielzahl der Themen, die jedes für sich allein genommen reichlich Stoff für ein Buch hergeben, kann natürlich jedes einzelne Thema nur höchst oberflächlich behandelt werden.

Genauso oberflächlich ist die emotionale Gestaltung der Figuren, insbesondere die von Delia, ausgefallen

Und jetzt kommen wir zu dem Punkt, der mich ernsthaft verärgert hat, bei Picoult aber offenbar zur Plotkonstruktion gehört, die sie in jedem ihrer Romane abarbeitet. Zuerst tasten wir uns über die gesamte Länge des Buches sehr langsam an all die verborgenen Geheimnisse der Vergangenheit ran, um dann 20 Seiten vor Ende des Romans mit einer total überraschenden und zuvor nicht absehbaren WEndung konfrontiert zu werden, die der Geschichte eine völlig andere Richtung gibt. Und – weil das noch nicht genug ist: auf den allerletzten paar Seiten passiert dann noch etwas, was der eben geschehenen überraschenden Wendung nochmal eine neue Bedeutung verleiht. Glaubwürdigkeit und logische Zusammenhänge bleiben da natürlich vollkommen auf der Strecke.

Und um zum Schluss noch mal den Bogen zur Überschrift zu spannen: Jodi Picoult hat er erneut geschafft ein wichtiges und bedeutsames Thema zu einer verkitschten Trivialschmonzette zu verhunzen. Ein Gutes hat die Sache allerdings: Ich weiß jetzt mit Sicherheit, dass diese Autorin keinen Lesestoff für mich produziert.


And she did it again

After “My Sister's Keeper”, this is the second Jodi Picoult novel I have read.

This book is about a young woman in her late twenties who grew up with her devoted, single father. She has been very close friends with her two peers, Eric and Fitz, since she was a child. She has a four-year-old daughter with Eric and is engaged to him.

Now all of a sudden the police are at the door, completely unexpectedly, and arrest Delia's father. Delia, but also Eric and Fitz now have to come to terms with the father's past, but also with their own story, and try to find a solution to the situation.

Delia is not a character that I particularly liked. She is surrounded by 3 men who would do anything for her but acts like all of this is not enough for her.

But now we come to the points that I found to be much more annoying.

The author offers the reader a whole potpourri of different topics:

Due to the multitude of topics, each of which alone provides plenty of material for a book, each individual topic can of course only be treated very superficially.

The emotional design of the characters, especially that of Delia, is just as superficial.

And now we come to the point that seriously annoyed me, but for Picoult apparently belongs to the plot construction that she works through in each of her novels. First, we feel our way very slowly over the entire length of the book to all the hidden secrets of the past, only to be confronted 20 pages before the end of the novel with a totally surprising and previously unforeseeable turn that gives the story a completely different direction . And - because that's not enough: on the very last couple of pages, something happens that gives the surprising twist that has just happened a new meaning. Of course, credibility and logical connections fall by the wayside.

And finally to close the circle to the headline: Jodi Picoult has once again managed to screw up an important and significant topic into a kitschy trivial shmoozer. However, there is one good thing about it: I now know for sure that this author does not produce any reading material for me.

Profile Image for ╟ ♫ Tima ♪ ╣ ♥.
370 reviews22 followers
July 1, 2012
Page 70, review: I've just barely cracked into this book but I already needed to comment on something. I really dislike Picoult's use of different fonts for each character. (she does the same in My Sister's Keeper If you cannot write a character well enough that it can't stand alone in generic font..you ought to start writing from one perspective only. Barbara Kingsolver writes almost all her novels from the view of 3-4 different people per story and keeps the same font. She gives them such depth and voice that they are entirely identifiable, no matter the font they're in.

Page 214, review: Qualms #2 & #3 about this book. I really am disliking the inconsistent perspectives the characters are using. Some of the characters are narrating in 1st person and some are narrating in 2nd person. There's one [the father] who switches between the two of them. It's making me want to smash the book in the garbage disposal. Qualm 3 is that this book is just a bit ridiculous, I'd love to give a full example of why, but i'm not ready to set up my spoiler tags yet.. oi vey!

Page 300, review:

Final Review: This book was pretty bad. It started out strong, interesting plot. Then gave way to a boring, predictable love triangle, a random section involving the Hopi Indians that seemed really out of place in the story and really awful decision with the father's story line. Truth be told, I skipped the last 100 pages and read the final chapter, amazing that I still knew exactly what had happened and didn't have to page backwards for clarifications. I thought the character development was sub-par and if she cut this book in half, it probably would've been a decent novel.
Profile Image for Laura.
696 reviews100 followers
November 2, 2016
I have a slight love/hate relationship with Jodi Picoult novels. There have been a couple which I absolutely adored and several more that I didn't enjoy at all. This latest read falls firmly somewhere in the middle.

I enjoyed the initial plot outline, it was something different and I felt empathy for the lead characters. By midway, I was beginning to feel a little bored as I knew where the story was heading. The writing felt dated. By the time the grand court case that Picoult is famous for came to be, I had lost ninety percent of my patience with the book and found myself skimming the long court based conversations.

Indeed some of the characters are interesting but too many of their actions felt contrived. As so many of this authors books focus on similar topics, she needs to ensure that every single one is brilliant. This was just about okay. To date, her best book has been The Storyteller.

On a final note, this book signifies my 100th read in 2016, reaching my target. With still several weeks of the year to go, I hope to exceed my initial target by tackling several more books on my ever growing to read list.
Profile Image for Laila.
Author 43 books139 followers
November 12, 2018
I've read better from her. It wasn't terrible and I enjoyed parts of it, but all in all there were too many issues that bothered me and left me with an odd feeling. Partly, and I've had the same issue with some of her other books, especially my sister's keeper, where I feel like my idea of poetic justice or how people feel and react are just SLIGHTLY off hers. Which is worse than completely off, somehow.

Mostly I feel like she crammed a few too many side-plots and characters into this.
- I really could have done without the love triangle or Fitz the character (whiny, useless, zero agency in the story)
- Same with her mother's santaria. While I liked the Native American subplot (I'm no expert in how it was handled) because it really factored into the story and led to insights the MC needed, her mother's witchcraft was just this loose thread that never tied back into the plot.
- Same with the Orange-is-the-new-Black stuff with Andrew in prison. I get that it showed how he can become a criminal when pushed into it, but the elements just seemed jangled and weird and it kept ripping me out of the story. And the worst: it has ZERO impact on the story or the main character. It's just gruesome stuff that happens to him, while he can brag (like Piper in Oitnb) that he is the ONLY white non-racist ever to enter prison *yawn*.

And I never say this, but OMG the "big secret" was so effing obvious it hurt how stupid and blind all the characters were. I really don't mind being able to figure out how things end, that's fine with me, but when the clues are so obvious and none of the characters react to it at all... yeah. Not good.

Finally... the ending.
Profile Image for Liza.
29 reviews2 followers
November 21, 2007
I'm in a Piccoult zone. THis is the second book of hers that I've read and I"ve just started a new one. I appreciate the depth of the topics she writes about, this one, the ethics of a father's decision to kidnap his daughter from a staggering, alcoholic mother. Was the daughter better off never knowing her mother? Was losing her daughter what the mother needed to get clean, the ultimate tough love test? Did the father have the right to make that decision for everyone based on his fears and discomforts in the situation? Were there other alternatives for a man, a single father, in the seventies?

Fact is, this is a very real situation that deserves very real attention. I think Jodi Piccoult touched on some of the more elusive elements of situations like these, and touched on them well.

So far, two books into her collection, I am very impressed.
Profile Image for kwesi 章英狮.
292 reviews723 followers
March 14, 2011
I don't know why Jodi copied her first book's concept about having a 5 different person's point of view. But it only differs to the topic that Jodi wanted to be enjoyed by the reader, unfortunately I never enjoyed it. The positive side, it was an easy read and it doesn't takes your whole day scourging your eyes from leaping undesirable pages. Compared to her first book, this one is better but I'm not really into comparing her works and she really improves in her past few books.

The thing is, at first the book was an okay read, but as you go on the puppets that Jodi created were trying to act by their own selves, acting in a certain way that made the characters acts in one way or being self-centered. I don't really like to push the fact that I never enjoyed her characters but what really struck me was her concept that wanted to show a situation that people are not normally taken in the society, they are heart-warming but very fragile in some point. Trying to consider the situation of a father who snatched their identity of his daughter that is against the law by avoiding traumatic childhood experiences. See, a very interesting situation.

The only disaster to this book was the changing character's point of view, their is five characters that simply emphasizes different person and sometimes they tell stories that flashes back the memories of Delia Hopkins. I mean having five different character's point of view is not really the problem if she only carefully construct the whole series.

It started when an officer is looking for her father and accusing of kidnapping, that made Delia Hopkins' rumble her mind by trying to decode her past. She can never remember her 4 years experience but one thing that really force her to know was her dream of her father planting a lemon tree if I'm not mistaken in the backyard. Trying to decode the lady the day she forgotten her memories. The lady that she thought died in a car crush.

As a father and having an alcoholic wife, he forces himself to be excluded to her past just trying to change the life of his daughter. Trying to avoid consequences in the near future. But what happened to Delia, she was young to decide but she was grateful of what her father done to her. The days or her childhood days that she enjoyed with her father than having a traumatic experience with a broken family and an alcoholic wife.

I don't have this intensive or intimate relationship with my father but I really appreciated Jodi's novel. Thumbs up Jodi and judging from what you wrote you really had a golden heart that can be shared and appreciated by others. Don't forget my orchard trip!

Rating - Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult, 1 Sweets and the right decision of a father to reside her daughter into a brave new world. (Jodi, I'm not happy with Vanishing Acts but I really enjoyed the last 2 books I read before depreciating this book. Keep up the good work not with this disoriented characters, I can wait for years just to read your book, I'm young and yes you're still young so take your time in writing. Don't make everything like a racket, once it flows fast it explodes and destroys people.)

Book #48 for 2011
Book #30 for Off the Shelf!
Book #4 for Jodi Picoult Reading Challenge 2011

Profile Image for Holly.
49 reviews21 followers
May 22, 2008
I either liked this one four stars or two, depending on the part I'm thinking of. As always, Jodi Picoult handles astonishing emotional situations and provides plenty to care and think about when a grown woman learns she was abducted as a child--by her kind and nurturing father.

The rest of the story centers around the characters and the ensuing legal drama. It is heavily a story about motherhood and expectations, with a realistic angle on alcholism thrown in for good measure.

Two things that really bothered me: There was one character I grew attached to who seemed to serve no real purpose except to give the protagonist a reason to bring out her search and rescue dog, because how cool is that, that an abducted child grows up to do search and rescue?

The other element I didn't care for, and never do no matter how many times I encounter it, is the protagonist who has a willingly spare lover on the hook for when the other relationship doesn't work out, like an emergency ration. This is obviously a matter of personal taste, and Picoult is the first author I've seen use this plot element and not wreck the entire story with it...maybe because her story is superior to begin with.

Besides Picoult's style and voice, other pluses include the settings--especially the jail scenes from the kidnapper father's point of view. The killer triple twist at the end made me glad I'd stuck with it, and a healthy dose of moral ambiguity ensure I'm going to remember this story for a very long time.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kelly.
304 reviews51 followers
September 26, 2012
When I reached the halfway point of this 418 page book, I found myself wishing that I could just put it down and be done with it; but since I'd made it that far, I made the commitment to trudge on through to the end. Was it worth it? Only in the sense that, having completed it, I can now add it to my "Read in 2012" list. My 3-star rating means that it was just average for me; it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't any better than "okay", either. It even bordered on being annoying. By that description, I should probably give it a 2, but I'll stick with my pattern of "rounding up" with my ratings.

One problem I had with it was that I didn't particularly like any of the characters. Everyone seemed to think that everything was all about Delia, and that protecting her feelings and making her happy were all that mattered in the world. Just annoying. As for Delia herself, I didn't really like her either. She came across as self-centered, although I guess it'd be hard not to be when everyone around you constantly dotes on you. In addition, there was a scene in which an animal was killed (this is not a spoiler) and she didn't even blink twice. I can't respect anyone, real or fictional, who wouldn't get upset in that scenario.

Another major problem I had with the book was how all the characters were constantly having these tangential thoughts in the middle of any given situation; it broke up the story and made it just draaaaag along. Worse, these thoughts were supposed to be all deep and profound, but really were not.

Then there was the font! Each chapter was a first-person point of view of a different character (alternating between Delia, her dad, her fiance, and her best friend) - and a different font was used for each character. This was unnecessary and distracting. You get used to reading a certain font, and then when it abruptly changes, it takes some getting used to again.

Lastly, the story was just boring. Feeling no great connection to any of the characters, I would have at least liked a little action, but it wasn't an action-driven novel. Nor did I find it suspenseful or intriguing. There was the typical "twist" at the end, but by that time, I just didn't really even care.

I've read 3 books by Jodi Picoult now, and liked each one progressively less than the one I read before it. I'll give her one or two more tries, but unless I like them a whole lot better than this one, I'll give her up entirely.

ETA: On second thought, I went back and changed my rating to 2 stars.
Profile Image for Aoibhínn.
158 reviews209 followers
April 19, 2012
This was the first Jodi Picoult novel I ever read and it got me hooked on her books. I started this book and write away I was completely engrossed in the story and the characters. I thought this was an amazing, thought-provoking story, which stayed with me long after I finished reading. As soon as I finished it I went out and brought another novel, My Sister's Keeper, by Picoult. I would definitely recommend Vanishing Acts, although it's not one of her best novels, it is still a pretty good read. Four stars!
Profile Image for Suzanne.
Author 5 books120 followers
August 20, 2022
I'm in two minds about Vanishing Acts. When I first started it, I was immediately excited by how the story drew me in, and pleased with Picoult’s command of writing, and I thought to myself, this is going to be a good book. For a good portion of the story, JP’s writing riveted me, but the story took a detour down a long winding trail that got a bit lumpy along the way.

For me, the problem was Picoult seemed to have thrown everything — and the kitchen sink — into this book. Subplots popped up like dandelions, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. I suspect JP didn’t have a place for all the things she wanted to write, and convinced herself she could put them into this book though the story didn’t actually call for them, and might have been a smoother read without.

Case in point: Andrew’s s stint in prison. Reading his POV about the rules of prison, the fights, the nicknames of the other inmates, I began to wonder why JP was telling us all this. I figured there must be a reason, so I held on, reading the exhaustive descriptions of the prison and it’s inmates, the silly poem and the rap song circulating about D-block, even the Breaking Bad chapter where Walter White-like chemist, Andrew, becomes a meth cooker.

What was the reason? Got me.

Ruthann and the Hopi Indian storyline was slightly interesting … the repurposed Barbies made me laugh, but again, JP became a bit indulgent by making us visit the reservation and witness Ruthann’s cliff diving. Why? I don't know.

Maybe JP was trying to draw out a special meaning with the Indian and prison chapters. Regrettably, I didn’t connect the relevance to the story.

I really loved the story of three friends, Eric, Fritz and Delia. I liked learning about how they grew up together, and how their emotional feelings seesawed, and yet, their devotion to each other never faltered. I didn’t love Delia’s character (she was always shutting down and running away when things got tough), but she was okay, and I felt for her problem.

I connected with both of the guys, particularly Eric. He was probably my favorite character because he was so fallible, but he knew it. I thought it was brilliant for JP to put Eric into the plot like she did, paralleling his drinking problem to his defense case. I understood Fritz unrequited love for Delia, but I was not thrilled with where the story went concerning those two. There were a great many questions left unanswered at the end, and I would have liked more closure, perhaps an epilogue, telling us what happens to the three of them… where do they end up, and with whom?

JP is really good at taking commonplace opinions and turning things upside down and make you look at it in a whole new way. There were lots of elements in the book that makes one think, but what sticks in my head is the thread about memory; how much do we really retain and how much is actually subjective.

Vanishing Acts is not one of favorites by Picoult, but by no means would I hesitate to read more by her. She is a talented writer.
Profile Image for Ginger.
921 reviews
April 24, 2015
It's been quite a while since I read anything by this author. I love her writing style (in this case, chapters were told in the voice of Delia, Andrew, Fitz and Eric). I have never read any of her books which haven't been thought-provoking, emotional, and more often than not based on something which can and usually does happen somewhere in the world. I'd forgotten how emotionally draining I feel after reading her works. This is a story which will stick with readers for a long time and have you asking yourself, "Would I have done the same thing?".
Profile Image for Deimantė.
43 reviews13 followers
May 15, 2021
Net nežinau kaip apib��dinti kaip jaučiuosi perskaičiusi šią knygą ir kaip ji mane užbūrė,palietė nuo pat pradžios iki galo...
Vienareikšmiškai rekomenduoju, ir kas dar neskaitę šios rašytojos knygų būtinai rekomenduoju pradėti skaityti.👏
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews166 followers
January 4, 2018

The whole finding out you were kidnapped as a child premise interests me every time. It really doesn't even have to be a great plot for me to love a book like that, but this book did have a pretty great plot so was extra awesome in my opinion. I love how once again Picoult weaves in multiple tough themes into a story. For this one it showcased alcoholism, previous court prejudices against fathers having custody in the seventies, sexual abuse, prison violence and life, cognition and memories, etc. So much in one would make a person believe it is an overload but for some reason Picoult is one those authors who can do this without the overload.

My quick and simple overall: entertaining with a few very devastating scenarios to read.
Profile Image for Julie.
1,316 reviews92 followers
May 24, 2010
This is a pretty formulaic Picoult book. She tackles many issues in this book including kidnapping, alcoholism, memory, being a parent, etc. The novel is told from multiple perspectives: Delia, who finds out her father kidnapped her as a four-year-old; Eric, Delia’s alcoholic fiancé who happens to be a lawyer and defends her father; Andrew, Delia’s father who spends a majority of the novel in jail; Fitz, Eric and Delia’s best friend; and Elise, Delia’s mother who has not seen her daughter in twenty-eight years. In true Picoult fashion, the sequence of events plays itself out: Andrew gets arrested and sent to Arizona to await trial, Delia, Eric, and their daughter relocate there temporarily, Fitz tags along and creates friction, Delia meets her mother, whom she thought was dead, and a trial begins, with Eric as the defense attorney.

Like all of Jodi’s books, I was captivated and got though Vanishing Acts very quickly. It wasn’t quite as engaging as some of her others, but I still enjoyed it. The one aspect I can say she could have done without was Andrew’s narrative from jail. I understand the need to convey what a deplorable situation he was in, but I found it hard to believe that a sixty-year-old man would willingly engage in crime so freely with his fellow prisoners, even being a party to their Crystal Meth smuggling schemes. I liked the change of scenery in this book. For once, Picoult takes the reader outside of New England into a somewhat mystical Southwest. The conclusion left a few mysteries, but led the reader to form their own conclusions in regard to the truth. This is a book that any Jodi fan will enjoy.
Profile Image for Keli Wright.
669 reviews8 followers
September 10, 2009
I could have read this book straight if I had nothing else to do, I liked it that much after I was done reading it I went online and found out a lot of people hated it... I think that those people are haters!
1.people did not like that she switched characters and fonts,
I say why not!?? like they have never read a book that has done that???
2. people did not like that she had unnessasary characters and sub-plots, don't all large novels have those??? I would be shocked if I read one that did not have those SERIOUSLY.. I mean yeah I wondered why some of the tangents but they kept me interested enough to keep reading:)
3. People felt the characters were unbelievable, well they must not know a lot of people,because it takes all kinds in this world and yes they were beliavable!
I loved this book I loved how the characters figured out so much about themselves and each other in the process of this book and it made me cry and think a lot I can't really say what I liked aboutit because it would ruin it just suffice to say if you want a good quick read that will touch your heart this is the book for you
Profile Image for Rachel Baird.
69 reviews2 followers
December 31, 2007
this was my 2nd jodi picoult. i hadn't been so thoroughly engrossed in a book in quite some time. its a quick and enjoyable read that will make you laugh, cry, and keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. i love the way picoult questions morally complicated situations. the plot was one of the most interesting ideas i have every read and i found myself emotionally, intellectually, and morally challenged throughout my reading.

i have heard complaints about the way jodi picoult does not make clear who is right and who is wrong and that she doesn't answer all the questions posed by her works, but that is what i love about her. that is life. things aren't black and white, situations are messy and muddled and well-meaning people may do bad things.
Profile Image for Fahri Rasihan.
472 reviews105 followers
January 28, 2019
Dibutuhkan hati yang kuat untuk membaca karya Jodi Picoult. Sudah lima kali perasaan saya dibuat campur aduk saat membaca karya-karya Jodi Picoult. Kali ini lewat Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult masih memberikan sensasi yang sama. Meskipun tidak sekuat My Sister's Keeper atau buku-buku lainnya yang pernah saya baca, tapi kedalaman ceritanya masih memghanyutkan. Hubungan orangtua dan anak yang diangkat memberikan gambaran tentang cinta dan kebohongan. Untuk sampul buku versi terjemahannya, bisa dibilang cukup menginterpretasikan isi ceritanya. Melalui gambar seorang pria yang sedang menggandeng seorang gadis kecil, sudah mewakilkan sosok tokoh Andrew dan Delia di masa lalu. Latar warna putih pun memberikan nuansa yang tenang sekaligus kelam. Saya suka akan sampul bukunya yang terlihat sendu, misterius, dan membangkitkan rasa penasaran.

Tema cerita dalam Vanishing Acts masih berada dalam zona nyaman Jodi Picoult, yaitu tentang hubungan keluarga. Di mana Delia Hopkins harus menerima kenyataan jika selama ini ayahnya telah berbohong akan masa lalunya. Sang ayah ternyata telah menculik Delia dari ibunya dua puluh delapan tahun yang lalu. Kita masih akan menemukan unsur-unsur keluarga, cinta, dan hukum dalam rangkaian cerita yang dijalin oleh Picoult. Unsur keluarga yang kuat semakin menambah nilai sentimental yang akan membawa pembaca ke dalam rasa haru nan menyentuh. Tak hanya soal keluarga, Vanishing Acts juga menyelipkan kisah cinta segitiga di dalamnya. Namun, tenang saja karena kisah cinta yang ada tidak akan sekental drama keluarganya. Saya sendiri cukup menikmati sensasi yang diberikan oleh Picoult dalam buku ini. Di mana tak hanya sekadar menyentuh, tapi juga menegangkan di saat yang bersamaan.

Terdapat lima tokoh utama dalam novel ini. Pertama ada tokoh Delia Hopkins yang bekerja membantu polisi dalam menemukan orang hilang. Delia selalu dibantu oleh anjingnya, Greta, saat melakukan pekerjaannya. Delia memiliki sikap yang keibuan, keras, dan sensitif. Maka tak heran saat mengetahui masa lalunya Delia langsung terguncang hebat. Selanjutnya ada tokoh Andrew yang merupakan ayah dari Delia. Andrew memiliki sentra manula di New Hampshire sebagai mata pencahariannya. Andrew memiliki sifat yang bijak, tegas, dan penyayang. Apalagi Andrew sangat menyayangi Delia dan rela melakukan apa pun untuk melindunginya, bahkan sampai menculiknya. Kemudian ada tokoh Erick yang menjadi tunangan Delia sekaligus pengacara Andrew. Erick memiliki karakter yang cerdik dan berwibawa. Lalu ada tokoh Fitz, sosok sahabat Delia dan Erick, yang berprofesi sebagai wartawan. Fitz bisa dibilang sangat setia kawan dan sangat mendukung Delia saat menghadapi masa lalunya. Terakhir ada tokoh Elise Matthews yang merupakan ibu dari Delia. Elise memiliki karakter yang ambigu dan membingungkan. Semua tokoh dalam novel ini memiliki peran dan porsi yang pas. Setiap latar belakang para tokohnya tergali dengan sangat mendalam sehingga menciptakan karakter yang kuat.

Vanishing Acts menggunakan sudut pandang orang pertama lewat lima tokoh utamanya. Setiap sudut pandang dibedakan melalui font tulisan masing-masing. Khusus untuk sudut pandang Andrew dan Elise memberikan kesan sedang bercerita akan rasa cinta mereka terhadap Delia. Alurnya bergerak dengan lambat dan bertele-tele, karena Picoult ingin memperlihatkan setiap aspek dan fakta yang ada. Alur maju-mundur yang digunakan pun semakin menguatkan jalan ceritanya. Gaya bahasa yang dipakai tidak sulit untuk dipahami dan dicerna. Terjemahannya juga enak untuk dibaca dan tidak sulit untuk dimengerti.

Konflik yang terjadi dalam Vanishing Acts mulai terasa saat Delia tahu akan masa lalunya. Lewat kasus penculikan yang dilakukan oleh ayahnya, Delia tahu jika selama ini ada masa lalu yang hilang dalam hidupnya. Masa lalu tersebut membangkitkan kembali kenangan lama Delia akan rasa kehilangan dan kesedihan. Masa lalu itu juga ikut memengaruhi hubungan Delia dengan sahabat, tunangannya, dan ayahnya sendiri. Pergolakan batin dan emosinyang yang dihadapi oleh Delia menimbulkan kesedihan yang mendalam dalam dirinya. Bahwa selama ini batas antara cinta dan kebohongan sudah memanipulasi hidupnya. Kini Delia tak tahu lagi akan siapa sosok dirinya selama ini setelah tahu jika dulu dia telah diculik. Konfliknya berjalan menenangkan dan menghanyutkan yang mengalirkan berbagai macam emosi kepada para pembaca. Picoult sukses membangun konflik yang kuat dan matang lewat emosi yang dirasakan oleh setiap tokohnya, terutama Delia.

Mungkin Vanishing Acts bukan karya terbaik dari seorang Jodi Picoult, tapi novel ini secara garis besar masih mampu memberikan perasaan yang sama kepada para pembacanya. Di mana setiap emosi berhasil menyatu dan tercampur menjadi satu. Hubungan antara Delia dan ayahnya, Andrew, membangkitkan kembali pertanyaan akan siapakah sosok kita selama ini. Kisah Delia yang diperlihatkan menunjukkan batas tipis antara cinta dan kebohongan yang memanipulasi masa lalunya. Saya masih bisa menikmati ceritanya yang mendayu-dayu dan menenggelamkan. Picoult ingin membawa pembaca dalam sensasi emosi yang naik-turun lewat kisah Delia Hopkins. Namun, sayangnya ada beberapa bagian cerita yang menurut saya kurang penting dan terlalu panjang. Secara keseluruhan Vanishing Acts berhasil menunjukkan ambiguitas antara cinta dan kebohongan yang terkadang terkesan abu-abu antara benar dan salah.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
596 reviews14 followers
June 7, 2016
I honestly feel I figured out the origins of this book. Jodi Picoult found out a lot of interesting facts about Hopi Indians and prison gangs then came to the conclusion that there had to be someway to incorporate what she learned into her next novel. While she's at it, she figured she might try her hand at writing some rap lyrics - why not? Picoult already came this far! I bring this up because the descriptions of the Indian heritage and the inside of the prison seem to be the best written portions of the book and yet, have no real bearing or meaning to the story.

This book honestly gets progressively worse. At first, it reminded me of another book I recently read - It was pretty flaky and cliche. But as it continued, I kept thinking - really? or WTF!

Basically this book is about a father who kidnaps his daughter for more than good reasons. Once he is discovered, his ex-wife expresses that she is no longer mad, doesn't want charges pressed against him, but the state decides to do so anyways. Nobody in the book wants to tell the real truth - only half truths until the case comes to court (and rather quickly I might add).

Delia Hopkins, the kidnapped girl, is pretty dramatic. She likes to show up at people's homes and starts crap and then runs off. Sometimes more in one day, and often to people she's just met. Apparently she also has only had two friends her whole entire life - and guess what - they both have it bad for her - and always have. Not to mention that she does not have one solitary memory of her mother until just prior to her father's capture. Now, the memories just suddenly flood back!

Delia's father - who has always been a good guy - suddenly turns into a tough guy and gives in to the gang culture in the prison. And he cannot play the game. But he does teach his buddies how to make quality meth although he claims he's never done so before.

Also, there are a lot of mistakes in the book - two that stick out like a sore thumb for me - in the beginning Delia takes her dog to trail her friend (a usual excerise), they find him 6 miles away. She drives him home. Uh, what. And it's Kubota not Kubuta!! Grr. Who knows what else she messed up that I am not overly familiar with. Maybe you shouldn't trust that Meth recipe.
Profile Image for Jessica Ashe.
611 reviews26 followers
May 23, 2017
Mysterious & terrifying until the very end

Who was your favorite character and why?
I loved the father. He lied, cheated & stole for what was in the best interest of his daughter, the mark of a true parent in my opinion. He was willing to go to any length to ensure that his daughter was safe from her mother and her boyfriend.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I must say, this book did cause me to shed a few tears, mainly because for me it hits very close to home. In my own childhood, my mother was an alcoholic & drug addict. I can recall coming home from school not being able to wake her, not knowing if she was just drunk or if I should call 911. My own mother would take us to her dealers houses in the middle of the night, not concerned with if we had school the following day or if she was putting us in harms way. In this sense, I identify with this book.

The repressed memories are a very interesting subject that I look forward to learning more about, but also in a way, it is terrifying to think you could learn something that you may not want to know.

To this day, my mother is a drug addict and alcoholic and even though I have forgiven her, I have no desire to forge a relationship with her. It's a strange feeling to know that you should have feelings for someone as special as your mother who should have walked to the edges of the earth for you, and yet feel the same as if you were passing a stranger on the street of a busy street.

The ending of this book really threw me for a loop. During the last 5 minutes, you are sure you see how this is playing out and at the very end you find out exactly why the father took his little girl away from her mother.

Sometimes it's vital to take heed to those gut feelings.
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