My rating: (4 / 5)
I recently grabbed this book from the library as I needed something to start just then. We had returned from vacation and I was out of reading material at the moment. Since this has been out for a few years, it was in at the library, and by a new favorite author of mine, so I decided to give it a go.
I wasn’t disappointed. I only discovered Jodi Picoult recently (about two years ago), and have been reading back through many of her earlier novels. One of my favourite things about her writing is that, being based on relationships and interactions, it is fairly timeless.
Vanishing Acts focuses on missing persons cases and memory. Are we who we were “meant” to be, who we were constructed to be, or who we invented ourselves as? What is the most valid self; the self our parents imagined or that we grew into? It asks some questions about the nature of our lives that apply to everyone, whether they grew up in a stable household, suffered with a parent who wasn’t always ideal, or perhaps even were taken away from their parents at a young age. The plot follows the plight of Andrew, who kidnapped his young daughter from an alcoholic custodial mother when she was barely more than a toddler, as the law catches up to him, his grown child, and his grandchild, who is now only slightly older than his daughter was when he ran with her.
Filled with emotional upheaval and courtroom intrigue, I wouldn’t call this a “light” book by any means, but it isn’t one you have to suffer through, either. There are plenty of light hearted and funny moments, from the making of “alternative” barbie dolls, (white trash barbie or voodoo ken anyone?) to the perils of living in a pepto-bismol tinted rental trailer, but with enough depth to the storyline and characters to satisfy the reader with an emotional give and take on par with some of the best books I’ve read.