Book Review: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult


I read a lot of Jodi Picoult! I am a big fan, yes they can be a little repetitive and predictable but I just love her style of writing. Vanishing Acts was no exception.

The book centers around the protagonist Delia, and her fathers court case. As it happens her father is arrested for kidnapping at the beginning of the novel. The twist though is that he is arrested for kidnapping his daughter Delia. The question that plagues both Delia and the reader throughout the book though is why?

Of course, as with all of Picoult’s novels, this storyline almost takes a back seat to the relationships in the book. She explores the emotions and dynamics of family and friends. Picoult demonstrates how bonds are both made and broken and maybe more importantly, no matter how close you are to someone or a situation, you can never really know what goes through someone else’s mind.

As always, it is a book where you are never sure where your sympathies lie and not until the end do you know who’s side you were on all along.

A part of the book which was completely out of place and mostly irrelevant yet that I found fascinating was Delia’s excursion with Ruthann to the Hopi village. Now I can’t say I know much about Hopi/Native Americans so I don’t know how accurate it is but I loved delving into this other culture and its traditions. I think it is a particularly beautiful part of the novel and one that I was pleasantly surprised with.

The book questions identity and what it is that actually make us…us. It also, as most of the others do, force the reader to try and answer the question – what would you do? What I will say about the novel is that it is quite slow and doesn’t have the same impact as others of hers that I have read. I also passionately disagree with the ending but that’s probably just my thing. The twist at the end I did see coming as usual but Picoult writes it so well that any predicability is forgiven. If you have never read a Jodi Picoult novel before then this might not be the best one for you to get excited over, but if you enjoy her books then I don’t think you will be unsatisfied with this one.

‘Does it really matter why I did it?’
– Jodi Picoult


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