Vanishing Acts

March 3, 2009
By Emily Prescott BRONZE, Barre, Vermont
Emily Prescott BRONZE, Barre, Vermont
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Vanishing Acts

Vanishing Acts, written by Jodi Picoult, is yet another unforgettable novel. Picoult explores the controversial idea of memory through her main character Delia Hopkins, a 31 year old mother. Recollections from a life she never knew flood her mind. Her father Andrew Hopkins, is soon arrested for kidnaping a Bethany Matthews 28 years a go. As if matters couldn't get worse, the carefully crafted story progresses, secrets sprout up about another childhood and Delia's life turns upside down once again.

Andrew Hopkins' case, is unexpectedly, extradited, to Phoenix, Arizona, the place where the crime was committed. Eric, a recovering alcoholic, Delia's fiancee and Andrew's lawyer, is left in a frenzy in New Hampshire as he tries to collect things for the case. Delia, her dark haired four-year-old daughter Sophie and her intelligent close childhood friend Fitz all follow down to Arizona soon after. The tightly knotted ball of truth comes undone by bits throughout the case forcing Delia to realize a different truth. Delia says, 'I need someone to tell me the things I want to hear: that I have jumped to the wrong conclusion; that the truth is not always what you think it is.' Answers are pulled from a story nearly 30 years old as the defendants, and prosecutors try to get what they want for a verdict from the jury. Delia starts doing her own investigations by questioning her long lost mother just trying to find herself along with the truth. After a long fought case the climax is reached when the jury gives out their unexpected verdict.

Chapter by chapter, Picoult exemplifies the point of views and opinions of each of the main characters. The first chapter Delia is telling the story and the next is told by Eric; the reader can get a whole circle of views on the story at hand. This aspect helps the characters come 'alive' and make their stories feel real. Each character's view point brings something different to the novel. The setting was also felt through description, every word helps the reader experience the events.

Picoult has satisfied all of my high expectations with this book. Hearing such great comments on how well she writes and the themes and plots she chooses I had certain anticipations on what the book would be like. After finishing the story all I could think of is, 'Which one of her novels should I read next?' Anyone that enjoys controversial topics and interesting viewpoints should read this book.

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