Life could hardly be better for Delia Hopkins. She has a daughter and a handsome fiancé, and with her search-and-rescue bloodhound, she helps find missing persons. But as she plans for her wedding, she is haunted by inexplicable flashbacks to a devastating time she cannot recall. Suddenly, Delia must confront devastating truths that could destroy her and everything she loves.
With its powerful examination of both love and memory, Vanishing Acts will grab you from the opening words and refuse to let go.
©2005 Jodi Picoult; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"Ms. Picoult is a solid, lively storyteller." (The New York Times)
This is one of the best books I've listened to in a long time. The narrators' were wonderful. Having a full cast, with different voices for each character, led to an authenticity that you don't get with one narrator. The story was one you don't hear about too often and brought out so many emotions in me. I laughed and cried and felt so good at the end. Not many books will do that. Obviously, I recommend this book wholeheartedly!
This book far exceeded my expectations. It sounded like an interesting story, but I soon found that the interaction among the characters is as incredible as the plot itself. The author weaves a tapestry of significance in even the mundane events of the book and builds upon that with the narrative and the characters. I couldn't stop listening to this book. Her characters get into hard situations, most of them which seem to be insurmountable. They respond so humanly and realistically that I was kept guessing what was going to happen. The ending was no let down. I read many books but can name few that have an outstanding insight into human nature, multi-faceted characters AND the ability to carry out a satisfying story as well. This is one of those books.
The author has an absolutely poignant story about right and wrong and the shades of gray that lay between. A story about love intwined between friends. A story about addictions that change lives.
And instead of sticking to this story with so much potential, the author decides to go off on tangents. One character is in jail and so the author weaves a story about prisons. Another character is a Hoppe Indian and so off we go into their rituals. But that's not enough, we have to bring in Mexican religious and superstitions too. One of these (perhaps the Hoppe Indian story) would have been acceptable - all three ruin the main story
I totally drew the line when in the middle of the story we actually receive instructions on how to cook meth!
I have enjoyed one other book of this author (Plain Truth) and have not quite solidified an opinion on her works. This book was enjoyable but disjointed, I felt.
My sense is she tried to bring in too many straggling issues. The story would have been fine without the Native American landlord and her cancer struggle. It also would have been fine without the graphic prison violence scenes. And the last "paragraph" drops a bomb that comes totally from out of nowhere considering all that Delia/Beth has remembered.
I did not care for the separate narrators narrating all the voices. That was distracting to me. Maybe I am a purist that prefers to have them all play one part or one play all parts. But it was a minor nuisance.
The two boyfriends were too focused on Delia. All they seemed to care about was her (we should all be so lucky to have two admirers like this)! And all she could do was complain about them and her father.
I have read worse and I have read better. I will read more of her books but am not highly impressed with this one. It is good, but not terrific.
- too many meaningless and ill-placed flashbacks
- a overdose of multicultural gobbledygook
- prefers 5 similes when 1 would do
- too much naval gazing
- likes to take a subject/verb combination and repeat it over-and-over, each time with a different object
- an unconvincing prison plot
- poor pronunciation of Vietnamese names
Phat Girl Slim
This was an “easy listen”. I was hoping that the plot would get “thicker”, but it never did. It was very predictable, but I didn’t have a problem with that aspect of it. I enjoy books with multiple narrators and this one was no exception. I enjoyed Andrew’s point of view the most. I would have liked to hear more from Elisa’s character, especially what went on during the years after the “big event”. It ended rather abruptly: I would have liked to learn more about everyone’s plans for the future.
The one thing about this book that REALLY annoyed me was the very, very, VERY long pauses that each of the characters took in between many of the paragraphs. At first, I thought my headphones were malfunctioning. I also heard 2 of the narrators swallowing, many times, throughout the book. I was hesitant to even mention it, but it was quite irritating.
I am a big fan of Jodi Piccoult, and in previous books (My Sister's Keeper, Mercy) she has tugged my heartstrings, made me shed a tear or two and explored moral dilemmas - all while crafting a taut narrative with believable, likeable characters. Vanishing Acts disappointed on all fronts. The main characters were whiny and disfunctional and the whole thing dragged on for way too long.
This was a wonderful book. I love the way I can always see parts of myself in some of her characters. I also loved My Sisters Keeper. I can't wait for her next book!!!
What problems these characters have! Her boyfriend is an alcoholic; his parents were alcoholics; her mother is an alcoholic...come on now, do I need this? Everyone is so dysfunctional that the story is lost in problems, deception and depression. Not a pleasant experience.
"I just wanted to listen non=stop"
I've read several of Picoult's books. They're all good, although until now none of them lived up to My Sister's Keeper. Vanishing Acts changed that.
What happens when you suddenly discover that you're not the person you thought you were? When everything you believe turns out to be a lie - even your name. Suddenly your dead mother is no longer dead and your father is arrested for kidnapping you.
Told through a range of voices that involve you in the dilemmas of the key characters and with a succession of curve balls that don't stop until the final pages, Vanishing Acts is deeply compelling. Normally it takes me a week or so to get through an unabridged book of this length; this took me three days!
I really recommend it, not least for the alternative Barbies that one of the characters makes. I'll never forget PMS Barbie or her sisters, Midlife Crisis Barbie and One Night Stand Barbie.
I've always enjoyed Picoult as a fairly light but stimulating read, but I didn't like this one as much as My Sister's Keeper and others. Unfortunately I found the voice of Delia so grating it almost made me want to scream. No fault of the actress, it's just such an unappealing accent - at least to my ears.
"Couldn't wait until it was over."
I so enjoyed my first Jodi Picoult book, 'Second Glance' on audio that I got this one too. This was dreadful. The story was trite and shallow, predictable and played on painfully embarrassing stereotypes. I had to force myself to listen through to the end, hoping against hope that it might redeem itself. The narration made my skin crawl as well. Just awful.
"Excellent thought provoking story"
I really enjoyed the performance of this story and the way it posed a lot of interesting questions, would you do what Andrew did? and I have to say I probably would have in his shoes, very discriptive in places, making some subject matter a little uncomfortable to listen to, but I was so gripped I have had to listen as often as i could.
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