Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vanishing Acts

Vanishing Acts, by Jodi Picoult
Wow--this is the 11th book I've read by Jodi Picoult. Some are definitely better than others. The only two I've given five stars to have been Keeping Faith and Sing You Home. This one I would put in the "average" category.

I like Picoult's books because she always poses ethical dilemmas and creates complex characters, many of whom have deep flaws but good intentions. They often have courtroom drama and surprising twists at the end.

The main character, Delia Hopkins, raised by her widowed father in New England, is now a mother and is engaged to her daughter's father, Andrew. Then she discovers that she was kidnapped by her own father when she was just four...and her mother is still alive. Andrew is an alcoholic and just happens to also be a lawyer, so she asks him to represent her father, even though he doesn't have much experience with trials...and is not licensed to practice in Arizona, where the case goes to court.

As usual, Picoult's books are highly readable and accessible...but this one will not stand out in my memory. The plot seemed to meander. The characters frustrated me at times. The "surprise" wasn't really much of a surprise. I found it hard to understand why Delia made the decisions she did, and I didn't like what happened to the most intriguing character in the book. The prison scenes were awful and implausible...her dad is supposed to be this great guy, yet he helps manufacture meth and shoots a staple into someone's eye??? And I know prison can be awful, but is it typically this brutal? And are alcoholics never allowed to have happy endings?

In summary, this book was okay...but Jodi Picoult has done so much better.

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