Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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****Vanishing Acts

by Jodi Picoult

Reviewed March 29, 2005.
Atria Books, New York, 2005.  418 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN F PIC).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#6, Literary Fiction)

You should never, ever start a book by Jodi Picoult late at night if you intend to get a good night’s sleep.  I did manage to stop about a third of the way through the first night, but the next night I read into the wee hours of the morning until I finished.

Like My Sister’s Keeper, Vanishing Acts takes a big, complicated ethical issue and shows us the situation from the perspectives of everyone involved.

32-year-old Delia Hopkins thought that her mother died in a car accident when she was four years old.  Her father has been wonderful, giving her tender love and care, but she always wonders about her mother.  One day, policemen come to arrest her father, and she learns that in fact he kidnapped her when she was four, and her name used to be Bethany Matthews.

We follow Delia and her father to Arizona, where he must stand trial.  Delia’s fiancé, Eric, is her father’s lawyer.  Delia and Eric have a daughter Sophie who is exactly the age Delia was when she was kidnapped, but they aren’t married yet because of Eric’s alcoholism.

We learn along with Delia why her wonderful father did such a thing.  Her mother was an alcoholic, though now she hasn’t touched a drink for years and years.  Eric must learn the truth of the matter and at the same time convince a jury that sometimes the right thing to do is to break the law.  Along the way, the readers grapple with that idea themselves.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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