"I could tell her from personal experience that when people we love make choices, we don't always understand them. But we can go on loving them, just the same. It isn't a matter of comprehension. It's forgiveness." ~ Vanishing Acts
It takes only 25 pages for author, Jodi Picoult, to stun her reader. In Picoult's Vanishing Acts, we see the repercussions of discovering there is another reality to your life than you have always believed. When the past comes back to wreak havoc on Delia Hopkins and those she loves, she must learn to forgive and dig deep inside her soul to trust the ones she loves and, more importantly, her own heart.
Vanishing Acts starts off in rural New Hampshire and is narrated by multiple characters. In the forefront is Delia, a young woman raised solely by her father, Andrew, since the age of four. She is engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Eric, and is protected by her best friend, Fitz. The novel is predominately narrated by these four characters and gives the reader an interesting advantage point as we see events through the eyes of different people.
One day there is a knock on the door, one that will forever change all their lives.
"Bad is not an absolute, but a relative term......just because you break the law doesn't mean you have intentionally crossed the line into evil. Sometimes the line creeps up on you, and before you know it, you're standing on the other side." ~ Vanishing Acts
As the plot takes our four main characters to the desert of Arizona, Picoult gives her readers interesting insight into the Hopi tribe. Ruthann, a Hopi who befriends Delia while in Arizona, is one of the more fascinating characters. The second element that I loved, being that Eric is an attorney, was Picoult's statement on prison life and inmates, one that really kept me glued to the novel even during times I wanted to give up on it.
"We make messes of our lives, but every now and then, we manage to do something that's exactly right. The challenge is figuring out which is which." ~ Vanishing Acts
While this story started off with a bang, the momentum quickly sizzled out for me and didn't pick back up until the last one-third of the book. However, I am glad I pushed on. The story culminates into a courtroom drama that focuses on redemption and forgiveness and makes the entire novel worth reading. There are some beautifully written lines - too many for me to quote them all here, and, overall, this novel will have you rethinking events in your own life, proving there really are two sides to every story. I recommend this book, particularly to fans of literary fiction and family / courtroom dramas.
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