Title: Vanishing Acts
Author: Jodi Picoult
Published: November 15th 2005
Delia Hopkins is a search-and-rescue professional. Alongside her faithful bloodhound Greta, she endeavors to spend her days searching for those who are missing and often those who do not want to be found. In addition to that, she has her upcoming wedding to plan, a beautiful 5-year old daughter to raise and basically has the rest of her life unfolding before her. Little does she know that she is the one who was lost all along… How is she supposed to react when she finds out that the past twenty-eight years of her life have been a lie and she’s been deceived by the one she loves the most: her beloved father. He’s always protected her, always taken care of her when she thought her mother was gone, always been the one she could trust with all her heart. Now, her world is flung upside down when she discovers that her very identity has been a scam since her father kidnapped her from the place she never got to call home. It’s not until the memories begin to resurface and the truths are revealed that she truly begins to doubt and rediscover the very fragments of her identity.
This story really got me thinking about memories and the human mind. I don’t know about you but I very often come across a recollection, which leaves me wondering whether it was an incident from my childhood, or simply a dream that I remember as clear as day. It’s scary sometimes, one particular memory I have, could not possibly have been real and I know for a fact was a dream, but at one point in my life if someone had asked me about it I would have sworn that it had happened. What does this have to do with the book you may ask? Well, after Delia found out that her whole life was a lie she began to recall certain things about her past, but this only confused her more which meant that she could never distinguish between, dreams, the truth and something that her mind could very probably have made up. It was then that I began to think about how the human brain works and why there are some things that stick to our memories yet some things that our minds deem unimportant. Isn’t it fascinating that our minds can actually choose to block out some things so as to protect us emotionally? I think it’s marvelous and only goes to show what a mystery the human brain is.
*cough cough* So that was some food for thought… Back to the actual story, which was absolutely marvelous by the way! I adored the chemistry between the three childhood friends, Delia, Fitz and Eric who basically grew up together in New Hampshire and have now formed this wonderful, at times precarious, love triangle! A kind of friendship that is often challenged but that is held together by a beautiful kind of love. It goes to show that it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or who you were before, or even who you think you are now, because those who surround you with their time and devotion always seem to know you better than you know yourself.
The story takes place in Arizona and shows two worlds living alongside each other and in a way sort of tells two stories in one. There is of course the main story of Delia, whose tale involves brutal, heartbreaking but very realistic jail scenes as well as ruthless courtroom drama, but there is also an integrated story: that of Ruthann, a friend Delia makes along the way, belonging the Hopi tribe of the Mesa regions. Hers is a tale on a spiritual level and it was beautiful to read the traditional way of life of those who have no desire to be influenced by man’s constant mechanization and development.
A very thought-provoking story which brings forth the wonders of the human mind and the mystery that is memory, the truth behind the essence of human identity and the fact that to protect the ones you love, nothing and no one will stand in your way.
I hope you get the time and the inclination to pick this up the next time you’re on the lookout for a good read. Have any of you had the pleasure of reading it?
Yours till the butter flies,