Cue up book two of the weekend mini-break.

I’ve avoided Jodi Picoult. I know I’m fuzzy on the details but bear with me. It was a while ago, and I only have a faint memory it: She wrote an essay for a writer’s magazine – I don’t remember which one – that annoyed me. It was right around the time when the chick lit argument burned through the literary world, and I think it had something to do with that. It reminded me of something Jennifer Weiner, who I cannot STAND, would say, so I never read any of Picoult’s books.

I ended up with Vanishing Acts because I found a used copy in an antique store for $5. I added it onto my bill, which also included an obnoxious yellow and white cocktail ring.

For $5, it was worth it. Vanishing Acts is a story of disappearance told from a six points of view (I think). She gives each character his or her own voice and writing style. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot because, if I’d have read the back of the book before reading, I think it would have spoiled the experience. This is the kind of book I like to approach with a bare mind.

But it’s not perfect. Some of the late plot turns are too clunky, and one narrative turn that I think is too easy and even “cute,” not as in pretty but as in “ha ha, I’m so clever for doing this!” Still, I sunk myself into the couch after dinner and followed it to the end. I wanted to see what happened.

Will I pick up another Picoult novel? Maybe. I’m not rushing out to buy more of her work. But if I see another book for $5 in an antique store, or need a beach read, or something to go along with a long flight, I consider it worth the investment.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Michael Stuart on February 25, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Sounds like a good piece of Rashomon action. At five dollars that's some bang for your buck!

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