Excerpt from Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Vanishing Acts

by Jodi Picoult

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult X
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2005, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2005, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


It was when we came home the summer after freshman year in college that things began to change. We were all chafing under our parents' rules and roofs, but Eric rubbed himself raw, lightening up only when we three would go out at night. Eric would always suggest a bar, and he knew the ones that didn't card minors. Afterward, when Fitz was gone, Eric and I would spread an old quilt on the far shore of the town lake and undress each other, swatting away mosquitoes from the pieces of each other we'd laid claim to. But every time I kissed him, there was liquor on his breath, and I've always hated the smell of alcohol. It's a weird quirk, but no stranger than those people who can't stand the scent of gas, I suppose, and have to hold their breath while they fill up their cars. At any rate, I'd kiss Eric and inhale that fermenting, bitter smell and roll away from him. He'd call me a prude, and I started to think maybe I was one—that was easier than admitting what was really driving us apart.

Sometimes we find ourselves walking through our lives blindfolded, and we try to deny that we're the ones who securely tied the knot. It was this way for Fitz and me, the decade after high school. If Eric told us that he had a beer only every now and then, we believed him. If his hands shook when he was sober, we turned away. If I mentioned his drinking, it became my problem, not his. And yet, in spite of all this, I still couldn't end our relationship. All of my memories were laced with him; to extract them would mean losing the flavor of my childhood.

The day I found out I was pregnant, Eric drove his car off the road, through a flimsy guard rail, and into a local farmer's cornfield. When he called to tell me what had happened—blaming it on a woodchuck that ran across the road—I hung up the phone and drove to Fitz's apartment. I think we have a problem, I said to him, as if it was the three of us, which, in reality, it was.

Fitz had listened to me speak a truth we'd taken great pains never to utter out loud, plus a newer, magnificent, frightening one. I can't do this alone, I told him.

He had looked at my belly, still flat. You aren't.



As one of Wexton's three attorneys, Eric does real estate transfers and wills and the occasional divorce, but he's done a little trial work, too—representing defendants charged with DUI and petty thefts. He usually wins, which is no surprise to me. After all, more than once I have been a jury of one, and I've always managed to be persuaded.

Case in point: my wedding. I was perfectly happy to sign a marriage certificate at the courthouse. But then Eric suggested that a big party wasn't such a bad idea, and before I knew what had happened, I was buried in a pile of brochures for reception venues, and band tapes, and price lists from florists.

I'm sitting on the living room floor after dinner, swatches of fabric covering my legs like a patchwork quilt. "Who cares whether the napkins are blue or teal?" I complain. "Isn't teal really just blue on steroids, anyway?"

Copyright © 2005 by Jodi Picoult. Printed by permission. Excerpted from the book Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Only Child
    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin
    Rhiannon Navin's debut novel, Only Child received an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 from BookBrowse ...
  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.