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A Reader of Fictions: God of Wine - Third Eye Blind

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

God of Wine - Third Eye Blind

Vanishing Acts

Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: realistic fiction
Pages: 418
Publisher: Washington Square Press

Brief Summary:
Delia Hopkins has a fantastic life. Her dad is the greatest: he does magic tricks, makes pancakes and has always been there whenever she needed him. She has two best friends, Eric and Fitz, who have lived near her as far back as she can remember. She and Eric have a beautiful daughter together; Fitz will do anything for her. Although sometimes disheartening, she loves her career as a find and rescue professional and her bloodhound Greta. Her life begins to unravel the day her father gets arrested. For kidnapping. Her. And apparently her name is Bethany. And her mom hasn't been dead for the last 24 years like her dad told her.

Jodi Picoult is one of the most popular contemporary authors. I have read and enjoyed (to varying degrees) three of her other novels. For one of my classes at Pitt, we read My Sister's Keeper, or were supposed to. I had read the book prior to taking the course and did not reread it. That one was my favorite of the Picoult books I had read. Imagine my surprise when all of my friends hated it. They said the writing was absolutely atrocious.

In my reading of Vanishing Acts, I paid way more attention to the construction of the novel than I ordinarily do on a first time through a book (in which, unless the story is absolutely awful, I focus on the plot and the characters). I still thought the story itself was engaging, but I definitely found weaknesses in the characterization/writing. The main problem is that, if the fonts were not different for each character, I would constantly have been forgetting which character's point of view I was currently reading. They lack a unique voice. And even when they were freaked out about something, they all continued to read as a bit disaffected.

Although changing the font for each different character is neat, I really think you ought to be able to tell which character is 'speaking' without needing that. Or even without a heading. Also, I have to admit that I was annoyed by the similarity between Andrew's (Delia's father) and Eric's (Delia's fiancee) fonts. Is Picoult (or the publisher) trying to suggest that Delia has serious Elektra complex type daddy issues? Or were they just too lazy to find another font that looked entirely different from the others? There are thousands of fonts; how hard can it be?

All three had two things in common, despite their differing plots: a focus on family and a twist at the very end. The twist here was...pretty much nonexistent. The only things that could maybe called twists are Delia's continual rediscoveries of memories and a 'revelation' that was completely unsurprising given the discourse of the previous chapters.

A decent read on an interesting subject, but not an astounding book. Now for some lyrics! (This song was also selected because alcoholism is a huge topic in this book; about half of the characters are, were or were related to alcoholics).

"And there's a memory of a window, looking through I see you.
Searching for something I could never give you.
There's someone who understands you more than I do.
A sadness I can't erase, all the love on your face."

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