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At 25, as her wedding date approached, Laura Smith began to feel trapped. Not by her fiancé, who shared her appetite for adventure, but by the unsettling idea that it was hard to be at once married and free.
Laura wanted her life to be different. She wanted her marriage to be different. And she found in the strangely captivating story of another restless young woman determined to live without constraints both an enticement and a challenge. Barbara Newhall Follett was a free-spirited trailblazer who published her first novel at 11, enlisted as a deck hand on a boat bound for the south China seas at 15 and was one of the first women to hike the Appalachian trail. Then in December 1939, when she was not much older than Laura, she walked out of her apartment on a quiet tree-lined street in Brookline, leaving behind a fraying marriage, and vanished without a trace. Obsessed by her story, Laura set off to find out what had happened.
The Art of Vanishing is a riveting mystery and a piercing exploration of marriage and convention that asks deep and uncomfortable questions: Why do we give up on our childhood dreams? Is marriage a golden noose? Must we find ourselves in the same row houses with Pottery Barn lamps telling our kids to behave? Searingly honest and written with a raw intensity, it will challenge you to rethink your most intimate decisions and may just upend your life.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Laurie on 04-20-18
This book is a slog
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
I thought I would really like this book because I love memoir, especially with the twist of a mystery about a adventurous woman who vanished, but this book took what could have been an interesting subject and just devolved into the author's wishful thinking into how it might maybe mirror some themes in her own life and marriage - I don't think it did. The author comes across as a somewhat immature narcissist, and I dislike her so much, it was hard to make myself finish the book.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Something by Rebecca Solnit.
Would you be willing to try another one of Laura Smith’s performances?
No, the author narrated her own book and often overstressed random words and her tone at the end of sentences dropped off so it was hard to hear what those words were.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment and wonder that her editor didn't rein her in.