Disappearing Act: A True Story

Farrar. Aug. 2023. 336p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9780374389772.
Gr 8 Up–Castle’s memoir in verse focuses on her father’s incarceration for fraud. The narrative moves back and forth from the formation of her family to their current life. Of her father’s bizarre and erratic behavior and its impact on her family, she writes, “For so long I’ve thought of my dad at the center of our home planet—navigating the rough realities of his moods and medications.” Buoyed by her best friend, Maya, Castle navigates the changes to her family. Selling their home: “[A]nd my mom says simply, we can’t afford to keep our house.” Her father’s suicide attempt: “There was no envelope left for my sisters or me.” Even in prison, her father shadows her life with tense phone calls and prison visits, creating a constant low-level dread in the background of their lives. Castle feels jealous when Maya spends time with their mutual friends, fearful of losing her strongest advocate. When Castle starts dating Chris, this adds tension to her relationship with Maya. The text makes good use of white space. Some poems are written with blank lines in the sentences that readers can fill in with their own thoughts. The author’s note provides more background on the timing of these events and why Castle wrote her story.
VERDICT An interesting narrative about the impact of incarceration on a middle-class family as well as an examination of the author’s various relationships. A good general purchase.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing