The Art of Vanishing by Laura Smith

The Art of Vanishing

A young woman chafing at the confines of marriage confronts the high cost of craving freedom and adventureAt twenty-five, as her wedding date approached, Laura Smith began to feel trapped. Not by her fiance, 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...

Details The Art of Vanishing

TitleThe Art of Vanishing
Release DateFeb 6th, 2018
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Travel, Biography Memoir

Reviews The Art of Vanishing

  • Cristine Mermaid
    This cover and title appealed to me when I was putting new releases out so I read the blurb and I felt great hope that this was going to be a book that I would relate to. The reviews/rating vary wildly and now that I've read it, I understand why. Either, you feel this way, you 'get' the restlessness, the longing for something more, the feeling of suffocating from the typical American life or you don't. I get it. I can relate to her feelings of gr...
  • Dana Blazsek
    3.5 stars-- Giving this book a rating took me 24 hours after finishing it to do. Laura Smith is restless. She is young and married, yet feels trapped. While she is grappling with this, she works on researching Barbara Follett who disappeared at a young age. As she tells the story of Follett, Laura tells her story. One that is full of adventure in travels, work, and even her marriage. While I enjoyed both aspects of the story, I just did not feel ...
  • Patricia
    Laura Smith became rather obsessed with the life of Barbara Follet, a young woman who walked away from her family in 1939 and was never heard from again. Barbara had published a novel at age 11 and become a sailor at 15. All through THE ART OF VANISHING, Laura correlates their 2 lives as Linda begins to question restraints her marriage seems to impose. I enjoyed reading this book which I received for an honest opinion. I'd rate THE ART OF VANISHI...
  • Lindsey
    A beautiful, gripping, and provoking book. Smith skillfully interweaves the story of Barbara with her own; she had me always wondering what would happen next in each plot line, always wanting more. The prose is beautiful; you get the sense that each sentence was carefully constructed. The amount of research and work Smith put toward finding out what happened to Barbara and understanding her life is impressive. While I can understand how some read...
  • Kirsty
    The Art of Vanishing, which tells the parallel stories of a historic disappearance and the author's own experiences with love and travel, is utterly fascinating. Smith has woven together both histories incredibly well, and I could hardly put it down. The perfect book for a long flight.
  • Fran Fisher
    Interesting and well-written, and yet. . .For all the research and soul-searching, there are no conclusions or even very good theories that might lead to conclusions. The missing is not found, the unstable continues to wobble. Enjoyable to read, unsatisfying to finish. I would like to see the author try again.
  • Natalie
    I had really high hopes for this book, but it never seemed to really come together for me. I will say that Barbara Newhall Follett's story was fascinating and well-written, as was the author's investigation into what happened to her. The author's own memoir, however, threaded throughout this investigation felt forced into Barbara's narrative. It read like two books tangled together.
  • Maryka Biaggio
    Laura Smith has written a captivating memoir, one that interweaves the story of her new marriage with that of child genius Barbara Follett, who mysteriously vanished at age 25 after the breakup of her marriage. In her retelling Smith reflects on the nature of commitment, the desire for independence, and the temptations of wanderlust. An effective and unusual memoir!
  • Hayley DeRoche
    I LOVED where this book was going for the first half. Barbara Follett's life is fascinating. But, this is a memoir, not a biography. And so, it must reflect back to Laura Smith. The problem is that Follett is much more interesting than Smith. It was a real page-turner, but I found myself skimming Laura Smith's memoir parts to get back to the Follett mystery, and found the ending (understandably) unsatisfying. (view spoiler)[ Even if the Follett m...
  • Joe
    I loved the style and content of this book and especially the structure: alternating chapters of Barbara and the author's very personal experiences.After a long discussion of Barbara, Chapter Seven begins: "We flew to Phuket..." Wait! What? Phuket has an airport!!? I was hooked by this switch since when I was in Phuket many years ago and stayed out at Bateau Ferrengi ("Beach/Boat of the Strangers") and everything was 60 cents: a meal, a bed even ...
  • Devon H
    Smith writes an intricately woven story of her own life and marriage juxtaposed with that of her research subject Barbara Newhall Follet. Although listed as a memoir, Smith combines Follet's biography in with her own. In large part, that has to do with Smith's obsession over Barbara, and how involved her own life became in that of Barbara's. The set up for this memoir unfolded a bit strangely, as it read as very heavy on the Follet biography sid...
  • Lisa
    I was intrigued by the story of Barbara Newhall Follett when I read an excerpt from this book, and so got the book. The questions posed were ones I am invested in: restlessness, how to make marriage fit in a modern world, the dissatisfaction with doing the same conventional things over and over again for decades.In the end, while this book was a quick read, I found myself bored by the author. The story of Barbara Follett in the beginning drew me ...
  • Annette
    This is a story of a young woman who searches for a former child prodigy who disappears in the late 1930's without a trace. Barbara Follett was a published writer by age 9 and went on numerous adventures on both land and sea. She was an Amelia Earhart type of modern woman who did not wish to be confined to a woman's role of wife and mother. Yet, she met a man she ended up marrying only to be shattered when he decided to leave their marriage. The ...
  • Juanita
    The author wraps her own story about her longing for freedom with a real-life story of Barbara a woman who vanishes without a trace in the 1930s. The author describes living in a world where she felt she should get married, buy a house, have kids and be satisfied. She decided to get married but not follow the "rules" after that. Barbara is a child-prodigy who goes on adventures and disappears after a few years of marriage. Everyone in her life wo...
  • MaryJo Hansen
    the book juxtaposes two stories,: the author's marriage story and the story of Barbara Follett, a woman who lived in the 1920-30s and authored a well-read novel when she was 14, and vanished when she was 26. The author is doing research on Barbara's story, trying to find out where she went and why. At the same time she is telling the story of her life. I liked the historical story and the research the author did to uncover the facts about Barbara...
  • Hope
    This memoir reminded me a bit of "Spinster" by Kate Bolick. It is a story of intertwining lives where the researcher's life starts to reflect, or perhaps always reflected, that of the person being researched. "The Art of Vanishing" is about learning to listen to yourself, but to also understand that you may not always be telling yourself the right things. It is definitely not a book that has neat tied-up endings and a classic Bildungsroman narrat...
  • Nathan Ingraham
    While I lost the thread slightly in the middle of the book, overall this was an enjoyable and interesting read. I’ve never heard of Barbara Follett before, and her story and subsequent disappearance make for an interesting, true mystery. And the author’s hunt for more info makes for a pretty engaging second story. Some of the details from her personal didn’t quite resonate with me, but as someone who isn’t all that interested in conformin...
  • Barbpie
    Laura Smith wove her own story into the story of Barbara Newhall Follett, a child prodigy who disappeared in December 1939. The book started slow and I nearly quit it, but once it picked up steam, I finished it in an afternoon.
  • Spyder
    I couldn't finish this. It was written as if there was an old white guy sitting in the corner narrating it to me. It was stuffy, pedantic, and uninteresting. I really tried, but it wasn't right for me.
  • Renee Ortenzio
  • Polly
    I adore the historical stuff, and the rest is well-written and thoughtful, and pretty much in line with my conclusions about open relationships too.
  • anne
    I felt immersed in Barbara and Laura's lives, and I appreciated the insights of seeing them side by side, the ways they resonated and diverged.
  • Marcie Borgal
    If you love to travel, dream of escape or sometimes feel life just isn’t quite enough, this is book is for you. Starts off slow. Stick with it, it’s worth it!
  • Onceinabluemoon
    It's rare when I am not involved with memoirs, but this was two fold, and frankly I didn't care about either, I pulled my own art of vanishing and dnf...
  • Anne
    This book was an odd combination of biography and memoir, and I'm not sure the two halves meshed well. The biography was interesting enough, but the author's memoir didn't hold my interest.
  • Debra Mccall
  • Alicia Walker
    Compelling, difficult to put down