by Anne Ursu
A family takes their two young children to the circus. Their usually shy, withdrawn little boy volunteers to be part of the clown's final magic trick. At first his parents are pleased with James' participation- then shocked, angered and dismayed when he actually disappears from the stage. The Disapparation of James then examines all the emotional turmoil following the incident- ranging from sorrow and rage to disbelief and denial. It not only covers the reactions of parents and sister, but delves into responses by the police, media, neighbors, even the clown himself. Interesting, but the brief chapters covered so many characters it was hard in the end to really care about any of them. The most intriguing one was the little girl, who seemed more determined than her parents to solve the mystery of James' disappearance. Being a parent myself, the book certainly did touch a chord: what would I do if my child suddenly vanished in a public place? how would I feel, how would I deal with it? how would I find her again? But as a reader, the lack of a final explanation for what happened to James left me feeling frustrated, and as a whole it was rather disappointing.
Rating: 2/5 ........ 288 pages, 2003