Cover image for Disappearing acts
Disappearing acts
McMillan, Terry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Signet, [2002]

Physical Description:
433 pages ; 18 cm
Reading Level:
630 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 6.5 27 Quiz: 20718 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

On Order



He was tall, dark as bittersweet chocolate, and impossibly gorgeous, with a woman-melting smile. She was pretty and independent, petite and not too skinny, just his type. Franklin Swift was a sometimes-employed construction worker, and a not-quite-divorced daddy of two. Zora Banks was a teacher, singer, songwriter. They met in a Brooklyn brownstone, and there could be no walking away...

In this funny, gritty urban love story, Franklin and Zora join the ranks of fiction's most compelling couples, as they move from Scrabble to sex, from layoffs to the limits of faith and trust. Disappearing Acts is about the mystery of desire and the burdens of the past. It's about respect, what it can and can't survive. And it's about the safe and secret places that only love can find.

Author Notes

Terry McMillan was born in Port Huron, Michigan on October 18, 1951. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986, studied film at Columbia University, and enrolled in the Harlem Writer's Guild. Her books include Disappearing Acts, Mama, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, The Interruption of Everything, Getting to Happy, and Who Asked You? Her books Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back were adapted as major motion pictures.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

McMillan's first novel Mama was highly praised; critics compared the author to Zora Neale Hurston. Naming the heroine of this second novel Zora may have been intended as an homage to that also gifted and black writer, but despite an abundance of flash and energy, this book lacks the depth and breadth to which McMillan aspires. This is a love story between Zora, an independent, aspiring singer who is said to teach junior high school (we never really see her at work) and Franklin, a sometimes-employed carpenter with an estranged wife and three young children (they're vague props). Life has been unkind to these star-crossed lovers, but they're both survivors. McMillan threads her politics through the narrative and her characters occasionally lapse into dialogue more appropriate for a position paper than conversation. In that sense, and it's not necessarily a bad one, this is an old-fashioned kind of novel, the kind with a Message. But in her effort to achieve authenticity, the author bombards readers with four-letter words, and the effect is both irritating and distancing. Though, indeed, real people talk that way, the question is: Do we want to read a novel with such relentlessly scatological dialogue? In the end, however, readers who are willing to immerse themselves in this gritty slice of life will count it an edifying experience. 25,000 first printing; movie rights optioned by Tri-Star. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In Disappearing Acts, McMillan, the popular author of contemporary black fiction like How Stella Got Her Groove Back, tells the story of a man and woman who fall in love despite their initial reluctance to become involved. Zora, a schoolteacher who longs to be a singer, is a strong, well-educated woman who has seen enough to know exactly what she wants in a man. Franklin, who works intermittently as a handyman in Zora's new apartment building, is an almost-divorced father of two with a GED and a former drug problem. Although Franklin is not quite what she had in mind, Zora is drawn to his dark good looks and quiet strength; he is as impressed by her intelligence and goals as he is by her beauty. With its steamy love scenes and explicit language, this recording is not for the faint of heart. The author has responded to past criticism of the earthy language in her books by stating that such language is realistic for her characters. While this may be true, hearing four-letter words and explicit slang for the male and female anatomy in literally every minute of the recording is quite different from being able to skim over the same language on the printed page. This recording, which is set up as a series of alternating, first-person monologs, is read by New York stage and television actors Marjorie Johnson and Marc Damon Johnson. Language aside, the readers instill their characters with intelligence and honest emotions. Recommended for large public libraries where McMillan's earlier recordings have proven popular.Leah Sparks, Bowie P.L., MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.