Vanish Me:Lee Matthew Goldberg
Take a piece of paper and before you take the pen to it or pencil look at yourself deeply in a mirror. Then draw what you see. Next take a snapshot or Polaroid of yourself and compare the photo to your drawing. Each person has many different faces and within that face many different personalities. Everyone at times feels like hiding behind a screen or covering themselves up as if they vanished and are no longer there. When life gives Nico a situation she cannot face or handle she takes steps that will hinder her relationships with those that care for her. Part of a band and successful then going solo with Evan one of the member they create Evanico and raise to heights they never experienced or expected. Nico has her own way of dealing with situations and at times needs drugs or alcohol to thrive and perform. As we revisit her in 1998 she and Evan are now parents of a daughter named Love. But she and Evan cannot exist or live without music seeping through their pores. The author begins our journey and is memories as we are reminded of how our portraits change and how our faces and expressions mirror our moods and feelings as Nico and Love share their journeys in two different ways reliving the past, unhappy with the present as Nico decides parenthood is not for her and as the title states she has the goal of vanishing from the person she wants to escape from: vanish me: Nico.
Learning that she is missing sends Love and her father on a quest to find out who heard from her last and when. Family members were worried and a father she would look in on no one has heard from her. Love waits until her father makes calls and memories flood back about Runaway Train, finding some artifacts from her teen years and a diary or journal that takes Love back in time as she hears her mother’s voice, relives her life where it all began starting her journey as the diary relates with Southgarden’s Blow Up The Outside World. Life seems okay and she and Evan mesh until something changes. Love is the primary voice we hear and wants answers to many questions about her mother, why she left after she was born and the diary will enlighten her as to her mother’s way of thinking, her desires and wishes paramount and the need to be who she is with no real relationships that are permanent. Love as well as Nico needs to look deep within themselves to find who they are, they both need acceptance from others as Love learns that when bullied in school and Nico when she realizes the stresses of life and needs to be free. Both feel pieces of themselves are missing and 16 year old Love and her two best friends Frankie and Caden go on a road trip to LA in search of answers to find her mother and finally see her aunt Carly, her grandparents, and friends of her mothers from her past as author Lee Matthew Goldberg allows her to revisit time with Winter, Jeremy and meet Winter’s daughter as the journey begins.
Nico and Evan started as one but differences arose, she felt stifled, and learning she was having a child brought family conflicts, different thoughts, and then deciding after touring, successes, and encouragement from her friend Winter things fell into place but not for long.
Love has decided to search for answers and promises to follow the rules by sharing the driving with her friends, staying with family, and checking in with him regularly. This is a story about honesty, acceptance, uncertainty, love in many different ways and two people that needed to find if they ever unite a balance that would allow them to respect who they are, what they want out of life, and if they could ever be a part of each other’s life.
The diary allows us to experience firsthand the emotional upheavals, uncertainties, and reasons why Nico left where she goes and what she becomes. As Love connects with family, develops feelings for Frankie, and at times us isolated in her world. Meeting her mother’s friends and realizing def had mental problems, went to rehab and at times escape into her world filled with music that made her famous, where would each journey wind up?
Nico was often afraid and saw a shadow in the window or walking forcing her to feel she was being stalked or followed explaining her actions at times to escape and feel safe.
As the diary continues Nico shares how all the pressures built up and the drugs, alcohol, stardom, and losing her sister and her parent’s divorce caused so many dramatic changes in her life.
Then we hear Love’s voice as she connects with Delilah in a different way and feelings are expressed as Nico meets Davina and she finally identifies her stalker. Contemplating her journey even more Nico is not ready to make a permanent presence in her daughter’s life and once again she needs to vanish. As Nico comes back to the states and confronts her stalker, Love and her dad are on their journey to hopefully find Nico.
The final scenes reveal a lot that both Nico and Love learn about each other and they bond but in a different way. As Love just wants acceptance of any type from her mother and Nico explains her goals and wants the ending that author Lee Matthew Goldberg created reminds us of how teens can grow in many different respects, a parent has to at least try and make her child part of her life explaining her parameters. Some endings are beginnings as both Nico and Love plus Evan need to revisit that portrait each drew and take another snapshot to see and say: am I the same person, have I changed? Do I still say the words that Love crested for me: Vanish Me or I’d thus the real me now?
A story about responsibility, trust, love, understanding, family loyalties, hope, and acceptance for who each person was and has become as both Nico and Love are now ready to look at their portraits and decide if their next sentence begins with Vanishing Me or I like the new real me!
Fran Lewis just reviews