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Do Not Become Alarmed: A Novel by Maile…

Do Not Become Alarmed: A Novel (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Maile Meloy (Author)

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3012354,808 (3.5)7
Title:Do Not Become Alarmed: A Novel
Authors:Maile Meloy (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2017), 350 pages
Collections:Your library

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Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (2017)



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Three couples on a cruise ship go ashore in Costa Rica and get separated from their 6 children. Their story is told alternately by the parents and the children. I thought it was a good adventure story and fairly suspenseful, dealing not only with the children's attempts to get back to their parents, but also the emotional impact on all of the parties. The Argentinian couple, compared to the two American couples, gets short shrift which I found unfortunate. It would make a good movie. ( )
1 vote flourgirl49 | Feb 16, 2019 |
Two couples decide to take a cruise with their children during Christmas break. They meet an Argentinian couple with their own children on the cruise. While in the "Switzerland of Latin America" (Costa Rica), the 3 fathers go golfing, and the 3 mothers and 6 children, decide to take a zip-line trip. However, things go awry on the way to the excursion, and they end up at a beach. The children go off to play in the water, and the moms are otherwise occupied. Suddenly, the children are gone. This sets off an adventure of trying to recover the missing children. There are drug lords, police on the take, children being smuggled across the borders, many unscrupulous people but also some good people, murders, and all-around terror knowing the children are missing. It is a quick read, and full of high-paced action. A good thriller. ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 22, 2019 |
This was a unique read--it's sort of a chick lit thriller type that alternates the perspective of parents - moms and dads both with that of their children. I can't recall having read a book with a similar premise (the closest is maybe The Deep End of the Ocean and it's not a perfect comparison). Points for uniqueness.

Set in Central America, this book centers on two families who go on a cruise together and make friends with a third family. The moms take all the kids on a zipline excursion while the dads go golfing. Moms and kids are separated from each other, kids go missing, and the rest of the book tells what happens to the kids from their perspective and how the parents react from theirs. That they're affluent Americans in Central America and dealing with the police, crime and corruption adds to the interest.

Killer story idea that doesn't quite have the payload it should. Mostly because there's really no likable or relatable adult and for various reasons, it's difficult to connect emotionally with any of the kids.

TW: rape of a minor - it's not gratuitous, but for some, that it's there will be too much.

You're not left hanging at the end, but the way the plot resolves is a little too...pat. Or something. There really aren't any consequences or emotional aftermath, which is weird. It's like everything's changed and nothing has...ending with an emotional whimper without even the pretense of trying to make a point.

This is the type of book you read at the beach or by the pool, but there's not enough emotional heft to discuss in a book group. Entertaining diversion, but that's about it. ( )
  angiestahl | Oct 15, 2018 |
Really enjoyed the book. Kept my interest from the first page! ( )
  gail616 | Aug 15, 2018 |
I really just do not know what to write about this top-notch book which I suspect will haunt me for quite a while. The writing is absolutely phenomenal, the suspense unbearable, the characters unforgettable (though, more times than not, also unlikable). Because there is kidnapping and children and unspeakable things involved I often felt sick to my stomach and incredibly tense as I read and I had to put this down several times. If this is ever made into a movie (which maybe it should not be), well, I think I would feel just like I do when I watch an episode of Law and Order: SVU with young children involved: uneasy and alarmed and not sure at all it is alright that child actors are involved. While I could never ever read this book again I have to say that it is one of the most raw and honest fiction reads I have ever experienced. ( )
  booksandcats4ever | Jul 30, 2018 |
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Americans learn only from catastrophe and not from experience.
It is a fact that it takes experience before one can realize what is a catastrophe and what is not.
—RICHARD HUGHES, A High Wind in Jamaica
For my parents
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THE CRUISE SHIP towered over the dock in San Pedro like an enormous white layer cake, or a floating apartment building.
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Book description
When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The adults are lulled by the ship's comfort and ease. The four children — ages six to eleven — love the nonstop buffet and their newfound independence. But when they all go ashore for an adventure in Central America, a series of minor misfortunes and miscalculations leads the families farther from the safety of the ship. One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone.

The disintegration of the world that the families knew — told from the perspectives of both the adults and the children — is riveting and revealing. The parents, accustomed to security and control, turn on one another and blame themselves, while the seemingly helpless children discover resources they never knew they possessed.

Do Not Become Alarmed is a story about the protective force of innocence and the limits of parental power, and an insightful look at privileged illusions of safety. Celebrated for her spare and moving fiction, Maile Meloy has written a gripping novel about how quickly what we count on can fall away, and how a crisis shifts our perceptions of what matters most.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0735216525, Hardcover)

From a beloved, award-winning writer, the much-anticipated novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation—and the children go missing.

When Liv and Nora decide to take their families on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. The children—two eleven-year-olds, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-old—love the nonstop buffet and the independence they have at the Kids' Club. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor misfortunes leads the families farther and farther from the ship's safety. One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone.

What follows is a riveting, revealing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the once-happy parents—now turning on one another and blaming themselves—try to recover their children and their lives.

Celebrated for her ability to write vivid, spare, moving fiction, Maile Meloy shows how quickly the life we count on can fall away, and how a crisis changes everyone's priorities. The fast-paced, gripping plot of Do Not Become Alarmed carries with it an insightful, provocative examination of privilege, race, guilt, envy, the dilemmas of modern parenthood, and the challenge of living up to our own expectations.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:36:19 -0500)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A "novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation--and the children go missing"--

(summary from another edition)

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