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The Deep End of the Ocean (Oprah's Book…
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The Deep End of the Ocean (Oprah's Book Club) (edition 1999)

by Jacquelyn Mitchard

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,863462,023 (3.43)52
Member:mikedraper
Title:The Deep End of the Ocean (Oprah's Book Club)
Authors:Jacquelyn Mitchard
Info:Penguin Books (1999), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:read in 2013, New York Times Best Seller, my library, Filmed, mystery, signed, Books reviewed
Rating:***
Tags:mystery, kidnapping, books into film, dysfunctional families, humor

Work details

The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard

  1. 20
    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (WildMaggie)
  2. 00
    Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell (lahochstetler)
    lahochstetler: Books about what happens to families when children are missing
  3. 00
    The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond (cataylor)
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» See also 52 mentions

English (45)  Dutch (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
couldn't put it down — lost boy — her soul — 8 years later

Both highly suspenseful and deeply moving, The Deep End of the Ocean imagines every mother's worst nightmare—the disappearance of a child—as it explores a family's struggle to endure, even against extraordinary odds. Filled with compassion, humor, and brilliant observations about the texture of real life, here is a story of rare power, one that will touch readers' hearts and make them celebrate the emotions that make us all one.
  christinejoseph | Apr 15, 2016 |
Wisconsin photographer and housewife Beth Cappadora leaves her youngest son, Ben, alone with his older brother for a brief moment in a crowded Chicago hotel lobby, while attending her high school reunion. The older son lets go of Ben's hand and Ben vanishes without a trace. Beth goes into an extended mental breakdown and it is left to her husband and owner of a restaurant, Pat, to force his wife to robotically care for their remaining two children, 7-year-old Vincent and infant daughter Kerry.

Nine years pass, and the Cappadora family is still together and has moved to Chicago. On the outside, they seem to have gotten over their grief. Yet, one day a young boy named Sam asks Beth if she needs the lawn mowed.

Beth suspects that this boy who lives with his "father" two blocks away is in fact her lost son, and while Sam mows the lawn, she takes photographs of him to show to her husband and teenage son, who then says that he suspected Sam was Ben all along. The parents contact Detective Candy Bliss who pops in to offer wise, albeit often cryptic and conflicting, advice to Beth. It is learned that at the reunion in Chicago, the celebrity alumna Cecile Lockhart kidnapped Ben, renamed him Sam, and raised him as her own child until she was committed to a mental hospital (in the movie Cecile committed suicide) and left Sam to be raised by the sensitive and intellectual George Karras.

Ben was raised by a Greek-American father for nine years, while his biological parents are Italian-American. Ben is a polite and intellectual American boy who takes great pride in participating in Greek cultural rituals, much to the frustration of Pat who wants to pretend that Ben was never really abducted and thus can be the son that he wants him to be if only he uses enough discipline. Ben is faced with the ethnic identity that he grew up with, and the ethnic identity he would have known had he not been kidnapped.

Ben's adoptive father agrees to move away, not telling anyone where he is going. Torn between two worlds and having lost both of the parents that he knew, Ben expresses suicidal feelings to Beth.

Ben's only memory of his biological family is one of brother Vincent and thus over a one-on-one basketball game he absolves his brother of any responsibility for his abduction, and agrees to stop running away in order to build upon his memories with his older brother. Inside the house Pat and Beth see these events and reconcile.

At the end of the novel, many conflicts remain unresolved. Pat still has problems loving his sons; Ben because he can not relate to his personality and Vincent because he does not connect his teenager rebellion and cynicism to nine years of bad parenting. Beth has regained her position in the family as an equal parent, however Ben and Vincent's emotional scars may require years of intense therapy. The friendship that she made with Candy Bliss erodes to the point where the family seems to reject the friendship or support of any outsiders, be they friends, family, social workers, or police.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11868309
  JosieRivers | Dec 28, 2014 |
Life's too short to read depressing books about a main character with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I got through 7 chapters and decided that, for the first time in years, I'm not going to finish this book and it will immediately go in my Goodwill pile. Again, life is too short. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 15, 2014 |
Why didn't I read this before? Just snotty, I guess. It's very good in a precious, unruly, way. ( )
  jconnell | Jul 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jacquelyn Mitchardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gothoni, ArjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Grief fills up the room of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.
Then have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well. Had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.

~King John, Act III, scene iv, by William Shakespeare
Dedication
For the two Dans,
and for my father and my mother
First words
Altogether, it was ten years, easily ten, from the hot August morning when Beth put the envelope full of pictures into the drawer until the cold fall afternoon when she took them out and laid them one by one on her desk.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Leed vult de plaats van mijn afwezig kind
Ligt in zijn bed, loopt heen en weer met mij,
En bootst zijn lachjes, praat zijn woordjes na,
Herinnert mij aan al zijn lieve gaven,
Vult met zijn vorm zijn lege kleren op;
Ik heb dus grond om van mijn leed te houden.
Vaarwel. Had u zoveel als ik verloren,
Ik kon u beter troosten dan u mij.

King John, akte III, scène iv,
William Shakespeare
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Prateći tijekom idućih deset godina preostalih troje članova obitelji kako pokušavaju živjeti u potisnutoj agoniji, između zebnje i nade, zamrznuti u vremenu tragedijom za koju svi krive i sebe i druge, Jacquelyn Mitchard će ispričati potresnu, no istodobno toplu ljudsku priču koja će vas od prve do zadnje stranice držati u napetosti poput rijetko kojeg trilera.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140286276, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, September 1996: The horror of losing a child is somehow made worse when the case goes unsolved for nearly a decade, reports Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Jacquelyn Mitchard in this searing first novel. In it, 3-year-old Ben Cappadora is kidnapped from a hotel lobby where his mother is checking into her 15th high school reunion. His disappearance tears the family apart and invokes separate experiences of anguish, denial, and self-blame. Marital problems and delinquency in Ben's older brother (in charge of him the day of his kidnapping) ensue. Mitchard depicts the family's friction and torment--along with many gritty realities of family life--with the candor of a journalist and compassion of someone who has seemingly been there. International publishing and movie rights sold fast on this one: It's a blockbuster.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:33 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

An unforgettable debut of a major storyteller, this bestselling novel now in paperback recounts every mother's most terrifying nightmare: the disappearance of her child.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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