THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN by Jacquelyn Mitchard

THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Madison, Wisconsin, newspaper columnist Mitchard (Mother Less Child: The Love Story of a Family, 1985) makes a splash with her first novel--a lush melodrama centered around the kidnapping of a three-year-old boy--and keeps us turning the pages long after the brain synapses have gone to sleep. Too sharp-tongued and disorganized to make the five-star rating in the neighborhood's ideal-mother competition, Beth Cappadora nevertheless considered herself a good enough parent until three-year-old Ben, the second and sunniest of her three children, disappears from a Chicago hotel lobby while Beth is checking in. In town for her 15th high-school reunion, Beth searches the neighborhood, calls the police, and gets drunk before the truth dawns: The child has been snatched and is not coming back. The days, weeks, months, and years that follow are a nightmare for the Cappadora family back home in Madison, Wis., as Beth sleeps most of her days away, unable to connect with her increasingly disturbed son Vincent, who was supposed to have been watching Ben, and her daughter. Beth falteringly resumes her freelance photography career and husband Pat halfheartedly pursues his goal of opening a restaurant in Chicago. The restaurant is a success, the family moves back to the now-hated Windy City, and Vincent causes increasingly serious trouble as his guilt over his brother's disappearance festers. Then a miracle happens: Beth opens her door to find a boy offering to mow her lawn, a boy who looks exactly like, who must be, her baby boy Ben. . . . Workaday prose and fist-clenching earnestness combine to make this an exceptionally promising movie treatment, if not a work of literary greatness. Mitchard's Good Mother-like eye for hot family melodrama should keep her rolling in dough. (First printing of 100,000; $100,000 ad/promo; film rights to Mandalay; author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-670-86879-6
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1996




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