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The Deep End of the Ocean (Cappadora Family #1)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  84,991 ratings  ·  906 reviews
Few first novels receive the kind of attention and acclaim showered on this powerful story--a nationwide bestseller, a critical success, and the first title chosen for Oprah's Book Club. 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, ev ...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Penguin Books (first published June 1st 1996)
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Lisa I do recommend skipping it. I can't seem to get into it. The mother, main character is hard to connect with. I think that's why I'm having a hard…moreI do recommend skipping it. I can't seem to get into it. The mother, main character is hard to connect with. I think that's why I'm having a hard time. (less)
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It's been a while since I first read this but I read it on a trip to visit my mother, finished it at her house and flung it across the room. I left it behind and she read it and called me to berate me for leaving it for her to read! So count this as TWO negative reviews. The climax happens about halfway through the book and then the next 200 or so pages are padding that you end up hating yourself for reading.
Books Ring Mah Bell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2007 Eilene rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants an interesting read
Shelves: fondmemories
This book relies heavily on coincidence, which is usually a sign of bad writing. In this case, however, the coincidence is more of a result of a "what if" question, rather than a "how can I loop this all together" scenario. I think its an interesting idea, what happens when the little boy is found, but the bad guys feel like the good guys and the good guys don't feel like anything?
One thing that struck me about this book was how self-centered the main character was. I can't comprehend what she
The story of a family in the wake of a tragedy. When Ben, a three year old boy, disappears in a crowded hotel lobby, his family begins to slowly come apart. Nine years later, the boy is miraculously found and restored to the family, safe and unhurt. Unfortunately, it is not the happy homecoming everyone wanted. Ben does not remember his birth family. To him, the Cappadoras are rank strangers he is forced to live with while the father who raised him lives right down the street. The pain of all co ...more
The kid is found and he's fine. That's not a spoiler; you can read it on the jacket. However, I had to skip to the second half to see for myself, and I read in other reviews that other people did, too. I really didn't want to be reading a book about a child being kidnapped and killed or abused. And that's not what it was at all, so rest assured.

The first half of the book is about what happens with a family when their middle child, a three-year-old, is kidnapped. The second half is about what hap
Jan 08, 2008 Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, people who have time for a page turner
I've read and reread this book a thousand times over. I get lost in the sorrow I feel for this family. Everytime I read this story I feel differently about the choices this family makes. I don't have children so it is hard to imagine the heart break of having one kidnapped. I think it is impossible to not get attached to these characters.
Deborah Ideiosepius
Sep 20, 2011 Deborah Ideiosepius rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who genuinely enjoys sickly sweet, badly written pap.
Well, obviously I did not like it.

The abstract is that a three year old boy child vanishes, while in the care of his mother and watched by his seven year old brother. Family torn apart, police search, ect ect. Nine years later the boy is found by accident. This is a scenario that should make for a great book, how could all those dynamic elements go wrong?

Here’s how;

The literary style is very poor; so much so that the subject matter is obscured by the sickly sentimental and poorly edited writing
What a depressing book! I could actually say I have a lot in common with this book being
#1 a bereaved parent (although my child died, he did not disappear)
#2 being an adopted child who found and contacted the birth family as an adult and made an effort to fit into that family and have two families. I've been a quasi member of the birth family for years now, very quasi.
Three year old Ben, youngest member of a large Italian family from his father's side and Irish family from his mother's side, di
I saw the movie, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, years ago and always had in the back of my mind that I'd like to read the book. I'm glad I did. Jacquelyn Mitchard did a masterful job writing this book. The characters are rich, complex and fully developed. The plot has plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. And not everything gets explained or tied up in a neat bow - much like life.

The first two sections of the story are told from a single point of view and the rest of the book alternates
This is quite possibly one of the worst books I have ever read. It was artistically abysmal and I would not have finished it if it weren't for the library book club I read it for. The characters (particularly the parents) are thin and unlikeable characters. The plot left unpleasantly dangling threads in several places where the author would take us to a location or revelation and then stop talking about it - including a pointless affair that did not contribute to the overall plot in any way. It ...more
Lina Hamad
To be honest, I put this book down so many times in the past. I just couldn't go through with it. It somehow didn't seem to capture my interest. I choose this book because I'm a big fan of emotion evoking books, I just love them. However, as I kept on reading, Beth seemed to actually annoy me rather than gain my sympathy. Beth was so self centered and self absorbed that she couldn't see that anyone else was suffering beside her. I decided that I really didn't like her when she was so cold toward ...more
Lady Di
Oprah's Book Club: A mother's 3 year old son was kidnapped while her back was turned checking into a hotel. I related most with the brother that didn't watch his brother like the mother asked. This was the subplot that held the book together. The mother recognizes her lost son 9 years later mowing lawns. He was innocent in the whole thing and it was sad for him to have two families and to feel torn between having to choose between them.
Natasha Findlay
THE DEEP END of the OCEAN by Jacquelyn Mitchard

I decided to read this book because it was recommended by my mum as i didn't know what to read for my book reports.
The category i chose for this book is 'A book with a female main character'. This was interesting because the female main character was the mother of Ben the boy who went missing in this book and it showed us the pain she had for losing her son and how her family got torn apart.
My favourite quote from the book is "Where's Ben" because i
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (October 1, 1999)
Language: English
My Rating - 5

This book for me was beautiful and scary. Imagine losing your child..the horror of it! It can ruin happy families apart, it can ruin marriages..This is what the book is about ,how the disappearance of a child completely changes the family dynamics and the lasting psychological impact of it.This one is quite a tearjerker. I myself wept quite a bit while reading it. However I have to say I found my
This book is about a kidnapping. It is told from the mother's point of view and the kidnapped child's brother. The characters really weren't that developed (and for me to notice that is saying something). The plot was predictable and I didn't even like the parents in the story, so I wasn't rooting for them. I only finished the book because I was hoping that something great would happen. It didn't.
I did not really care for this one. I can't really pinpoint why. Maybe it was that Beth was shallow and so empty inside and that seemed to be her before Ben was kidnapped. Maybe it was that even though his brother was supposed to watch him and didn't, there was never any real attempt made to tell the brother that it was really NOT his fault. MOM was the adult. MOM could have held on to him while they checked into the hotel. Lord knows I have done it enough with my 3 girls. You just don't sit the ...more
I enjoyed this book. It is a story about a family who lose a child. The Mother, Beth takes the children away and asks her older son who is 7, to watch her younger son who is 3 whilst she takes care of a hotel booking - she is just across the lobby. When she returns, Ben is gone and is nowhere to be found.
The book then follows the family, including extended family as they try to figure out what happened and where Ben has gone. Then, 10 years later Ben re-appears. (not a spoiler, it tells you on
Wes’ book review: Deep End of the Ocean. 2.5 stars. Meh, what a mixed bag. This book was a great idea that could have been executed much better by another writer with more experience in my opinion. (This was the author’s debut novel and I think it showed.) While it was a quick page turner, one is left feeling a little cheated by what could have been an absolutely stunning novel in the hands of someone with more control over their craft.

1. Great idea and initial plot development. (A 3 year
This book was just ok. The plot-line was interesting but, honestly, the only character I liked was Reese/Vincent. Sam/Ben I liked, as well, but, since we did not really get to know him too well, this was a minor interest for me. I actually had a fondness for Reese. That poor kid! Anyone interested in psychology might find Reese and his struggles fascinating. And I strongly disliked Beth. For the main character that we followed in the book, that is not a good thing.
I also felt the book was a tad
This book was a bit depressing, but ultimately I found it well worth reading. The story centers on a family dealing with the abduction of their three year old son. The mother sinks into depression and fails to parent her other two children, and, overall, everyone’s life deteriorates. The topic may not be a real draw for some readers, but life really does throw people under the bus sometimes and their lives are forever impacted. This is a well-constructed story about the effects a certain tragedy ...more
Kathleen Bywater
Although the author obviously has talent, she has wasted little of it on this book about characters with whom audiences do not wish to identify.

The mother in this book is a basket case, completely uncaring about her family, and the reader finds himself unable to sympathize with her over the loss of her son. Most readers will sympathize with her husband instead; he has born the brunt of her problems for years and continues to do so after she loses her son at a class reunion.

I really had problems
Its beautifully written and the characters are mostly believable, but its not a happy story. As a parent, I found it a disturbing story to read. But it explores the way child abduction can affect an entire family in a thorough and thoughtful way.
Dec 01, 2008 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially mothers
I was shocked by what this book really ended up being about. I pictured the heartbreaking struggle of a mother who lost her child and what the family went through...and there is a little of that, but then, there is a twist and half the book deals more with how the family relates with each other after the ordeal.

I've read some people who are just completely abhorred by the actions of the mother, but I thought it was very realistic as to how a person in this situation might act. The mother in this
I read this book while living in Madison, Wisconson. The book takes place in Madison and is about the kidnapping of a four year old little boy. I had a four year-old son at the time with a similar name. My first introduction to the book was purely happenstance. I was driving down the road and turned to NPR. It happened to be time for "A Chapter A Day." I listened to the story, probably the first or second chapter as I drove and nearly had to pull off the road for crying so hard. I heard only two ...more
it was on my bookshelf forever. i knew i tried to read it multiple times before and got a couple of chapters in only to put it down uninterested. i kept getting the feeling i had read the entire thing through already. perhaps just another version of the same story, written by a different author and published under a different title. and i'm sure i already saw the lifetime adaptation.

I wont drag you through the synopsis of the book, to get that just google it yourself. really just want to put my
'Watch your brother,' says Beth Cappadora to her seven-year-old son Vincent. Only minutes later she turns again and asks, 'Where's Ben?' It's the moment that every mother fears: for three-year-old Ben is gone. And no one can find him. Despite a police search that becomes a nationwide obsession, Ben has vanished, leaving behind a family that will be torn apart with anguish. Until, nine years later, the undreamed-of happens: a twelve-year-old boy knocks on their door - a boy who does not kno
Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Deep End of the Ocean
New York: Viking, 1996
434 pp. $10.20 (Amazon Paperback)

Life for an average suburban family is going by peacefully, until the younger son, Ben, is kidnapped at a high school reunion. Distraught, the mother, Beth, a photographer, goes into mental collapse and wallows in her grief, while the rest of the family is left to fend on their own. The older son, Vincent, who was 7 at the time, feels responsible for his brother’s disappearance and has
Hands down, one of my most favorite books ever. Superbly crafted by Ms. Mitchard, you become enveloped in this family that has the unspeakable happen: their child disappears. The day-to-day devastating depression that the author chronicles the mother going through and the impact of that depression on the rest of the family members indicates to me that this author had to have had some kind of experience with it or very close to first-hand knowledge. It just cannot be made up. Beth was not equippe ...more
I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed another book by this author and I read somewhere a good review of the sequel to this book. When I got it from the library and saw the Oprah's Book Club stamp on it. I was very wary -- I don't always enjoy Oprah's picks, and find them unusually depressing. And the description of this book fit that mold: A happy family is devastated when their three-year-old boy goes missing. The book delves into what happens to the members of the family, not only the p ...more
I read this book when it was an Oprah selection. Since it takes place in Chicago (I grew up an hour west of there), I could relate to the scenery there. The premise of the story is that a mom, Beth, takes her three children to Chicago for the weekend to attend a high school reunion. While she checks into the hotel, she instructs the children to sit on the bellhops trolley. Of course, what happens next is every parent's worst nightmare: one of the children is missing. The story continues by relat ...more
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Oprah's Book Club...: Deep End of the Ocean 6 38 Apr 25, 2013 11:13PM  
  • The Treasure Hunt: A Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers, Level 3
  • Jewel
  • Songs in Ordinary Time
  • Mother of Pearl
  • River, Cross My Heart
  • The Book of Ruth
  • Black and Blue
  • A Virtuous Woman
  • Open House
  • Back Roads
  • While I Was Gone
  • Icy Sparks
  • Drowning Ruth
  • Here on Earth
  • Vinegar Hill
  • The Rapture of Canaan
  • What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day (Idlewild, #1)
  • Gap Creek
Jacquelyn Mitchard’s first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was named by USA Today as one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years – second only to the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (but second by a long shot, it must be said.)

The Deep End of the Ocean was chosen as the first novel in the book club made famous by the TV host Oprah Winfrey, and transformed into a feature film p
More about Jacquelyn Mitchard...

Other Books in the Series

Cappadora Family (2 books)
  • No Time to Wave Goodbye
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