Crystal's Reviews > The Deep End of the Ocean

The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
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Oct 12, 10

Read from September 26 to October 07, 2010

Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Deep End of the Ocean
New York: Viking, 1996
434 pp. $10.20 (Amazon Paperback)
0-670-86579-6

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 to grow without the love of his mother and starts showing delinquent behavior. 9 years go by, until Beth meets Sam, a neighborhood boy who offers to mow the lawn. She realizes Sam is her child Ben, who had been living just two blocks away for several years. The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard tells the tale of this family adapting to living without a lost child and his struggle to fit back in with this new family. This book was a slow read and had very little character development. However, the story was written in an interesting way.

After spending more than half the book showing Beth in half frenzy, breaking down after every other mention of the word “Ben”, the author finally moves on with the actual plot and gets to the discovery of Sam. And at that point, she uses the rest of the book to describe the happenings of a few weeks. As a book that describes mainly two events and the mindsets of the people in the story, 434 pages is just way too long to drag the story out to. Also, the characters did not change that much through the story. The only character “development” was Beth turning from a somewhat annoying mother to an even more annoying one to one that felt empowered after finally saying one sentence back to a somewhat annoying one. The other character development was for their older son Vincent, or “Reese” as he calls himself later, who starts off trying to be a good kid, but then feels lonely with his parents ignoring him, thus acting up for attention, and trying to make amends for losing his brother. Besides this, everyone stayed the same from beginning to end, the father, Ben, the little sister, the grandparents, etc.

Even so, I enjoyed reading the book from different perspectives: Beth and Vincent/Reese, although the Vincent view was first introduced pretty far into the novel. Jacquelyn Mitchard had it so we could read into the minds of the two people and what happens around them, while still keeping it in third person. It would have been more enjoyable if more characters were delved into, but it was nice that the author chose to go into a teenager’s mind.

The Deep End of the Ocean was a nice read, though it was extremely long. For long trips or on rainy days, this book would be a good pick, but as a novel, it wasn’t that good.
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message 3: by Andrew (last edited Oct 12, 2010 06:22AM) (new)

Andrew This review had a lot of good ideas but it was a little confusing as far as what you were trying to say. You were telling me that it was not a good novel and that it was a slow read, but it is good for long trips or rainy days. I feel like I can understand what you were trying to say but the review was still confusing. However I still did think that it was a well thought out reveiw with good ideas.


message 2: by Felicity (new)

Felicity I do not wish to read this book. The review was well written, however it was too long and it did not have a good flow. Since you did not seem to enjoy this book very much, it seems that you did not expect everyone to wish to read this book. How could you like a book that was slow, AND with little character development? I would have been bored to death by the end of it.


message 1: by Chason (new)

Chason You have effectively convinced me not to read this book. Your review was overall quite effective, though there were a few slightly confusing parts. For example, when describing the character development, the sentence structure was a little jumbled. Clearer sentences would have helped to understand your point better.


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