This Story Made Me Sick.
I bought this novel without knowing its topic, because I met the author at Love is Murder, a writer’s conference in Chicago a year or two ago. I must confess, the first chapter made me sick. I shelved the book and, for months, sneered at the title while dusting or rearranging books. Yesterday, before tossing the book in the donation box, I scanned the middle and read the ending.
With that forewarning, I again faced page one of the tragedy and, this time, read straight through.
Could you handle it?
The story is heartbreaking. Multiply that . . . because the author gives us a slap in the face from every family member who loved the lost little boy. This is a complete story . . . not just the grieving mother, the guilt-ridden brother, or the obsessed detective. Everyone who was smashed by the incident takes their turn in the author’s spotlight. She does an admirable job of forcing the reader to walk in the various shoes, boots, and sneakers.
I loved the author’s use of words, her unique and vivid imagery. A reader may at times become impatient for the plot to move along, but as when soaking in a hot spa, one must immerse one’s self and let the feeling seep into the bones. That is the level at which fear, pain, meaning, and joy are known.
I’ve decided not to give the book away. I will, however, lend it to good friends who appreciate a masterful, soul-searing introspection of every mother’s nightmare.
The Deep End of the Ocean was an Oprah book, though that’s not why I would choose a book. Ratings on Amazon range from 2- 5 stars for various reasons. Some reviewers state that the story ends too soon, that they don’t know what happens to the family. I do. (Spoiler alert)
Reese and Sam become fast friends, which is probably the most important development. Beth stays home because every cell in her body loves her boys. Pat is healed by having his family whole. Sam is the glue . . . and wants to be. These are my hopes, so for me that is what happens.
Questions I would ask the Author
There are many questions to ask and many things to discuss in a book discussion group. This is what I wonder:
1) Why did Sam return to the Cappadora family?
2) Do you believe that George urged Sam to return to the family?
3) Did Pat and Beth stay together?
4) Why did Reese change his name from Vincent? What is the importance of names to both boys?
5) Did Reese get into trouble at school and with the law for attention or something else?
6) Was Beth a bad mother before the incident? After? Going forward?
7) Was Pat a good father before the incident? After?
8) Who was stronger during the nine years? Beth or Pat? And after they met Sam?