The Deep End of the Ocean

The Deep End of the Ocean

The disappearance of her three-year-old son Ben threatens to drive a wedge between Beth Cappadora and her husband, Pat, and transforms her older son into a troubled delinquent, until, one day, nine years later, Ben comes back into their lives. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo.


  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 9th edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670865796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670865796
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (429 customer reviews)
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  1. This book has over 400 pages of every parents WORST nightmare, and it goes into it in a way that is really diturbing… why?… because it could happen… and, it HAS happened.
    I really don’t think any of us has the slightest clue of how we would react to something as tragic and terrifying as that, and in my opinion, Jacquelyn Mitchard did an excellent job in describing what ONE MOTHER did, how she felt, and how all her world changed in 10 minutes.
    I agree with some of the other reviewers… she’s is not a highly likable character, but, under the circumstances, who would be?… She’s not your picture perfect mother… but then again, no one is… still…the author makes you feel what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand her… and her family.
    The reason why I put 4 stars was that I felt the book was a bit incomplete, because we never find out so many things that in my opinion should have been explained… also… in the end, we really don’t know what happened to the family, and after NINE years of KNOWING every single detail, it was a bit hard to let them go.
    Over all, a good, entertaining, but extremelly frightening book. However, I would love to ask the author a few questions that remained unsolved…

  2. Even if you have seen the movie (by the same name), READ THIS BOOK. Mitchard weaves such a hauntingly beautiful tale about every family’s nightmare and the aftermath. While checking into a hotel for a class reunion, Beth Cappadora turns around to realize that her 3-year-old son is gone. The first part of the book describes so many emotions that the family goes through: the shock, the horror, the frantic search, then the realization that life must go on. But how do you? In a split second, everything has changed, her relationship with her husband, the other children, as well as friends and neighbors. A bond develops with one of the officers who refuses to give up on this case. The ending is not what anyone expects and truly shows the strength and absolute beauty of a mother’s love. Wonderfully paced, this is one of those rare stories which I will never forget.

  3. ..I just could not get myself to feel much sympathy or identification with Beth, the main character in this story. We all have our moments when we look away from our children because we are preoccupied. I don’t think many of us have them when our kids, who are all small, are in a busy lobby of a hotel in Chicago. I felt the main character was narcissitic and shallow, and while there are certainly people like this in the world, to really connect with her in this particular story, it would have helped me to LIKE her, which I didn’t.
    While the book is well written and the storyline keeps the reader going, what I found to be the most intersting aspect of this book was the way the older brother was portrayed. I found the guilt and his response to it to be what kept me reading this book. I wanted to know that he would be okay. While I found myself not really caring about the mother, I DID care about the son. His feelings, as a confused child missing his favored younger brother, and as an older child, angry with the adults in his family, were captured well and he was a character I could care about.
    I wouldn’t say don’t read this book at all, because I will read almost everything, but I wouldn’t put this one at the top of my list. Sorry Oprah!

  4. Initially I found the book interesting. But it quickly began to drag with side trips into Mom’s slutty behavior which had little relevance to the plot. Her unexplained bad treatment of her husband was a mystery, but I kept reading. Admittedly, even that didn’t dissuade me from reading. At times, the book showed glimmers of worthiness when it focused on the remaining son and his feelings.
    But what finally did it was the multitude of metaphors which kept clogging the narrative–metaphors which were occasionally brilliant but more often baffling. One particularly horrid one referred to an emotion leaving the mom? (I believe it was the mom as I don’t have a copy and am working from memory). This emotion (relief?)was compared to “water rolling off a rising submarine” ? Brother! I really had to laugh over that one! Overall, I would not have wasted my time with this book except I had borrowed it from a very nice lady who said she had really enjoyed the book and I didn’t wish to hurt her feelings by not finishing a book she had loved. As for me, I had to force myself (like a submarine trying to submerge in wading pool! ) to finish.

  5. I highly recommend reading The Deep End of the Ocean. Get everything that you need to do done, because once you start reading this book, you won’t put it down. This book shows dramatic emotions of a family after a loss of their three-year old child. Beth Cappadora is in a hotel lobby in Chicago one day with her two sons Vincent and Ben, when suddenly, a mother’s worst fear, when her three-year old son disappears into a crowd of people, seemingly with a trace. Nine years have passed, and Beth runs into a boy who would be the same age as Ben would be, and looks exactly like him. Could this be her lost son Ben? This book shows how a family can move on, even with such a sad tragedy in their lives. The Deep End of the Ocean is a wonderfully written story of ordinary people caught in a disaster. Surprising and stunning, this book is definitely one you will want to read.

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