Tuesday, July 15, 2014
No Time To Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Published September 2009 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: I purchased my audiobook copy at my local library book sale
Twenty-two years have passed since Beth Cappadora’s three-year-old son, Ben, was abducted. By some miracle he returned nine years later, and the family began to pick up the pieces of their lives. Now, in this sequel to Mitchard’s beloved bestseller The Deep End of the Ocean, the Cappadora children are grown: Ben is married and has a baby girl, Kerry is studying to be an opera singer, and ne’er-do-well older son Vincent is a fledgling filmmaker. His new documentary—focusing on five families caught in the torturous web of never knowing the fate of their abducted children—shakes his parents to the core. As Vincent’s film earns greater and greater acclaim and Beth tries to stave off a torrent of long-submerged emotions, the Cappadoras’ world is rocked as Beth’s greatest fear becomes reality. The family is soon drawn precipitously into the past, revisiting the worst moment of their lives—this time with only hours to find the truth that can save a life.
In 1996, Jacquelyn Mitchard wrote the bestselling The Deep End of the Ocean, her debut novel. It was the first book Oprah Winfrey ever picked for her book club and was adapted into the 1999 movie starring Treat Williams and Michelle Pfeiffer which is how I was introduced to the Cappadoras. The movie broke my heart; I had to read the book. It was one of the few books that has ever made me cry.
It's not surprising that Mitchard decided to revisit the Cappadora family. I'm sure readers were clamoring to know how the Cappadora's dealt with Ben's return over the years and I imagine that Mitchard found it hard to walk away from them. Ever since No Time To Wave Goodbye was released, I've been wanting to find out, myself, what it was like for Ben to adjust to living with a family that was, essentially strangers.
I'm not sure what I expected from Mitchard, where I expected her to pick the story back up at. What I did not expect was for her to revisit the same plot. I would have thought there would have been another way to explore the family dynamics, those "long-submerged emotions" by some other means than another kidnapping. Frankly, nothing in this book worked for me: the kidnapping stories in Vincent's movie didn't pack the emotional punch they should have, the story got mired down in too many characters and too much detail when the entire family went to the Academy Award ceremony, and, in the end, the book becomes an adventure story with a predictable ending.
I loved Mitchard's columns when she had a syndicated column, I loved The Deep End of the Ocean. But after being disappointed by her Cage of Stars and now this, I'm not sure I'll be picking up another of her books.