Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No Time To Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard

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

Publisher's Summary:
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.

My Thoughts:
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.


  1. I read Deep End and found it to be incredibly sad and depressing. I don't think I'd read a sequel to it and never even knew she had written one.

  2. I was the same way with The Fire, the sequel to Katherine Neville's The Eight. I think its not normally a good idea to write a sequel to a book, unless that was the intention all along. The second books never feels organic, or even neccesary, when its simply an attempt to capitalize one the success of the first book.

  3. I admit when I first heard the author had written a sequel, I groaned inwardly. In my experience, it's rare that a sequel to follow-up with characters is good unless it's a planned sequel or series. I'm disappointed this one wasn't better. I've been curious about it though, given how much I liked The Deep End of the Ocean.

  4. I read this a while back and while I enjoyed it somewhat, I felt similar feelings to yours. It did feel like the same old plot, nothing new to see here. I've liked some of her other novels so I am not going to write her off as an author, but I was disappointed with this for sure.