Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter


The Deep End of the Ocean: The Very First Oprah Pick

posted by Donna Freitas

I was in the bookstore the other day, hoping to find a page-turner, something that would compel me from start to finish like Emma Donoghue’s magnificent “Room” did this fall. For some reason it popped into my head that I’d never read “The Deep End of the Ocean” by Jacquelyn Mitchard, the very first Oprah’s book club pick many, many years ago. I found it, bought it, and four days later, finished it this morning.

I can’t say I loved it–it was too disturbing, too tragic, too terribly sad to love. But wow, what a read. It’s rare that novels take you into their clutches and refuse to let you go until all is known, until the last word has been said, and this is one of those books. The experience of reading Mitchard’s tale of the kidnapping of a toddler from his mother’s high school reunion reminded me of that time I sat, for seemingly endless hours on an airplane, glued to “The Lovely Bones” many years ago. Everyone on the plane was asleep but me, and I was in one of those awful middle seats at the center of the plane, my lonely light beaming down from above, as the voice of Susie Salmon transfixed me and hung on for dear life. This kind of read is at once terrible and wonderful. It sickens even as it beguiles.

“The Deep End of the Ocean” is like this, the way it provides a window into a family’s idyllic life, shattered in a mere few seconds, and subsequent descent into ruin from a moment of bad luck that will haunt every member for the rest of their days–to be a voyeur into someone else’s tragedy is awful, if only because you feel you should be able to turn your gaze from the train wreck. It is unbecoming to be sucked in to such horror. But the hope of justice, the faint scent of salvation on the horizon holds you there, makes you stay.

If you are looking for a book that will make you forget the world around you, consider this one. Maybe you read it 15 years ago when it debuted, or maybe like me you’d skipped over it for some reason. It’s worth a first read and a reread. Oprah sure can pick ‘em.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment bird

    The story of how Jacquelyn Mitchard came to write this book is inspirational in itself. She was a young widow with four children and very little money. She has said that she felt the guidance of her late husband in writing this book. Everyone told her she was crazy to keep writing rather than find some practical way to pay the bills. Then Oprah chose it–and she was more than able to support her family. I know Jackie, and she’s a sweetheart.

Previous Posts

‘Hoovey’ is a Story of Triumph
EchoLight Cinema releases its first world-premier film, “Hoovey” based on the true story of Eric “Hoovey” Elliot from Illinois, a promising high school basketball player, who develops a near-fatal brain tumor.  The family struggles to keep it all together through faith, and the power of the

posted 10:54:51am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Producers of the ‘The Imitation Game’ Discuss Their Labor of Love
“The Imitation Game” is growing to become the highest grossing independent film overseas and domestically. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, the film has garnered critical claim starring Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays British computer scientist, Alan Turing. The mathematician was instrumental

posted 2:49:27pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Powerful Biblical Story Comes to Life in Confessions of a Prodigal Son
[youtube]http://youtu.be/GXpevoqpY2w[/youtube] The choices we make are the stories we tell. Can broken stories have happy endings? Confessions of a Prodigal Son, a new inspirational drama starring Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead, Storm Rider, Hercules) and Nathan Clarkson (The Veil, Mayflower 2), is a

posted 9:09:03am Jan. 14, 2015 | read full post »

New Adventure Will Center on Faith
The first Christ-centered romantic adventure film “Beyond the Mask,” will be coming to theaters on April 6th 2015 from Burns Family Studio, and director Chad Burns starting in the year of 1775. The film is about Will Reynolds, a mercenary for the British East India Company on the run. While on t

posted 12:22:51pm Jan. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Jamie Foxx Surprises Movie Audience With a Special Message for His Annie Costar
[youtube]http://youtu.be/dsfFM4OTGS0[/youtube] Jamie Foxx recently stopped by a showing of Annie with his adorable daughter Annalise, to deliver a very important message in honor of his young costar, Quvenzhané Wallis. "Quvenzhané, it's Jamie,” Foxx said with Annalise in his arms. “We want

posted 10:49:57am Jan. 06, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.