But I’m writing about her today not because of anything having to do with me, but because Jacquelyn recently released a wonderful novel. She might be most famous for having penned the first Oprah book club selection, and indeed that’s the book I refer to in my earlier post. There have been many gripping reads after that–STILL SUMMER, for example.
But Jacquelyn’s newest novel may be her greatest feat yet because with it she revisits the people and topic of her first work, but manages to top its suspense, energy, and chilling content. If you’ve written a novel yourself you can probably relate to what a challenge this would be. All the drive it takes to write one novel and present it to the world as a whole and finished piece…
And then go back and mine for more material, and have it not be dry or reworked in the slightest, but even more gripping…I couldn’t get my head around that task. But I sure enjoyed watching how Jackie did it.
For those few readers on earth who don’t already know, THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN concerns a child abduction with a happy ending. Or is it? When I read Jacquelyn Mitchard’s first novel, I felt it ended as well as it could have. But her latest, NO TIME TO WAVE GOODBYE, will make you question that.
In NO TIME there is another kidnapping. And although the coincidence of this is acknowledged a few times in the book, it actually didn’t feel coincidental at all to me. It felt inevitable, and sorrowful, and deeply, deeply fated. Never once did I question the plot; I was merely swept along.
The final chapter is almost a story unto itself, although utterly necessary to the novel it completes. I thought it was a mini masterpiece. All is subtext and yet it’s so clear it sings. It did something very rare for me as a reader–made me cry.
I think you might, too. Please comment after you’ve read and let me know what you think about the whole happy ending thing.
I am beginning to think that a really good writer will make us realize that there is no such thing. I don’t mean that there are no happy endings. I mean that there are no endings at all.