Do Not Become Alarmed
The moving and suspenseful new novel that Ann Patchett calls "smart and thrilling and impossible to put down... the book that every reader longs for."
“This summer’s undoubtable smash hit… an addictive, heart-palpitating story.” —Marie Claire
The sun is shining, the sea is blue, the children have disappeared.
When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The adults are lulled by the ship’s comfort and ease. The four children—ages six to eleven—love the nonstop buffet and their newfound independence. But when they all go ashore for an adventure in Central America, a series of minor misfortunes and miscalculations leads the families farther from the safety of the ship. One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.
The disintegration of the world the families knew—told from the perspectives of both the adults and the children—is both riveting and revealing. The parents, accustomed to security and control, turn on each other and blame themselves, while the seemingly helpless children discover resources they never knew they possessed.
Do Not Become Alarmed is a story about the protective force of innocence and the limits of parental power, and an insightful look at privileged illusions of safety. Celebrated for her spare and moving fiction, Maile Meloy has written a gripping novel about how quickly what we count on can fall away, and the way a crisis shifts our perceptions of what matters most.
A tropical vacation goes awry in Meloy's (Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It) ominous, addictive novel. When hardworking, ultraprivileged cousins Liv and Nora decide to whisk their families away on a whirlwind two-week luxury cruise down the coast of Mexico and Central America after Nora's mother dies, it seems like a win-win situation. Soothing sunshine; a friendly, attractive Argentinian couple with children around the same age as Nora's and Liv's; endless readymade shrimp cocktail. But when the groups separate for off-the-ship outings the men for an impromptu golf excursion and the women and six kids for a zip line tour led by a local guide and the children suddenly disappear, a stress-free trip away turns into an unexpected nightmare. The parents turn into helpless basket cases, while the kids as they stumble onto a freshly dug grave, get kidnapped by a pair of drug-dealing brothers, hold on for dear life during a high-speed car chase, and get separated while on a freight train headed toward Nicaragua grow ever more fearful when faced with life-threatening danger. In crafting this high-stakes page-turner, Meloy excels as a master of suspense. Though some of the circumstances seem piled on for the sake of melodrama and the adults' shoddy attempts to cope veer into soap opera territory, the story is nonetheless engrossing for all its nerve-racking twists and turns.
Great story, abrupt ending
Lots of twists & surprises. The ending was a little abrupt. I didn’t see it just cutting off there in the middle of dinner ?
Read it in a weekend
Very good read! Kept me on edge and also it was thought provoking.
Good story, good writing, and good insight into the human condition and relationships.
I thought this would be a bit of a fluff novel. But it was not.