Six and a half year old Sarah Sullivan is the focal point of many an argument between Jess, her overly protective mother, and Mike, her overly demanding father. Fiercely independent, the little girl leans towards her father in these battles, which is why she's overjoyed to learn that Mike is taking her sledding despite Jess' fears. The outing turns tragic, however, as Sarah is kidnapped shortly after Mike and she arrive at the sledding area. After the first frantic weeks, it becomes apparent that Sarah won't be coming back. Remembering Sarah sports a compelling premise enhanced by the presence of an equally compelling, emotionally tortured central character, Mike Sullivan. In addition to confronting a parent's worst nightmare, Mike is forced to face his own human frailties, and to reevaluate his basic assumptions about the world he inhabits. This slow, tortuous process almost destroys him, yet, in the end, proves his redemption, giving him the strength to face the stunning truths revealed to him over the course of the novel.
Successfully combining elements of Jacquelyn Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean and Dennis Lehane's Mystic River, the novel examines the bonds and responsibilities of marriage, parenthood and friendship, and the wounds people inflict on one another, both intentionally and unintentionally. In the end, Mooney seems to suggest, it is how the offended party deals with those wounds that determines the course their lives will take. Recovery is possible, but sometimes only through a superhuman act of acceptance, and through a willingness to see things as they truly are.