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Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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The Book as a Whole: New York City

Describe Anna Quindlen's portrait of New York City. Is the Big Apple "unequivocally the center of the universe," as some New Yorkers believe? Compare Bridget and Tequila's experiences at the shelter with Meghan's worldview from the Upper East Side. How does Quindlen attempt to capture all sides of the city?

Bridget's daily experience in New York City is marked by relationships with "familiar strangers." What does she mean by this? Are there "familiar strangers" in your own life?


Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This topic refers to the book as a whole.

Stephanie
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LaurenKondrat
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎06-06-2007
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Re: The Book as a Whole: New York City

I have never been to New York and have always wanted to go. As I read this book, I find that urge growing greater and greater! The way that Quindlen describes it, it seems to me that NY is a wonderful place, no matter where you live. Some people might be wondering how a ghetto of poverty and homelessness, a New York that Bridget sees everyday can be wonderful, but it is, in a nonconventional kind of way. The way it has played a role for Bridget, allowing her to help so many people has given her a meaningful life experience.

Then we see NY the way Meghan experiences it. Black cars, expensive restaurants and a party every time you turn around. Both are busy places to live, but different. By describing these two types of New York, everything in between is covered too by the details of Bridget's narrative. We go to Coney Island, Ellis Island...everywhere.

The English teacher side of me can't wait to share some of the New York passages with my students when we talk about characters. We talk about how sometimes, characters aren't just the things in the story that can live and breathe. New York in this story is a perfect example of that. The city is it's very own character.
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Bunit
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎06-02-2007
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Re: The Book as a Whole: New York City



LaurenKondrat wrote:
I have never been to New York and have always wanted to go. As I read this book, I find that urge growing greater and greater! The way that Quindlen describes it, it seems to me that NY is a wonderful place, no matter where you live. Some people might be wondering how a ghetto of poverty and homelessness, a New York that Bridget sees everyday can be wonderful, but it is, in a nonconventional kind of way. The way it has played a role for Bridget, allowing her to help so many people has given her a meaningful life experience.

Then we see NY the way Meghan experiences it. Black cars, expensive restaurants and a party every time you turn around. Both are busy places to live, but different. By describing these two types of New York, everything in between is covered too by the details of Bridget's narrative. We go to Coney Island, Ellis Island...everywhere.

The English teacher side of me can't wait to share some of the New York passages with my students when we talk about characters. We talk about how sometimes, characters aren't just the things in the story that can live and breathe. New York in this story is a perfect example of that. The city is it's very own character.




LaurenKondrat wrote:
I have never been to New York and have always wanted to go. As I read this book, I find that urge growing greater and greater! The way that Quindlen describes it, it seems to me that NY is a wonderful place, no matter where you live. Some people might be wondering how a ghetto of poverty and homelessness, a New York that Bridget sees everyday can be wonderful, but it is, in a nonconventional kind of way. The way it has played a role for Bridget, allowing her to help so many people has given her a meaningful life experience.

Then we see NY the way Meghan experiences it. Black cars, expensive restaurants and a party every time you turn around. Both are busy places to live, but different. By describing these two types of New York, everything in between is covered too by the details of Bridget's narrative. We go to Coney Island, Ellis Island...everywhere.

The English teacher side of me can't wait to share some of the New York passages with my students when we talk about characters. We talk about how sometimes, characters aren't just the things in the story that can live and breathe. New York in this story is a perfect example of that. The city is it's very own character.


Yes, I agree with what you say about NYC. The city has its own character. I have been to NYC once in my lifetime and from what I have observed it has its own energy, its own vortex, that is the life line to its own uniqueness. There is no other city at all like New York. In her writing, Anna portrays the city through her eyes, a knowledgeable person who is very much in tune with the social structure and divereness of NYC. The city itself is the back drop for much of fiction, TV shows, etc, but I have never felt such a connection and understanding of this city until I read this book. Anna does an excellent job of getting the reader to feel the pulse, the excitement and the complexities of the city. Well done Anna!!!
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aquindlen
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎05-18-2007
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Re: The Book as a Whole: New York City

I did have a considerable advantage in using New York as the backdrop for the novel: I've been a reporter in the city for 35 years. So I know nooks and crannies, backwaters and back alleys, that very few people know, simply from years of covering stories throughout the five boroughs. It's funny, how people keep asking whether City Island actually exists. It is in fact a very real place, although I haven't been there in years.
I think of New York as less the setting for this novel and more as a character all be herself--in many ways, one of the most interesting characters!
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Book as a Whole: New York City

Having grown up in the NYC area, I spent a great deal of time in Manhattan, and I worked in all the boroughs at one time or another. A friend and I used to walk for hours just discovering shops and neighborhoods. There is actually an observable schedule to the workers- the types of people you'll find on the subways or the streets at a particular time of day, for instance. How you're dressed determines if you'll successfully hail a cab at a certain hour of the night. It's true, the city itself is a character, big, bold, flamboyant even in its poverty. You know how they say everything is bigger in Texas? Well, everything is MORE in NY. You can get lost in your own area's personality, but the entire city does throb with a certainty, a quality of self-assurance that no other place I've ever been can equal. For me, Anna brought that sense straight to the foreground. I felt as if I were home in her pages, and I haven't lived in NY in thirteen years.
Stephanie
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kakhi
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Book as a Whole: New York City

It is interesting to hear about your observations of New York City and I really liked seeing the different sides of NYC in the book. Quite a contrast. I have been to NYC a number of times but always go to the art museums and we are in pretty nice areas for other activities. I admire Bridget's work and I think it is so great to make a difference in people's lives, especially when they are in need.
I grew up in the Chicago area so I am very aware of the variety of different types of neighborhoods and areas in a city.
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