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vivico1
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ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS

I would like to know what you guys think about Mr Delmar and Alice's relationship so far. This goes JUST to the idea of them talking on the phone at night and also that he did this with Pollie. Please no spoilers about where the relationship actually goes or end of book stuff, just the idea of what is happening here. How did this make you feel? Does it make you uneasy? Why is he having these talks with a young girl like this? Do you feel something worrisome coming on? Does it even make you wonder if he had something to do with Pollie's death?

I wondered all these things. I thought, what are you doing man, to be talking to young girls on the phone late at night and what was your relationship with Pollie, why were you crying in your car about her? In today's society, does this hit any of you in the gut with worry like it does me? Do you think Alice hides these conversations in the closet just to keep them private and to know its something that is just hers, or do you think she knows this is wrong of him as an adult too? Surely there are parents out there that this aspect of the book from the first time you read it just gets to you. I am interested in your thoughts on such a thing, and on this one. I really wondered about if he has anything to do with Pollie's death too. Any of you?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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jenlaw77
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS

Hi vivico1,
Yes, this made me feel very uneasy. It's one thing to be there if a student wants to talk to you, but this went way too far past the "safe zone". It made me wonder about his relationship with Pollie and how far it went.

I am finished with the book, so I'll leave it at that.

Jenn
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LeftBrainer
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Registered: ‎10-27-2006
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS

The relationship disturbs me. I wondered how soon he would ask her to meet. I had not thought of him having a hand in Polly's death, but wondered why a man would having this relationship with a young girl.
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cindersue
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS


vivico1 wrote:
I would like to know what you guys think about Mr Delmar and Alice's relationship so far. This goes JUST to the idea of them talking on the phone at night and also that he did this with Pollie.



I think the relationship is spooky. Especially since he use to talk to Polly. Made me feel very uneasy. He has stepped over the boundaries of teacher student relationship. I know they are in a small town, but that shouldn't matter.
I think her sisters closet is a safety zone for her, a get-a-way fantasy of what life should be for her. Her father doesn't provide the attention a mother could give and she seeks attention else where.

I have 3 daughters of my own and would be terribly upset to find out they had this kind of relationship with a teacher, even if it is a phone relationship.
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aryn
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS

Hi Everyone,

I'm always interested in learning people's impressions of the Delmar/Alice relationship. Everyone usually has pretty strong opinions about it. Personally, I'm going to hold off on discussing it until more people have had a chance to finish the book, just because it's difficult for me to do so without looking at the overall arch of the relationship. Thanks, though, for starting this thread. It's interesting to see what people think as the novel progresses.
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kiakar
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS



vivico1 wrote:
I would like to know what you guys think about Mr Delmar and Alice's relationship so far. This goes JUST to the idea of them talking on the phone at night and also that he did this with Pollie. Please no spoilers about where the relationship actually goes or end of book stuff, just the idea of what is happening here. How did this make you feel? Does it make you uneasy? Why is he having these talks with a young girl like this? Do you feel something worrisome coming on? Does it even make you wonder if he had something to do with Pollie's death?

I wondered all these things. I thought, what are you doing man, to be talking to young girls on the phone late at night and what was your relationship with Pollie, why were you crying in your car about her? In today's society, does this hit any of you in the gut with worry like it does me? Do you think Alice hides these conversations in the closet just to keep them private and to know its something that is just hers, or do you think she knows this is wrong of him as an adult too? Surely there are parents out there that this aspect of the book from the first time you read it just gets to you. I am interested in your thoughts on such a thing, and on this one. I really wondered about if he has anything to do with Pollie's death too. Any of you?




Yes, I wondered also, when Mr. Delmar would want to see Alice after they started talking. And what had happened with him and Pollie. It puts alot of suspense here in this part of the story. I kept reading anxious to know what was going to happen. I have read all of the book also. I couldn't stop after I started.
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aryn
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Registered: ‎05-25-2007
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS

*I’ve been getting some questions about Delmar, and this seems the best thread in which to try and answer them. So, spoiler alert. If you haven’t finished the book, you should skip this post.*


My thoughts on Delmar, the short version:

Was he good? Not really. Was he bad? I don’t think so.

The long version:

Of course, I understand why Alice’s relationship with Delmar raises hackles. It shouldn’t be happening. She shouldn’t be calling him. He shouldn’t be answering. But she does. And he does too.

While I was writing, I never thought of Delmar as a predator. I knew that readers might suspect the worst of him, but I always knew that the relationship would not be dangerous in that particular way. Instead, I thought of him as a person in a downward spiral. Every part of his life is falling apart. Talking to Alice on the phone is only one of the many bad choices he’s making.

But Alice doesn’t see it that way, at least not for most of the novel. Instead, she thinks he’s God. She talks to him in a way that she doesn’t talk to anyone else, asks him questions that she would never ask anyone else, tells him the truth (or a closer version of the truth) than she would ever tell anyone else. In a way, I saw those closet phone calls as a kind of prayer for Alice, her devotion to Delmar a kind of religion.

In some way or another, we’ve probably all lived through the experience of discovering that someone we love or respect is not the person we thought. For Alice, the worst is not that Delmar left, not that she loved him or that she believed he might love her, but that she had so elevated the pedestal she’d put him on. When Alice’s father tells her the truth about Delmar, it destroys her world. Literally. Her reaction sets into motion a catastrophe. (To be fair, I think that any of the characters present in that scene would believe that it was his/her actions which set the catastrophe into motion, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll save my thoughts for a different thread.)

To throw Delmar just the tiniest bone: I always thought that he felt a great deal of remorse over Polly Cain, that he saw Alice as a second chance. Of course, he’s a screwed up guy and so he goes about it in a screwed up way, but he connects with Alice in a way that no one else has. He listens to her. He talks to her like she’s a real person. Whether his reasons are right or wrong, he gives her something she needs, something she isn’t getting from anyone else.

For me, Delmar’s worst sin is that he is careless with Alice. Whatever his issues are, they prevent him from being able to put the welfare of a child before his own needs. And in that way, he’s like most of the adults in Alice’s life.
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vivico1
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS

Aryn wrote:
But Alice doesn’t see it that way, at least not for most of the novel. Instead, she thinks he’s God. She talks to him in a way that she doesn’t talk to anyone else, asks him questions that she would never ask anyone else, tells him the truth (or a closer version of the truth) than she would ever tell anyone else. In a way, I saw those closet phone calls as a kind of prayer for Alice, her devotion to Delmar a kind of religion.

........To throw Delmar just the tiniest bone: I always thought that he felt a great deal of remorse over Polly Cain, that he saw Alice as a second chance. Of course, he’s a screwed up guy and so he goes about it in a screwed up way, but he connects with Alice in a way that no one else has. He listens to her. He talks to her like she’s a real person. Whether his reasons are right or wrong, he gives her something she needs, something she isn’t getting from anyone else.

For me, Delmar’s worst sin is that he is careless with Alice. Whatever his issues are, they prevent him from being able to put the welfare of a child before his own needs. And in that way, he’s like most of the adults in Alice’s life.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You know, I thought about this a bit when I was driving to town today and looking back on the book, I can see kind of a godlike atmosphere to Alice's notions. Mostly in the sense of the way she talks to him and trusts him like she doesn't talk to anyone else in her life. And the closet is almost like the quiet confessional box then, where she can go, talk to someone of reverent authority or like a god veiled in a secret place where she can say anything and receive answers from one she doesn't even see. But actually,thats looking back on the book and I see the symbolism in it but its a bit of a stretch to me still.

What I really felt reading it, instead of looking back at it that way, was a young girl who had a terrible crush on a man because he did see her as a real person and talk to her like no one else would. But not as a godlike figure, but as a man that she wanted to love as a man (not talking sexual here really) and who she really wanted to see her as an equal, a woman, not a child. She tries hard to talk to him that way, lets a few near flirts slip out and gets annoyed too, if she thinks he is thinking she is juvenile. I just saw the closet as her secret place where she could have this secret relationship with a man she had a crush on and someone who at those quiet times alone, could be all hers, something, someone of her own. She really doesn't have that in her life and I think she wants to keep this all her own. Plus she knows they could both be in trouble for it.I would think if she saw him more as a godlike figure to go to and talk to that way, then that would be the one place and one person she could actually be just a kid with and know its ok, cause she doesnt have that at all right now. She could talk to him more with the trust that nothing she said would be wrong or "too young". Man, don't we all love that aspect of talking to God. We do get to be his children no matter our age and we certainly dont get upset if we think he thinks we are too young! lol.

On her part here, no I just took it as a budding teen, who found a secret crush of her own that was special to her and part of it being special was that no one knew, and that he would talk to her anytime about anything almost. That's why it also seemed so terribly dangerous. You are right, his worst sin is being careless with Alice. He was messed up unfortunately.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: ALICE AND MR DELMAR'S RELATIONSHIP, EARLY CHAPTERS ONLY PLEASE.NO END OF BOOK SPOILERS



aryn wrote:
*I’ve been getting some questions about Delmar, and this seems the best thread in which to try and answer them. So, spoiler alert. If you haven’t finished the book, you should skip this post.*


My thoughts on Delmar, the short version:

Was he good? Not really. Was he bad? I don’t think so.

The long version:

Of course, I understand why Alice’s relationship with Delmar raises hackles. It shouldn’t be happening. She shouldn’t be calling him. He shouldn’t be answering. But she does. And he does too.

While I was writing, I never thought of Delmar as a predator. I knew that readers might suspect the worst of him, but I always knew that the relationship would not be dangerous in that particular way. Instead, I thought of him as a person in a downward spiral. Every part of his life is falling apart. Talking to Alice on the phone is only one of the many bad choices he’s making.

But Alice doesn’t see it that way, at least not for most of the novel. Instead, she thinks he’s God. She talks to him in a way that she doesn’t talk to anyone else, asks him questions that she would never ask anyone else, tells him the truth (or a closer version of the truth) than she would ever tell anyone else. In a way, I saw those closet phone calls as a kind of prayer for Alice, her devotion to Delmar a kind of religion.

In some way or another, we’ve probably all lived through the experience of discovering that someone we love or respect is not the person we thought. For Alice, the worst is not that Delmar left, not that she loved him or that she believed he might love her, but that she had so elevated the pedestal she’d put him on. When Alice’s father tells her the truth about Delmar, it destroys her world. Literally. Her reaction sets into motion a catastrophe. (To be fair, I think that any of the characters present in that scene would believe that it was his/her actions which set the catastrophe into motion, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll save my thoughts for a different thread.)

To throw Delmar just the tiniest bone: I always thought that he felt a great deal of remorse over Polly Cain, that he saw Alice as a second chance. Of course, he’s a screwed up guy and so he goes about it in a screwed up way, but he connects with Alice in a way that no one else has. He listens to her. He talks to her like she’s a real person. Whether his reasons are right or wrong, he gives her something she needs, something she isn’t getting from anyone else.

For me, Delmar’s worst sin is that he is careless with Alice. Whatever his issues are, they prevent him from being able to put the welfare of a child before his own needs. And in that way, he’s like most of the adults in Alice’s life.




I too, think that she falls right in with this Delmar and feels at hom with him because he is so much like her family. No responsiblity as an adult for the welfare of a child. It seems to be all about them. Aliuce is so mentally neglected by all of her contacts but it definitely runs deep in all the characters.
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