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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF



IBIS wrote:
Librarian, I think you're giving Jeff more credit than he deserves. I don't think he PLANNED to leave Sydney at the altar.... he's not the contemplative, plotting type. It's typical self-centered behavior for him to live in the moment, without any consideration of another's feelings. He didn't even analyze the reasons for his own competitiveness with Ben; it was a reaction, a response of his own egotistism to have the upperhand with his brother. The only redeeming thing is that he did not marry her. He just couldn't go through with his charade. Can you imagine, if in his cowardice, he went through with the wedding. That would have been the total undoing of Sydney. And frankly, for a bright, observant woman, Sydney fell much too easily for him. Here she is, almost 30 years old, a divorcee and a widow. She's not a young, naive young girl. It was one plot thread that I found very difficult to suspend disbelief. IBIS

IBIS-----I see your point about Jeff.
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kiakar
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF



IBIS wrote:
Librarian, I think you're giving Jeff more credit than he deserves. I don't think he PLANNED to leave Sydney at the altar.... he's not the contemplative, plotting type. It's typical self-centered behavior for him to live in the moment, without any consideration of another's feelings. He didn't even analyze the reasons for his own competitiveness with Ben; it was a reaction, a response of his own egotistism to have the upperhand with his brother. The only redeeming thing is that he did not marry her. He just couldn't go through with his charade. Can you imagine, if in his cowardice, he went through with the wedding. That would have been the total undoing of Sydney. And frankly, for a bright, observant woman, Sydney fell much too easily for him. Here she is, almost 30 years old, a divorcee and a widow. She's not a young, naive young girl. It was one plot thread that I found very difficult to suspend disbelief. IBIS

Yes, IBIS. I was shocked at how naive Sydney was with having two marriages before this. Didn't she want to really get to know this guy first? It just seems to rushed.
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi,
 
My name is Dee and I'm an avid reader residing in Westchester County, NY.  I've read all of Anita Shreve's books, Fortune's Rock being my favorite.
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Stephanie
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF

I didn't see it coming for a minute.  I followed along with "Ben is a flirt, Jeff is the serious one," way we were led to think early on.  Sydney went for the one she thought was most like their dad.  He seemed steady and kind, while Ben seemed like a ladies man. 
 
I don't know how many of you have been in that sort of situation where a man just bowls you over with his "knowing" that he's madly in love with you, can't live without you, you're the one, etc.  It's probably fairy common.  I'd love to hear about how you responded/reacted to that.  Then I'll tell you how I responded! :smileysurprised:
Stephanie
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Stephanie
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Re: Introduce Yourself

 
 
My name is Dee and I'm an avid reader residing in Westchester County, NY.  I've read all of Anita Shreve's books, Fortune's Rock being my favorite.

Hi Dee, great to have you join us here.  I'm Stephanie, and I'm moderating the book group.  Many members of my family went to college in Westchester County - do you remember The Kings College?  And one sister attended Pace for nursing.  Lovely area, I loved to travel up there to visit. 
 
 
Stephanie
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IBIS
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF



Stephanie wrote:
I didn't see it coming for a minute.  I followed along with "Ben is a flirt, Jeff is the serious one," way we were led to think early on.  Sydney went for the one she thought was most like their dad.  He seemed steady and kind, while Ben seemed like a ladies man. 
 
I don't know how many of you have been in that sort of situation where a man just bowls you over with his "knowing" that he's madly in love with you, can't live without you, you're the one, etc.  It's probably fairy common.  I'd love to hear about how you responded/reacted to that.  Then I'll tell you how I responded! :smileysurprised:


It is flattering when a handsome man like Jeff is absolutely determined to win you over... is totally convincing that it's fate, karma, destiny, whatever... even dumps a statuesque beauty like Victoria.
 
I'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by such ardor! Especially if, like Sydney, I'm suffering through the emotional rinse cycle of widowhood; have fallen in love with the idea of "family"... Julie, the sweet younger sister.... Mark Edwards, the ideal noble father figure.... what a delightful package.
 
Anyone else other than Sydney should have fallen for it.
 
From the beginning we meet Sydney who is a razor-sharp, super-observant, with amazing critical skills...... unencumbered by the trappings that otherwise weigh down other women...
 
even Ben, after meeting her for the first time and observing her body surfing,  observes that she is "special" not like any other women he'd ever known
 
Because we are given deep insights into Sydney's character,  her unquestioning fall for Jeff was truly unbelievable for me.
 
A basic Romance 101 standard red flag is when he dumped Victoria unceremoniously.  An immediate response for Sydney should have been:  If Jeff is capable of dumping someone so heartlessly, chances are, before long, he will do the same to me too.
 
IBIS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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kiakar
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF



IBIS wrote

It is flattering when a handsome man like Jeff is absolutely determined to win you over... is totally convincing that it's fate, karma, destiny, whatever... even dumps a statuesque beauty like Victoria.
 
I'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by such ardor! Especially if, like Sydney, I'm suffering through the emotional rinse cycle of widowhood; have fallen in love with the idea of "family"... Julie, the sweet younger sister.... Mark Edwards, the ideal noble father figure.... what a delightful package.
 
Anyone else other than Sydney should have fallen for it.
 
From the beginning we meet Sydney who is a razor-sharp, super-observant, with amazing critical skills...... unencumbered by the trappings that otherwise weigh down other women...
 
even Ben, after meeting her for the first time and observing her body surfing,  observes that she is "special" not like any other women he'd ever known
 
Because we are given deep insights into Sydney's character,  her unquestioning fall for Jeff was truly unbelievable for me.
 
A basic Romance 101 standard red flag is when he dumped Victoria unceremoniously.  An immediate response for Sydney should have been:  If Jeff is capable of dumping someone so heartlessly, chances are, before long, he will do the same to me too.
 
IBIS
 
I agree IBIS, its true , it seems Sydney could have felt more sympathy toward Victoria than she did.  To me, it seems she was very careless of Victoria's feelings. All she thought of was that Jeff loved her. I guess in "love" you become selfish and unthinking of others.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



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Stephanie
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF

I didn't really relate to this until we started discussing it, and then I realized, I was in the same situation.  I was very  savvy- I should not have fallen for it either - even though it was sincere enough at the time - it was way too much, too fast, too overwhelming, but I went along... unbelievable to think it now.  I'd hedge that when in the thick of it, not many of us would be able to hold it at arm's length and really peer at it.
Stephanie
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF



Stephanie wrote:
I didn't really relate to this until we started discussing it, and then I realized, I was in the same situation.  I was very  savvy- I should not have fallen for it either - even though it was sincere enough at the time - it was way too much, too fast, too overwhelming, but I went along... unbelievable to think it now.  I'd hedge that when in the thick of it, not many of us would be able to hold it at arm's length and really peer at it.


It goes to show, a relationship of any sort  is seriously complicated to at least one person if not both that are involved in this.
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi Stephanie,
 
Thanks for the welcome. It's nice to be a part of a discussion group. I don't remember the Kings College but my sister attended Pace as well and was a Lit/ Com major.
 
 
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Stephanie
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF

Linda,
 
Complicated is right- possibly even an understatement!  I'm just floored thinking about it - it just goes to show you that as savvy as we are, we can all get caught up in romance.  (Not at this age probably!)
 
 
Stephanie
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Stephanie
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Dee,
 
I think Kings is in the city now- I'm not sure what they did with the buildings, but it was a private college.
 
Are you still reading Body Surfing?  What do you think so far?
Stephanie
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evansm4
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi - this is Mary from Lakewood, Ohio. I have read everything Anita Shreve has published - she is definitely one of my favorite authors. My favorite of hers was 'When Last They Met' - even though I was so mad at her (Shreve) for the ending! Brilliant.
 
Just finished  'Body surfing', and I must say that I found it an intriguing story but not up to her typical writing style. Very little use of literary tools; felt more like a Nicholas Sparks novel: great story but little depth. I may have been swayed by the fact that I have been reading a lot of Joyce carol Oates who is quite complex. Regardless, Shreve remains one of my favorites.
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Stephanie
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hi Mary,
 
Great to have you join us!  I think we're on the same page with this novel - I wanted more.  But then, that's always the way I feel when I've a good story in my hands.  :smileyhappy:
 
 
Stephanie
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kiakar
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Re: Introduce Yourself Anita tells a great story

Even though, Anita's novels are not loaded with great comebacks and surprises, she can still tell a great story. My favorite is the Pilot's Wife. They might be simple, everyday stories but she writes them quite perfect.
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evansm4
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Re: Introduce Yourself Anita tells a great story

Actually, I think her novels are generally full of surprises! My point was more around the use (or lack thereof) of literary techniques in this particular novel. I'm used to much more metaphor, irony, foreshadowing from her.  Again, having said that, I still couldn't put the book down!
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Re: Introduce Yourself

Hello - my name is Amy Jean...
 
I read Body Surfing when it was first released, it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection of the month, my first Anita Shreve read. I have a mixed opinion about it. I thought it was beautifully written, but the characters and situations seemed disconnected, the novel's flow, choppy - make sense? I will read more of here work in the future I suppose, any suggestions?
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Re: Introduce Yourself--SPOILER ALERT--TAKE ON BEN AND JEFF

Been a while since I've read the book, but it's all coming back to me now... Jeff was quite a despicable, unlikeable character and I had a feeling about him from the beginning. I much preferred Ben!
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IBIS
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Anita Shreve tells a great story, but not a complex writer

[ Edited ]


evansm4 wrote:
Actually, I think her novels are generally full of surprises! My point was more around the use (or lack thereof) of literary techniques in this particular novel. I'm used to much more metaphor, irony, foreshadowing from her.  Again, having said that, I still couldn't put the book down!


I agree with you that BODY SURFING is a fine story; Anita Shreve gave us a convincing look into Sydney's character; I found her personality very likeable. So likeable that I fell into that big hole that readers find themselves in when they believe everything that the narrator tells them.
 
I don't agree with the observation that BODY SURFING is not as literary as Shreve's others ...  For me, recognizing various literary techniques adds another level of enjoyment to the reading experience.
 
For example, one of my favorites is THE WEIGHT OF WATER. It has a dual timeline happening for the reader simultaneously, so the stories had parallel plots (both women in the past and the present were stuck in miserable marriages)...there was foreshadowing (characters die in both past and present storylines)....
 
And wonderful metaphors, like the title itself... THE WEIGHT OF WATER.... water is a very heavy natural element, and it can be paradoxically  life-giving as well as deadly. The story takes place on a boat near an isolated island... The sea isolates the island geographically, but it also isolates the inhabitants socially and emotionally.  On the boat, again, the main characters are confined on the boat, and ironically, have to swim to the island for some privacy.
 
BODY SURFING itself is a metaphor that alludes to Sydney's favorite pastime, but also reflects her personality; it also describes clearly the particular emotional bottom that her life has reached at this moment.
 
There is a lot of irony in the book... the villain masquerading as the "good" brother ... Sydney's biting comments about Mrs. Edward's lifestyle and pretensions.... the famously artistic architect father who does not recognize the inherited artistic gifts of his daughter.
 
There is foreshadowing, when Jeff inexplicably dumps Victoria, only to do the same with Sydney.
 
BODY SURFING does make use of many literary techniques... but it's not as literary as her other works.

IBIS


Message Edited by IBIS on 02-29-2008 09:31 AM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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Stephanie
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Re: Anita Shreve tells a great story, but not a complex writer

The main thoughts I came away from Body Surfing with (about style, anyway) were a sense of realism, perspective and life lessons.  I think we can relate to the narration because it could be any of us.
 
 
Stephanie
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