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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Early Chapters

What did you think of the early chapters of the book (Chapter 1 through Chapter 13)? These opening chapters deal primarily with the response of Kim's family and friends to her disappearance. How would you describe their initial reactions? What scenes, moments, or exchanges struck you as meaningful?
 
Are there any clues to Kim's whereabouts in the first chapter, in your opinion? How would you characterize Kim's home life and her social life?
 
Does our impression of Kim from the first chapter change as we begin to see her through the eyes of friends and family? How does their view of Kim change over the course of these early chapters?
 
Karen
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WhiteHouseQuartet
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Re: Early Chapters

I was touched by the morning spent with her sister.  It adds so much depth to their relationship and adds a measure of comfort later in the book.  Their relationship would have seemed a bit flat without that morning's interactions.
 
Stephanie
Oklahoma
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DSaff
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Re: Early Chapters



WhiteHouseQuartet wrote:
I was touched by the morning spent with her sister. It adds so much depth to their relationship and adds a measure of comfort later in the book. Their relationship would have seemed a bit flat without that morning's interactions.
Stephanie
Oklahoma





I thought the time they spent together was wonderful too, Stephanie. It showed that there was a relationship. It also felt like something was going to happen; like Kim had a sense of something a little off. I guess we will see.
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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KxBurns
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Re: Early Chapters

That's a great point, Donna. I also think that what could be seen as intuition might also be interpreted as an illustration of the way simple, everyday occurences take on greater meaning in the light of tragedy. As we read the first chapter, we already know from the title that Kim goes missing. So in that way, even though we see much of the first chapter through Kim's eyes, we're really reading it from an after-the-fact perspective. I think it's a neat little narrative trick that O'Nan pulls off.
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thekoolaidmom
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Re: Early Chapters

How would you describe their initial reactions?  I was suspicious of Nina, J.P., and Hinch's behavior.  I kept wondering what "the secret" was, and what did it have to do with Kim's disappearance.  I thought maybe they had something to do with it.
 
 
What scenes, moments, or exchanges struck you as meaningful? I was touched by the Dairy Queen scene with Kim and Lindsey.  I thought it was particularly accurate of an older sister, one minute hating her little sister other and the next minute buying her lunch and telling her she's going to miss her.  Another thing I personally loved was Cooper's response throughout it all.  You can tell he was Kim's dog first, and Lindsay's second. 
 
How would you characterize Kim's home life and her social life?  I think Kim had a good, loving home.  She was a normal teen, breaking away from her parents.  I think she could have picked better friends, but I say that as a mother of two teens, so I may be biased on that.  Her friends cared about her, but they were teens themselves, and you can't asked teens to think and act like adults.  That's part of what O'Nan says with the story, that this disappearance deeply affected the young people in Kim's life more than the adults.
 
Does our impression of Kim from the first chapter change as we begin to see her through the eyes of friends and family? How does their view of Kim change over the course of these early chapters?   I think like most people who are suddenly gone from our lives, there's always a bit of the selective memory process that remembers the good things about a person and forgets the bad.  There's a bit of hero build up that goes on, and I think some of that goes on here.  Plus there's a bit of guilt that they didn't know that makes Kim more of a martyr, too.
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Jeanie0522
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Re: Early Chapters

What I really like about Kim's character is that she is a normal girl that you could find in any small town in America.  She was a nice girl, but not perfect.  I think that makes the story seem more real.  Her family is somewhat dysfunctional too...exactly like everyone else's.
 
I also liked that she and her sister had that time together.  Kim woke up with a hangover and kind of wanted to blow off the driving lesson, but for whatever reason, she took her sister out that day.  She also got to spend the day with her friends who were important to her.  The thoughts of calling in sick to work make you think if only one thing had changed that day, she may not have gone missing. 
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GMorrison
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Registered: ‎12-20-2007
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Re: Early Chapters

I thought these first chapters were extremely well executed. The family's sense of hopelessness, even in the face of their determination to keep looking, day in and day out, from dawn to dusk, and the ways in which their individual expressions of grief are driving them apart, struck me as very realistic. I read these chapters outside on a sunny day--in a rose garden, no less--and they left me very unnerved and pensive despite the cheerful surroundings.

I appreciated the way Kim's mother and father both thought the other was not doing enough, or doing the wrong thing, and the way both sisters felt as though they didn't measure up to one another, resulting in Lindsay's withdrawal into her room.

I believe that if anything strikes a false chord, it's going to be the developing subplot about Kim's friends and their drug deals/her liaison with Wooze. The book is going to lose a lot of its realism if these do not turn out to be red herrings.
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GMorrison
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Re: Early Chapters



thekoolaidmom wrote:
How would you describe their initial reactions?  I was suspicious of Nina, J.P., and Hinch's behavior.  I kept wondering what "the secret" was, and what did it have to do with Kim's disappearance.  I thought maybe they had something to do with it.c



I really hope it doesn't, KAM, and that Kim's disappearance is making them paranoid about all the other lies they've told to cover up other indiscretions, wondering if her disappearance just might have something to do with the guy the bought marijuana from or met at the beach when they'd sneaked out one night.

This isn't speculation on the direction the narrative will take, but rather statement of a personal preference of mine that realistic books remain realistic. (For instance, one of my only--but big--gripes about The Lovely Bones was the way Sebold wrapped up a big plot point far too neatly.) IOW, I like my gritty reads to stay gritty. ;-)
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GnANorman
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Re: Early Chapters

I think with Kim's parents both working, and the lack of attention given her, that she naturally migrated to her friends.  She seemed a bit of wild which becomes obvious as the secret between Nina and JP is revealed.  The typical teenage response to being asked to take Lindsay driving was over shadowed by her love for her sister.  It was such a wonderful moment in DQ as well as while trying to reassure her in her driving.  This gave Lindsay some memorable moments to draw on later.  The early chapters read like a Lifetime movie- you knew what was going to happen, but it established the background between Kim and her friends (more so than her family).  I didn't find any clues toward Kim's whereabouts in the early chapters, but was impressed by how quickly her parents activated the search.
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crimefighter4444
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Re: Early Chapters

i think the nonchalant attitude of the police and the anguish it caused was the setting for the entire path of the story. the author set this trend brilliantly.
rich bielecki
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Redhead525
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Re: Early Chapters

I agree that the early chapters give a description of a typical family with teenagers and the tension between parents that happens in life and certainly when you have teens.  As the mother of a soon to be 18 yr old who is in that same place Kim is - having graduated and looking towards college - I see behaviors that I recognize!  The "secret" really pulled at me and I found myself getting very anxious about exactly what it was.  Other than the brief allusion by JP as to what the "secret" might be, I'm not fully satisfied yet that I know what it is.  As mentioned earlier.  If that gets resolved it will be helpful if it relates to some of the larger issues about the relationships between the kids or provides us some insight into Kim's character. 
 
I think that the description of the day was really a perfect way to lead up to Kim's disappearance.  Whether it is a child going missing, or some other tragedy that occurs, they are unpredictable events that catch us unaware in the midst of doing everyday things.  I don't believe that there was some foreknowledge on Kim's part that made her tell her sister that she would miss her.  I saw that more as just part of the "mulling over life" process that occurs when you are on the brink of a major change as Kim was.
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fordmg
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Re: Early Chapters



thekoolaidmom wrote:
How would you describe their initial reactions?  I was suspicious of Nina, J.P., and Hinch's behavior.  I kept wondering what "the secret" was, and what did it have to do with Kim's disappearance.  I thought maybe they had something to do with it.
 
 


Typical of teens to think they need to hold back and keep secrets.  I felt like screaming at them to let it all out.  Time was important, and no matter what - give all the info.  I also wondered at that point if maybe Kim was a run away and they were protecting her.
MG
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Everyman
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Re: Early Chapters

I agree with both DSaff and Stephanie about enjoying seeing Kim and Lindsey together, particularly considering (pg. 7) Lindsey being surprised at Kim complimenting her driving: "Kim hadn't been very nice to her lately."

I'm just glad that my own daughters as they grew up didn't get into the beer-and-guy filled lifestyle that we see Kim leading. It's hard to be surprised when this leads to something not good.

DSaff wrote:
I thought the time they spent together was wonderful too, Stephanie. It showed that there was a relationship. It also felt like something was going to happen; like Kim had a sense of something a little off. I guess we will see.


_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Everyman
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Re: Early Chapters

At the same time, the police reaction was perfectly understandable. Most times when a teen aged girl from (as someone noted above) a mildly dysfunctional family giving inadequate attention to the daughter goes missing, it's because she has chosen to go off somewhere with a guy or to a big city or for some other reason of her own volition. it's perfectly reasonable for the police not to assume the worst right away.

And also, given the record of dysfunctional families, it's also entirely appropriate for them to wonder whether one or both of the parents had something to do with it.

I find the description of the official response to be very believable.

crimefighter4444 wrote:
i think the nonchalant attitude of the police and the anguish it caused was the setting for the entire path of the story. the author set this trend brilliantly.


_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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kmensing
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters

I like O'nan's writing style, the way he introduces us to each characters point of view, their fears during this situation.
 
How would we handle this? The Crime Stoppers chapter gave me chills.  All this insanity coming from the public, only slowing the true search down.
 
The whole town seems to be just "everyday" people.  You get a feel that this family certainly isn't perfect, but who is? 
 
I'm certainly curious as to what the big secret is that Kim's friends are hiding.  And find it endearing that Lindsay is determined to be the one to save her sister.  The parents are quick to point out each others flaws, and feel for the mom when she needs to burst out in laughter to keep her sanity when she's getting ready to make a public service announcement, but holds it in thinking that her husband will think less of her.
 
At this point, I haven't a clue as to what happened to Kim, but I think we're in for a good read!
 
kmensing
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kmensing
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Re: Early Chapters



GMorrison wrote:

IOW, I like my gritty reads to stay gritty. ;-)

YES!  So true!
 
kmensing
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trolycar
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Registered: ‎01-31-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I feel that Stewart O'nan teases us here and there
the portrait of Kim that he paints for our imaginations is that of a typical teen who has succumb to peer pressure and loyalty to friends and is now ready to severe the ties to make her own way --and we are taunted by "hearing" her thoughts as well as seeing her life which is often contrary of each other

as for Lindsay we are meeting her and hearing her thoughts but it seems we see things as if they are pictures in a photograph when it comes to her portrayal of the events happening around her

as far as Nina and J.P. etc. they are the kids that many aspire to be like and they themselves aspire to be like one another --- reckless, carefree (not worry free), and living for the thrill of the moment --- the secret is the key --do they grow up and become responsible adults or do they continue on and become the "others" in society --you know the kind many seem to automatically stereotype

Kim's (and Lindsay's) parents are just people no super heroes with super parent powers -- Life does happen to them --so far they seem to be taking it with there everyday normal faith in their God and taking things one step at a time!!
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pheath
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Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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Re: Early Chapters

I thought that the early chapters of the book were very well paced. It was very hard to put the book down during these chapters because I always found myself wanting to know what the next clue and/or twist would be.

I also found it interesting that Kim's age complicated the investigation. While I know that there have to be hard and fast rules for when someone is considered an adult vs. a child, I agreed with Ed and Fran that this should have been treated more like a missing child. It's a dilemma for which there won't be a perfect answer for all occasions.
-Philip
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psujulie
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters

I am really enjoying this book so far. I have to say that I am extremely impressed with Mr. O'Nan's writing! I think he's done a wonderful job of setting up the story and establishing the characters. I feel so much compassion for Kim's family, and I could almost feel their sense of not doing enough. While I find the story interesting and want to find out what happened to Kim, I think the real beauty of this novel is in the development of the characters.
http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/
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24girl
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Re: Early Chapters

I was also thrown off by the whole Nina/JP & Hinch issue. At firtst I thought I missed something but then it plays out later in the book.
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