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bkwormwoman
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

 
I agree with Claudia, if you grew up in a small town this is EXACTLY what you were doing.  Not unusual at all. 
 
I thought the author was spot on with the kids' relationships.  I come from a family of two girls, I'm the oldest.  And I remember that last summer at home before college.  I love my little sister very much but I hardly saw her around that time.  She was not very much a part of what, at the time, seemed to me to be very important stuff.  Mainly seeing friends and going out.  I'm amazed that my mother allowed me so much leeway.  As I was reading I found myself thinking back and realizing how lucky my friends and I were that nothing bad ever happened to us.  And how sorry I was that I didn't include my little sister more.   We're very close now, of course, but it's amazing when an author can reach into your head and make you regret stuff that happened twenty years ago.
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sile
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎04-10-2008
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Re: Early Chapters



I can't see that this family was dysfunctional. Maybe things have changed in families over the many years I raised my daughters but I do not think I would call this family dysfunctional at all. They loved together, played together. Times do change and the changes in this story was typical of working mom and working dad and children driving and so forth that can easily go wrong in a child's life but Dysfunctional NO,I will have to disagree.


I agree with you.  I don't see them as dysfunctional, although I am not sure Mom is as intune with the girls as she thinks she is.
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sile
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎04-10-2008
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Re: Early Chapters



Kegsoccer wrote:
I may be in the minority, but in the very first few pages I was too overwhelmed by details.  Once I got past those, and to the 'practicing driving' scene I was much more comfortable.  I thought that scene was particularly well done, giving us a glimpse of the sisterly affection.
 
I thought all the family/friends reactions were believable, but I was most interested in J.P.'s reaction and actions.  I thought the tension between him and the father worked really well, and his dedication to finding Kim was clearly shown.


I totally agree. J.P. fascinates me.  I feel like he wants to take the relationship deeper, but Kim was holding him at arm's length and now he has a chance to get to know her in a different way and perhaps prove he is worthy of more than a summer fling?
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jacurls
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-18-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

Summertime at that age is a time of promiscuity, friendship, and testing the boundaries of your parents while still living under their roof.  Smart decisions are not always priority...(hate to break it to the parents of teenagers).  I don't know what the 'secret' is yet, but I am very interested.  I wonder if what happened is self-induced in a way?  She doesn't seem too innocent.
 
I think her parents reactions were very natural- everyone deals with disaster in different ways.  It was very chilling to learn about volunteers who may be volunteering for the wrong reasons- sex offenders, etc. decieving you when you're most vulnerable.  It really made me think what I would do in that case? Would I allow the help of strangers or try to be a super hero and do it all?
I like the book a lot.  There are quite a few characters that I still get a little confused on who's who- but the plot keeps me turning pages, investigating even more with every turn.
 
Today's a great day for the race...The race of life!
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djohns64
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎04-10-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I have to say the first chapters remind me of my childrens teenage years. Kim was a normal high school
student. With friends that do not always meet the parents aproval. The driving with Lindsey and DQ lunch
and telling her she would miss her was really something that helped Lindsey  later in the story.
 
I think that Fran and Ed should have been their for each other more. but over all the story does reflect most families real lives.
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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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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 found their relationship touching too. They were so different and had such mixed feelings towards each other, but the love was there too.
Bonnie
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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters



Jeanie0522 wrote:
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. 


I like the fact that she was flawed too. Not the nicest girl around, but a typical teenager. And I agree, her family rang true in it's rushed quality.
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Jennd1
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I agree with many of the comments that have been posted so far. The characters are very well developed and the scene between Kim and Lindsay is touching. I think all of the characters are portrayed like real people. I think Fran kept trying to do that "one thing" that would lead them to something significant and she used it as a distraction of sorts which was her way of dealing with the situation. I think she did truly love Kim and her way of showing that was doing everything in her power to bring her home. I think her friends are realistic also she is at a point where she is trying to figure things out and trying new things away from her family.

Jenn D
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bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: Early Chapters - Chapter One - Description of the Person When Last Seen (1-15)


KxBurns wrote:


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





Since I have just started reading this book, I will not read the others' comments because these sections contain quite a few spoilers in themselves if you have not gotten to chapter thirteen. I will place in the message subject; the chapter title and page numbers to avoid spoilers for folks just starting out.

It is interesting to me in the first chapter to meet Kim and experience her and her own thoughts first before we lose her. I think that this was very powerful and this revealed a lot about how Kim thought and what her outlook might be.

I found it difficult to start navigating through the book to find the cut off points because none of the chapters were numbered and there was not any table of contents. I am sure that this might be just an issue with the proof and will be taken care of prior to publication.

On page one, I especially liked the peek inside what were really Kim's likes and dislikes versus how family members chose to interpret or misinterpret them. We learn that "She did not hate the town, as years later, her sister would tell one lover. Not Kim, the good daughter. She loved the lake, how on a clear day you could see all the way to Canada from the bluffs. She loved the river, winding hidden in its mossy gorge of shale down to the harbor. She even loved the slumping Victorian mansions along Grandview her father was always trying to sell, and the sandstone churches downtown and the stainless steel diner across from the post office. She was just eighteen." I think one impression that I already have is that Stewart O'Nan is probably the best writer that we have had the privilege of reading during our First Looks. I like very much his imagery and style.

I found it interesting in a way, the impression the parents had of J.P. In fact, it sort of showed how driven by image and superficial impressions they were. O'Nan points out, "If anything, she was a bad influence on him, but all they saw was the loser who might ruin her future." Kim's parents obviously saw only what they wanted to see and were very blind to reality about themselves and their daughters.

I loved what could have been the family motto: "All a realtor has is his good name."

Eerily the chapter ends and the reader realizes that it is Kim who is missing and gone most likely forever. It would appear that she had gotten home safely. My questions were: did someone intrude the home, watch and follow her home, did she have her top on when she got out of the car and came into the house, did someone follow her in while she was changing, did she change and then take off for work and get waylaid. When in the forty five minutes from the time she left and got home was she abducted? It pretty much had to happen in that small amount of time because Nina made it back and to work in about 32 minutes and called Kim at about quarter past three and did not get an answer. Kim had to have met trouble by then. By the time her family called the police a long 18 hours had past.

You always hear when children are abducted how the first few hours are the crucial ones if they are to be found alive. Chapter One ends ominously.
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Quilter1
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-08-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I won't say they are a dysfunctional family, but not entirely what I would call normal either. I think Kim's disapperance is making them closer. I think Kim was a bit wild, involved with alcohol and drugs, maybe because she was on her own more. I think both parents can work, and still be a aware of what your children are involved in, and with whom. I applaud Fran for stepping up and doing everything in her power to find Kim.
 
 
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ladychatterly
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Early Chapters

My impressions of these early chapters are pretty much in agreement with Boo27. The Larsen family could be my neighbors, I didn't find them dysfunctional in the least by today's standards. Having raised three of my own daughters (ages 29, 28, and 23), Kim's behavior is that of a normal teenager and especially that of a senior in high school heading for college. Girls have secrets--period, but Mom's eventually find them out. The DQ scene was perfectly done and resembles a time involving my daughters as well as several similar instances as the puzzle box. I feel that whole thread captured the base feeling of most sisterly love.
 
I also agree with several of you that the police took Kim's disappearance way too casually! That's the problem with that sort of attitude in this time period and is standard operation procedure. Sure, I am aware that a lot of kids run away; but maybe the police and other authorities should take these things very seriously right from the beginning which could/might prevent tragic outcomes. This blase attitude by the police with every teenager that is missing needs to be changed; I'm speaking from a personal experience and also as a Godmother to a Police Officer. I think Stewart intentionally or
unintentionally  evoked very strong opinions from us readers in his portrayal of the initial investigation into Kim's disappearance by the police.
 
The early chapters definitely kept me turning pages, particularly because of "the secret" Kim's friends have but didn't reveal until it was too late.
 
Stewart gets to the heart of the agony of a missing child, no matter what the child's age.
His introductions of the characters and their relationships to one another make you feel as though you are a participant in this book and not an observer. He has a way of making you feel what the characters feel, that doesn't always happen in my reading.
 
The relationship between Fran and Ed comes across as disconnected, there is a lack of real communication between them, as though they've been doing their own thing for a long time. I've seen that happen to couples who have been married as long as I have (33 years), and it's sad. It also seemed they didn't understand each other's needs and ways of dealing with Kim's disappearance though they did join forces to organize volunteers to help search, post flyers, etc.; it was obvious this wasn't their usual routine.
 
 
 
 
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FrankieD
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎12-16-2007
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Re: Early Chapters

I was reading the first part of the while on a trip to Mexico...you know, reading on the jet and in the room. Anyway, I was "moved" by Ed's reaction when he went out to look for Kim on his own. He was well aware that he probably wouldn't find her...but he went all the same. As a father I know that I would do the same, even it just help ease that "helpless" feeling that I'm sure he had.
Well...I just got back from Mexico tonight and will pick-up on my reading tomorrow...for now I definitely need a bit of sleep:smileyhappy:after four days of "all-inclusive" insanity...and thirty-seven friends along for the ride.
 
                                                                                 Good night!!!
                                                                                             FrankieD :smileyhappy:
" The longer I live...the more beautiful life becomes."
- Frank Lloyd Wright
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kboston
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

The book was captivating from the start...it read almost like a true crime story.  Kim was a typical teen, high school grad preparing for her new beginnings, then she was gone. 
The scene that struck me as meaningful was when Lindsay returned home and Kim's swimsuit and towel were in the bathroom and Nina calling because she's late.  Her home and social life were definitely things that she separated from each other.  Her parents knew some of her friends, but at far as details they were completely in the dark.  Her mother did not know that Kim was not serious about J.P.  If they had at least something that resembled a close relationship Fran would have known that.  My impression of Kim does not change after the first chapter when we find out more about her. 
CAG
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CAG
Posts: 218
Registered: ‎01-15-2007
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Re: Early Chapters



KxBurns wrote:


Jo6353 wrote:


kiakar wrote:


I can't see that this family was dysfunctional. Maybe things have changed in families over the many years I raised my daughters but I do not think I would call this family dysfunctional at all. They loved together, played together. Times do change and the changes in this story was typical of working mom and working dad and children driving and so forth that can easily go wrong in a child's life but Dysfunctional NO,I will have to disagree.



I don't think this family was dysfunctional either. Dysfunctional is a too commonly used term for families with normal problems. Jo

I agree -- I think the family is imperfect but within the realm of a typical family. They seem pretty distant from each other in a way that I imagine to be pretty common in this day and age. As boo27 points out, there are some issues lurking just below the surface.
 
In my opinion, one of the strengths of these early chapters is meeting each family member as an individual and watching them struggle with their shortcomings in the face of this tremendous crisis. It will be interesting to see if these issues recede or become more pronounced as the family is exposed to additional strain. My sympathy for the family makes me hope it is the former.


I agree too. The family does not seem dysfunctional to me at all. I wouldn't even say imperfect because I see them as just normal. I thought Kim is/was a typical teenager, trying to separate herself as she is growing up. I found the early chapters easy to read and all of the characters real. This is what I found myself liking about O'Nan's writing-I could see myself as knowing this family and their friends. I could feel their pain and connect with them. O'Nan makes it easy. Early on I also found myself wondering about Kim's friends and the secrets they had but I didn't feel they were being sinister, just typical teens worried about what kind of trouble they might get into instead of realizing information they had might help the police in their investigation. Again, their secrets make the characters real.  
CAG
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters



Jo6353 wrote:


kiakar wrote:


I can't see that this family was dysfunctional. Maybe things have changed in families over the many years I raised my daughters but I do not think I would call this family dysfunctional at all. They loved together, played together. Times do change and the changes in this story was typical of working mom and working dad and children driving and so forth that can easily go wrong in a child's life but Dysfunctional NO,I will have to disagree.



I don't think this family was dysfunctional either. Dysfunctional is a too commonly used term for families with normal problems. However, I do think that the police's hands are tied in this matter. If someone doesn't want to be found it's their RIGHT to not be found and the police can't violate it. We've tied our own hands with too many RIGHTS! Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. Jo


I know what you are saying Jo. The world today is a sad and complicated mess huh??
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Turner_A
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎04-24-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

How do you describe their initial reactions?
I think that Lindsey did not know how to feel. I feel like Lindsey did not want to go out of her way with helping her mom and/or dad because it may make her realize that Kim really is missing.
 
What scenes, moments or exchanges struck you as meaningful?
 I enjoyed the interaction at the DQ between Kim and Lindsey. Before the sisters leave the house, you get a taste of their relationship. They are just average teen sisters who get moody with each other. But, you see the attitudes go away and Kim praising Lindsey for her good driving skills and then taking her to lunch.
 
Are there any clues to Kim's whereabouts in the 1st chapter, in your opinion? 
In the first chapter, there really seems to be no clues as to Kim's whereabouts. However, I am considering maybe a customer from Conoco could be involved. If Kim works the same time every day, then a customer abducting her could be a possibility. I am questioning how Nina may not know anything about Kim's disappearance even though they left at the same time and went in the same direction.
 
How would you characterize Kim's home life and her social life?
You realize that she is pretty much a regular 18 year old that never stays home. She seems to maybe have a better relationship with her dad than her mom.
 
Does your impression of Kim from the first chapter change as we begin to see her through the eyes of friends and family?
No, I viewed her as a normal 18 year old. She is enjoying her summer before leaving town for school.
 
How does their view of Kim change over the course of these early chapters?
At first, they probably felt that she was being irresponsible. Now, since she is still missing, they probably feel they should have placed more boundaries on Kim and this would not have happened. I am sure that they both realize that they should have spent more time with her.
 
 
A. Turner :smileyhappy:
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bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

     I found myself really drawn into the story by the end of the first chapter.  The book starts off as a sweet slice of small town life and the writing was fantastic as far as creating the setting of Kim's life with her family and friends.  I didn't particularly find any clues about Kim's whereabouts in the first chapter, but, by the end of the chapter, I just had a really bad feeling about what was to come.
     It seemed to me that Kim's mother didn't know enough about Kim's friends.  Maybe I am a little overprotective as a mother, but I kept thinking during the first few chapters that maybe they would have known that she was missing sooner than 18 hours if she and her parents had kept in touch - say "call me when you get to work", etc.  When someone goes missing, the first hours are so crucial to the chances of finding them alive.  When I read that 18 hours had passed, I had such a sinking feeling. 
     My heart broke when Ed drove around looking for her - - just that feeling of helplessness.   
Reader 2
tt4now87
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-06-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I really liked that each chapter was from one character's perspective. I felt like I was able to get to know each character.
 
The family seemed like they really weren't connecting with each other at the time of the disappearance, but still knew Kim enough to know exactly what she must have been wearing and if anything was missing or out of place in her room.
 
The secret between the friends had me hooked. I was suspicious at first of J.P. and then of Nina, but never really of Hinch. I guess I was looking for the least obvious person to be involved.
 
 
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petitefleur
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters

[ Edited ]
It is so sad to watch as Kim's parents begin the search for one daughter and don't realize how distant they are from the other.  I find myself feeling so sorry for Lindsay, the awkward kid that feels she can never measure up to her big sister.  Little does she know that Kim secretly envies her.  I think the time they spent together the day before Kim's disappearance helped them to feel closer to one another.  However, as the parents work together to find Kim they think they are sort of leaving Lindsay behind.  Communication is not a strength in this family.


Message Edited by petitefleur on 06-03-2008 12:07 AM
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GMorrison
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎12-20-2007
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Re: Early Chapters



ELee wrote:


pheath wrote:
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.

I thought that interesting as well.  The conflict between chronological age and level of maturity was an issue here, and something that I think could be applied to the develpment of all the characters in general.





So much of this book's ability to draw you in seems to be in the little details O'Nan pulls off so deftly, instead of melodrama. This is a perfect example--I can remember thinking I was an adult and perfectly capable of handling myself at the age of fifteen, let alone eighteen, and was offended anytime someone expressed an opinion to the contrary.

Now that I'm ::cough:: older, I can't believe I thought I was an adult at twenty. And I doubt it would have mattered to Fran and Ed if Kim had disappeared at thirty-five--she'd still be a missing child to them, regardless of the police's official take.
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