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Kourt
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters

I loved the first chapeters. I felt like I was right there living beside the family and Kim. Being the oldest girl in  my family I could totally relate to most of Kim's (mis)adventures.
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lavender
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Re: Early Chapters

I think the early chapters set the scene very well. Having gone through a similar situation (in which a friend's older sister was abducted in our neighborhood), there's a sense of suspicion and unease surrounding many people, and it often lasts years after the crime is solved.
 
I had no clue what had happened to Kim but sensed it had something to do with her friends. She struck me as an average, everyday teenager. The scene where she's helping her sister drive is especially poignant to me.
 
I've really enjoyed this book, although I've found it hard to read at times because it brings back memories of that horrible time. But that makes it all the more powerful at the same time.
 
Lisa
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters

[ Edited ]

Maria_H wrote:
I may be alone in this, but I was pleased that there are no scenes of utter melodrama. Of tears and sobs and shrieks and drool (you get the picture).

In general, some people steel themselves against breakdown by focusing on the task at hand.

In the story, the most important thing was to find Kim. To break down would be admitting that there is no hope and to lose control of the situation.

Besides, who's to say that they did not shed more tears than we saw? If they did, I am grateful that is was kept private. Far too many public displays of grief nowadays!


streamsong wrote:
In the Fran thread, I asked whether anyone cried for Kim in this first section. I rescanned the chapters after posting and found a few tears. Fran dabs at her eyes when she first talks to Nina. That night the family shares a group hug and a few tears. And yet, I feel the emotion is missing. I can see someone asking "How are Fran and Ed holding up?" and someone else replying--"They are amazing. Look at all they are doing!"
No one breaks down. And yet if you don't break down when your daughter/sister/best friend has disappeared and you fear, as Fran says her first impression is, that 'someone has taken her', when do you break down?
A crises breaks some families apart and pulls other families together. It will be interesting to see whether this crises makes this family more emotionally honest and connected or if it leaves them shattered.





Got to disagree with ya Maria on that one point. To break down doesn't mean you give up hope, or lose control of the situation. Actually they haven't much control of this situation anyway, she is gone and it will play out how it plays out. But the shock and fear brought on by such a thing and thoughts of what might be happening to her is enough to break down the strongest parent to tears and all kinds of extreme emotions, even as they try to do things. There are a lot of characters here that are very close to Kim and none of them have the emotions about this that just really pulls you in by the gut. I don't think its about the different ways different people handle things either. I think its the writing, the author hasn't put it there. It really is a third person telling of the story, but because it is,he knows the feelings of everyone of his characters and could give us great insight and emotion and I just don't feel it. I just feel a story being told, and some of there feelings being discussed but like an actual third person telling you. The story draws me in, the idea, the secrets but its like its an emotional story being told in a rather unemotional way.Something is really missing for me. And its not how the characters are acting, its just that there is no connection to them on an emotional level. I wish this was told with one first person perspective, like that of Lindsey, or PJ or even Ed and then with the rest of this told in third person. I think through the eyes of one of them, you would really feel it. Ok, I am either repeating myself or I wrote my initial feelings of frustration about the style to a friend and not here lol!

Detailmuse,
I just read your remarks on this same post after I sent this, and I agree with you completely. I can connect with them on an intellectual level but not an emotional one, its not there.
CathyB,
you said you didn't like the characters because they were one dimensional. I think this goes right back to it too. I think I could like several of them, but not written this way. Mostly, I am a third person who so far isnt caring much about them and thats sad given the subject of the story!

Message Edited by vivico1 on 06-03-2008 01:09 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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niknak13
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Re: Early Chapters

[ Edited ]
The first chapter of the book did exactly what it should have done for me.  I was sucked in.  I wanted/needed to know more.  I was mostly intrigued by the passage on page 2 ". . . a record of her steadiness.  She'd worked seven days a week since graduation and hadn't missed a shift.  Later the police would call this strict pattern a contributing factor.  Secretly she was proud of it.  She'd never been so determined.  She'd never had a reason before." 
 
At the time I figured that her working every day at the same place would give someone wanting to abduct her an easy way to know where she'd be and when she'd be there.  I assumed that she wanted to save money for college.  After further reading, I'm not sure if she was saving money or if she needed money to support a drug habit.  Though, I'm not sure if it was a drug "habit" or if it was experimentation that she regretted. 
 
I thought that the initial reactions of her family and friends seemed "normal."  By that I mean as normal as anyone's reaction would be in that situation. 
 
I was wondering if Kim had decided NOT to go to work that afternoon if she'd still be around.  If foul play was involved (which I am under the impression is the case) and someone knew her work schedule and was waiting for her somewhere to take her . . . if she suddenly changed her schedule and didn't head to work the person wouldn't have had the chance to take her and they also may have had second thoughts about attempting it again if she became unpredictable.
 
My impression of Kim really hasn't changed much since the first chapter.  She seems to be an average girl that had some secrets.  I like that we don't know much about her.  The book reminds me of a Dateline special where someone has gone missing and they present the evidence that they have and let you draw your own conclusions.  By leaving Kim a mystery and not letting us "into her head" it seems more of a true crime story.
 
I'm excited to keep reading.  I have also been worrying that, like on those Dateline episodes, we will not find out what happened to Kim.


Message Edited by niknak13 on 06-03-2008 01:21 PM
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reina10
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Re: Early Chapters

Thank you for the insight regarding small towns. It helps put the story in more perspective.




jacurls wrote:
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.



Reina
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reina10
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Re: Early Chapters

I guess I'm not alone. I read the posts stating that Kim's behavior is typical for a small town, but i found her to be a bit mean spirited. I also agree that I the DQ scene was weird. I honestly thought she was playing a practical joke on her sister. It didn't work for me.



CathyB wrote:


Linda10 wrote:


reina10 wrote:
I guess i will be the first one to say this. I didn't like the characters in this book. ...

Hey, reina10!
I guess I will be the second one to say it. ....


Guess I am the third person. I didn't care for the characters. The characters seemed one dimensional.
I felt that the DQ scene was 'out of place'. It seems forced and doesn't 'fit' with the
relationship between the sisters. I feel it was added to further the speculation of
whether or not Kim is a run away.
CathyB



Reina
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RoseDhuDot
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Registered: ‎04-08-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

The early chapters did a good job of setting the stage for the family and friends' reaction to Kim's disappearance. There was a clue in the first chapter, but it took a long time to become apparent (I have finished the book). I thought the girls' behavior was typical for their ages, but the sudden shift in Kim's attitude when she decided to treat at DQ struck me as out of place, especially since she was resentful at having to do the driving practice session with her younger sister and short on time. I liked the Dad's action plan of assembling whoever he could get to go out and help search for Kim; however, Kim's Mom's complete metamorphosis into a power organizer and spokesperson bothered me.
 
I did like O'Nan's style and writing; this is the first of his books I've read. He definitely knows how to hook the reader's interest right away and keep the story line moving forward.
Rose Dhu Dot
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sbrinkley
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Re: Early Chapters

I loved the chapter wihen the sisters are together at dairy queen. The seen is so real I can see having that moment with my own sister.  I  always like how kim is getting out of the small town. The fact that kims dad leaves the lights on marking a path to her bedroom so she can see when she comes in alike that.
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mwinasu
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Re: Early Chapters

I don't usually read these types of books so I am not sure that what I have to say will be of help.  There are too many cliches and the characters seem cobbled together.  I wonder if the author is writing from an actual experience he is familiar with and is tweaking the characters so they are less recognizable.  Although I like his style of writing I believe this story needs more work.
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angelofmine1974
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Early Chapters

[ Edited ]
I thought the early chapters of the book were great. The inital reactions with the famly were expected the shock and worry. The friends initial reactions threw me for a loop, especially her boyfriend. I understand they were concerned and wanted to help out but as we all know they were holding something back and that's why their reaction was guarded as well. I agree with another comment made that a memorable scene was when Kim spent time with her sister for the last time.
 
I didnt think there were any clues to her whereabouts, or maybe i just couldnt see it when it was right in front of me.
 
The first impression I thought of Kim was someone who was nice, hardworking, didn't get along with her mom (I'll never hold that against anyone). [edited by moderator]


Message Edited by KxBurns on 06-03-2008 07:32 PM
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Oldesq
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Re: Early Chapters



detailmuse wrote:
Still, I kept asking myself, "Where's the grief?"
 
Melodrama wouldn't have fit; O'Nan has written in a more distanced point of view. But I wanted a hint of their drama -- Fran's emotion when she was being taped came close, but it surprised me and, in truth, I questioned its genuine-ness, since I hadn't seen anything from her earlier. Without emotion, I've only connected intellectually with the characters. Even then, I was so amazed by how quickly they'd mobilized that I assumed I'd missed a transition that had moved the story ahead several days. Nope, it was still the evening of the first day!


IMHO Fran's response seems very genuine.  I don't think Fran can allow grief because that would be admitting there was something to grieve about-right?  And, after all, we know Fran is thinking that this is just some nightmare she is going to wake up from or that whole thing will have some very simple explanation--if she can just cross all the t's and dot the i's.  There is too much denial of what might have happened to have grief.
 
Some themes I picked up on:
  • many of the relationships are described in terms of contracts or deals, such as the agreement between Kim and her parents about curfew (4), Ed and Fran's "deal" (page 16), Ed and J.P about the women in their lives drinking (37-38), Fran eliciting Ed's help with Lindsay (58) and the lovemaking between J.P. and Kim (61);
  • Does anyone remember Bubble Boy?  At first I thought that mention of the movie was a little detail meant to bracket the DQ trip (pp. 5 and 11) but when it got mentioned again on page 70 I had to wonder. . ..  I know the story involved an over-protective mother who lies to her son to keep him chained to home (literally in a bubble) and involves a road trip with a cast of characters and a riff on The Graduate in the end-- any thoughts? 
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shirleymary
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-17-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I agree with detailmuse, I don't feel any emotions on the characters, they seem so unattached...

I think at first the parents didn't realize how difficult the situation is. It seems to me that they were expecting something like this could happen. Her sister wondered if the lunch they had together was a goodbye.
Also I can't understand her friends reactions, they seem distant.

 In the first chapter I could noticed that Kim was an average teenager, trying to stay away from her home as much as possible (like any teenager, by the way). I don't found any clues in the first chapter about her following disappearance.

Obviously the view of Kim changes along the chapters, because we have little to know about her on the first one. It's very interesting to see the view of the different characters about Kim, but still these views don't explain why she is missing...lets keep reading!!!
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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Early Chapters



sile wrote:


Kegsoccer wrote:
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?


Absolutely. We'll have to remember to discuss this in greater detail next week when we focus on JP, but there's some great insight into his motivation in chapter 9 (Baby Steps)... 
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KxBurns
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Re: Early Chapters



GMorrison wrote:

The interesting thing here is that the police did take Kim's disappearance very seriously. They deposed the family and then friends to make certain no one was hiding information on her whereabouts. They were instrumental in organizing the search parties and liaisoning with those involved in the search. Where O'Nan strikes gold is in his portrayal of two anguished parents for whom the police's efforts will never be enough until their daughter is returned to them. The police's actions (search dogs are pointless unless you know where to pick up Kim's scent) are eminently reasonable, but of course they would not seem that way to a grieving, terrified, and frustrated parent.

Well put! Were I in the position of this family, my hope would be that everyone involved would treat the case as if it were their daughter, too, but it's simply not possible.
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MSaff
Posts: 272
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Re: Early Chapters

I wanted to say that I felt there was a certain under current within the family, however, it could just be my imagination.  Kim's father felt it was necessary to go out and organize a search effort as well as searching on his own.  I know that if this situation had happened to my family, I couldn't just sit and wait for news, I'd have to be out in the trenches so to speak.
 
Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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hannah7299
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Re: Early Chapters

I enjoyed how the early chapters unfolded and told the story.  It was hard to put the book down because I was so curious as to what was going to happen next.  O'Nan kept it very suspenseful through the early part of the book.
 
I thought the last interaction between Kim and Lindsay and the last day they spent together was very meaningful to the story.  Had Kim not spent that day with Lindsay and told her she would miss her, I think Lindsay's feelings and point of view in the story would have been extremely different.  I felt that Fran and Ed never had that last, intimate moment with Kim and therefore, seemed very isolated after her disappearance.
 
 
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KxBurns
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Re: Early Chapters



lross38 wrote:
...I think O'Nan's writing does a wonderful job of setting up very realistic characters that we can identify with. I love that not only is a picture of the narrative created, it's as if there is a soundtrack as well. Maybe that's what the title means? ....nah probably not. :smileyhappy:


I think you're on to something. For starters, a quote from "Over the Rainbow" opens the book. I think O'Nan definitely uses musical allusions to evoke the feel of a particular time and place -- he does this in his other works as well. I like the way you refer to it as creating a soundtrack. We should ask him about the use of music his work when he joins us!
 
-Karen
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slowReader
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Registered: ‎02-24-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I was taken aback by the way the friends kept information back.  They all questioned, and even thought that their information was important, yet they still did not offer it to the police. instead they chose to protect their selfs then putting their "best friend's" safety first. They understood the severity of the situation when Kim failed to return their calls.
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KxBurns
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Re: Early Chapters



Amber_R wrote:
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 we start to see that she's not as perfect as her sister perceives her to be and she's not as much of the good girl or loving girlfriend we may have thought her to be. But, I like that O'Nan shows with the investigation that under the microscope, who would be? I think my view of Kim changed in the sense that she became more of a person and not so much just a stereotypical character. She has more depth with every new thing we learn about her, which makes me wonder what happened to her even more.
 


I agree -- the more we learn about Kim, the more she takes on the dimensions of a real, flawed person, even as her family and friends perhaps begin to feel that they know and understand her less than they thought.
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Lildove3
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Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

 I am totaly impresssed with stewart O'Nan. He definately knows how to grasps the readers attention.
 The book has me so spell bound that I am reading the book before going to work which I start reading at
 8 a.m.  I too, was stunned when reading, as to how fast the teens were meeting for an after work get
 together and then Kim turns up missing.  The book has many mini twists and turns, which really keeps
 ones mind guessing. The dad and mom really are the typical parents,that is another factor to be able
 to believe the story lines in the book... even though this is just the start of this awesome book I am
 very,very impressed,it's been a quite a long time, since I find hard to put the book down...bravo I say.
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