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dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters


FrankieD wrote:
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:





Oh you poor man, I'm sure a lot of us envy your sleep depravation problem.
Now that said I agree with your observation of Ed, I don't think it made his character weak by leaving Fran and Lindsay and looking for Kim on his own. And even though I'm not a man and don't have a mans prospective I applaud his efforts in his search for Kim.
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Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters



dhaupt wrote:

reina10 wrote:
I guess i will be the first one to say this. I didn't like the characters in this book. I felt the entire family was living in their own little world until Kim went missing. Kim seem ed a bit too self-centered- even for a typical teenager. Fran and Ed's marriage was obviously suffering, while Kim's relationship with her sister was weak (at best). I would have liked to learn more about Kim, or learned more about the inner thoughts of her family.




I found the family image very true to having 2 teenagers in the house and both parents working. My daughter at that age was very self centered and has only in her late twenties come to value my opinions on things. And I don't see where the marriage was suffering either, I see this family thrown into waters that none of us could possibly understand unless we went through this kind of trauma. And I find it a testament to them that they stayed together through all of this.


Debbie, I couldn't agree with you more. I found this to be a typical family dynamic for this day and age. Jo
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Linda10
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎10-02-2007
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Re: Early Chapters



reina10 wrote:
I guess i will be the first one to say this. I didn't like the characters in this book. I felt the entire family was living in their own little world until Kim went missing. Kim seem ed a bit too self-centered- even for a typical teenager. Fran and Ed's marriage was obviously suffering, while Kim's relationship with her sister was weak (at best). I would have liked to learn more about Kim, or learned more about the inner thoughts of her family.


Hey, reina10!
 
I guess I will be the second one to say it.  You summed up my feelings thus far about the book so well that I don't really need to add anything.  I don't care for this book.  (And I'm even one of those people who really enjoyed "The Sister.")  It isn't a lousy book; but I just can't care about these people.
 
I will keep reading and will finish the book because, number one, I'm not a quitter, and, number two, I'm very curious what happened to Kim.  Is she alive or dead?  Will she be found or become an "unsolved mystery"?
Oh, well, there are plenty of other books to read.
 
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mom2alexmegcoop
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Registered: ‎04-12-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I wanted to reply before I read anyone else's so if I repeat I apologize.

The early chapters got me invested in the book, they sparked an interest in the characters and I cared about what happened to this family and Kim. They set the tone for the rest of the story, and I wanted to read more.

I thought their initial reactions were believable and very much how any other parent would reaction to this type of situation. Even Lindsey's reaction to me seemed spot on.

The driving lessons and the Diary Queen scene that the sisters spent together stood out to me, and I was so glad that they had that last "good" day, as with any siblings they seemed to have their share of differences and so forth so I was touched by that scene. The moment they begin to realize she was gone was heartbreaking and when her dad began to frantically search for her stood out to me as well.

Of course they allude to the fact of some dealings with Woziack (sp) and a realationship of some type with him and he was characterized as a somewhat shady character, but really other than that there weren't many other clues as to what might have happened to her. Although I was aware as a reader that she did not simply run away from home, so I got the feeling from the beginning that something sinister had happened to her although I was not sure what.

I think Kim was the social one, she had a core group of friends that got into their own type of teenage craziness and use of bad judgment.

I think her parents realize she wasn't perfect nor is anyone, my opinion of her did not change much, to me she seemed like a pretty typical teenager who just met with some unfortunate circumstances.
The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you the knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.~Elizabeth Hardwick
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swapna1183
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Registered: ‎04-09-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

I agree, I definitely think something sinister happened to Kim. I'm almost afraid to find out what...
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Demira
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Re: Early Chapters

The amazing thing about this book (and writing in general) is how completely an author can capture the moment.  This family is portrayed in a most realistic way:  at 40 years old, I can immediately relate to Kim at her age of 18 years old.  And to think that Stewart O'Nan can create this without the benefit of having been a teenaged girl.  I could not literally stop reading the early chapters because this family was so completely compelling.
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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

Two lines come to mind. One is from the end of the very first paragraph: "In the fall they were gone, off to college, where [Kim] hoped, by a long and steady effort, she might become someone else, a private, independent person, someone not from Kingsville at all."  At this point in my reading, it seems that Kim will be forever public and forever attached to Kingsville.
 
The other: "All a realtor has is his good name." That hasn't necessarily been my experience; is it a common perception of realtors? I did grow up in a very small town, where a realtor's personal reputation would have been important -- though no more so than that of any business-person ... even any resident at all. But I liked the line's hint at privacy and secrets, which seem to have a place in this story.

KxBurns wrote:
What scenes, moments, or exchanges struck you as meaningful?


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bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
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Re: Early Chapters

The first chapters did what they were supposed to do, they introduced you to the family, her friends and small town life.  You have a college-bound high-school graduate who is counting the days till she leaves for college and her "new life" .  She probably had a mental countdown calendar running around in her mind until she had to leave. Her friends are just that, hers separate from family.   I saw a typical family with teenage daughters with sibling rivalry(The good daughter v our other daughter).  What struck me as odd was when the police say to Kim's parents keep everything as is including towels, her room, the bathroom, etc and the response from the mother is that she only considered the girlsbathroom only Kim's as opposed to both Kim and Lindsay's bathroom.
 
As for her relationship with her parents, how many parents don't have some tension with their teenagers especially when they have one foot out the door (going away to college) and the other soon to follow.  The expectation of anticipated freedom is what Kim is thinking about.  She's working to get money to go away, it's a means to an end.  The driving lesson with her sister is probably also a way of "making a memory" since she(Kim) won't be around to give her many more.  I don't think this was prophetic,just a way to avoid another go around with mom if she doesn't take her sister driving.
 
 
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

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!

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.

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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters

In my opinion, the characters and their initial reactions to Kim's disappearances were very real and believable.  Like others who have written here, her sister's response stood out to me very much.  The sibling relationship was felt very authentic as were her memories of Kim and her reaction to her disappearance.  Then again, however, each person in her life had a unique and, I felt, authentic reaction.
 
I do not think there are any clues whatsoever about Kim's whereabouts in the first chapters. I also do not think that my view of Kim changed at all during the first few chapters. Did the characters' views of her change? Well, her parents certainly became more aware of her activities and the fact that she was not perfect. 
 
 
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Jo6353
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Re: Early Chapters


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.





Maria,
I think that Stewart O'Nan's portrayal of this situation was done in a very clinical fashion. There was just enough emotion to make you feel involved but not so much that your heart was being ripped from your chest. I liked this approach. It propelled me through the book without terrifying me. Jo
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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters

I agree- while this is not a completely dysfunctional family - there is certainly some dysfunction going on - from Fran's drinking, to Lindsay's virtual invisibility, Kim's risky behaviors, their financial difficulties, and the family's "covering up" of their problems.
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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

Me too, chills and discouragement. I like how O'Nan presented it. I like the behind-the-scenes looks at what happens with the public, the police, the media.

kmensing wrote:
The Crime Stoppers chapter gave me chills.  All this insanity coming from the public, only slowing the true search down.


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bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: Early Chapters



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.




Maria,  I agree with you.  At this point in the story, the focus is on the urgency of the first few hours and days of finding Kim and that requires parents to buck up and do what is neccessary.  I think that is a genuine reaction and response.  Sometimes, to me, the overwrought wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth at a traumatic event seems fake.  Maybe fake is not a fair word.  Just the "wrong" reaction for me.  What good can you be to Kim if you are an emotional wreck sobbing in the bathroom.  I don't think it if fair to fault someone for having some self control and compartmentalizing the breakdown for when the time and place allows you the privacy to do so.

Ann, bookhunter

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kLorene
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Registered: ‎03-20-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

i agree with stephanie about the sisters sharing a morning together.  i thought that kim's annoyance with her sister and vice versa was well done.  in fact, i thought the entire family's interactions with each other were true. 
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kLorene
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Re: Early Chapters

it seems to me that o'nan has taken a very "normal" family...with some issues, some dysfunctions, some guilt about what they've done (ie how they've lived their lives), and what they haven't, and put them in a nightmare situation that seems surreal, yet they are forced to deal with it, every minute of their days, once kim disappears.  it could be anyone of us, and i think he does a terrific job of putting the reader in each character's shoes.  not only that, but the writing is just splendid.  i was teased, wanting to know what happened, but at the same time, i just savoured the writing.  for me, this book has been more about the writing and the depictions of the characters, than the actual "what happened to kim?"
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bookhunter
Posts: 322
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Re: Early Chapters



Demira wrote:
The amazing thing about this book (and writing in general) is how completely an author can capture the ..moment.  This family is portrayed in a most realistic way:  at 40 years old, I can immediately relate to Kim at her age of 18 years old.  And to think that Stewart O'Nan can create this without the benefit of having been a teenaged girl.  I could not literally stop reading the early chapters because this family was so completely compelling.


Demira,  you have a good comment on his writing style.  I was impressed, too, with how Mr. O'Nan could switch from one character's perception to another.  I particulary enjoyed the insight into Lindsey's point of view in contrast to her parents'.  To her, everything they did was "lame" and out of touch with what SHE was experiencing.  I would love to fast forward 10, 15, 20 years and see if she still thought the things her parents did were silly.
 
Ann, bookhunter
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CathyB
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎12-30-2006
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Re: Early Chapters



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
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bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: Early Chapters



detailmuse wrote:
...The other: "All a realtor has is his good name." That hasn't necessarily been my experience; is it a common perception of realtors? I did grow up in a very small town, where a realtor's personal reputation would have been important -- though no more so than that of any business-person ... even any resident at all. But I liked the line's hint at privacy and secrets, which seem to have a place in this story.


I think for a small town you can fill in the blank:  "All a ________has is his/her good name."  And like you said, what is behind that "good name, " behind the closed doors of family?  These first few chapters showed a family that was pretty typical, and these hints at secrets made me wonder if there were going the be some skeletons in the closets of this "normal family" or normal town.
 
Ann, bookhunter 
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kLorene
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Registered: ‎03-20-2008
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Re: Early Chapters

cathy...funny...i loved the book, but i didn't care for kim!  i don't know if it's b/c i was upset with her for causing her family such grief or b/c o'nan didn't put us in her head as he did with the other characters.
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