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peacenbeaches
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
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Re: Final Chapters

The end was rushed or it seemed to me that it just ended.  I understand that the book is about the family but it left to many questions about how and why Kim ended up where she did. Also only one person confessed to doing this or maybe there was more but it would have been nice to know if there were more than one person that they were looking at.
 
I think that  Ed's mom played a small part in the book.  It gave the family something to do other than sit around and wait to hear something.
 
Mimi part was good.  I am sure that there are people that spend time every day looking for something or someone that is missing.  I found that the mom put to much praise on her but maybe that is something that she felt grateful for helping her family peace.
 
I would like to Thank all who is involved with the First Look Book club, Barnes and Noble, and Finally Mr. Stewart O"Nan for giving me the privilege for reading your book. I am looking forward to reading another one of your books Mr O"Nan.   I am looking forward to reading another first look book.
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speedhaven
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Final Chapters

I read this novel in just a little over a single day - much of it while on a cross-country flight. I very much enjoyed the book and the manner in which the narration left the reader without all of the details. For me, this worked well because I was on a level playing field with the characters, not knowing exactly what happened. I felt that the introduction of the grandmother and J.P. and Nina's relationship fit in well because as time goes on, your focus on Kim and her disappearance broadens to include other people and things. Life, whether we like it or not, goes on. Here is the link to my review of the book: http://literatehousewife.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/78-songs-for-the-missing/

Jennifer
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caseylc
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
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Re: Final Chapters

While I understand what others have said about Mimi's character being far fetched, I believe that she is based on a true person(s).  Such people exist albeit lonely or just obsessive people who get wrapped up in the media coverage.  I also think her character is symbolic of the truth behind such a murder, that sometimes the ending can not be predicted.  I also believe that she was not a major character because she discovered the body and the true story was the family and not the murder.  In so many ways I was anxious to get all the information and was so hoping that everything would be explained and fit into a neat and tidy conclusion.  Such is life, however and that is certainly not the way these things work out in real life.  I really liked the book.  It was a book that left me thinking and wondering.  I personally enjoy this kind of story because when you close the book you still tend to elaborate on the story. 
 
I will recommend this book, I only wish it was coming out sooner so I could use it as my book club pick.
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maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Chapters

The end seemed a bit rushed to me also. Although that is probably what would happen in a real life situation. I'm sure none of us can know how we would act in a similar case, unless we lived it. I did enjoy the book and can't wait for the next First Look offering. Thank you so much for these ARC books, Barnes and Noble. Yvonne
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NavyAirMom
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Final Chapters

I must say that I agree with the overwhelming majority of postings...the ending was too rushed and felt like Mr. O'Nan just pulled it "out-of-the-blue."  After all the efforts of the police and the special task force who spent tons of hours and money looking, and after the family feeling that the police "weren't doing anything", I think it would have brought more closure for the family to have the police solve the mystery.  Then the family could go on with the feeling that everybody did the best they could.  By having this random character stumble upon the body, and I don't believe her "detective" skills were the reason, it adds to the dad's feeling that he gave up too easy and too soon and to their belief that the police did nothing.  The reader would then end the book with a feeling of "mystery solved."  As it is, I closed the book feeling the ending made the entire book a waste of time...I still had too many questions. 
On the bright side,  I really enjoyed this book and Mr. O'nan's style of writing.  I fully intend to read some of his other works to use as a comparison.  I thank Barnes & Noble for their generosity in doing these First Look promotions.
Thank you,
Theresa
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NavyAirMom
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Final Chapters

"Finally, although Kim's abduction and death turned out to be random crimes, is there a greater meaning to be found in the tragedy and, if so, what is it?"
 
   As a mother of 3 grown children, and knowing all too well how hard it is to cut the "apron strings" and let them get on with their own life and make their own decisions, right or wrong, I couldn't stop thinking that no matter what parents do you can not be with your children 24/7.  You can only hope that they make the right choices...did Kim take the help of a stranger instead of using her cell phone?  Did she feel that she would get reprimanded by her parents for not being more conscientious about watching her gas guage (if she did run our of gas)?  Was it simply Kim felt the immortality that almost every teenager feels and the notion that nothing's going to happen to me?
   The greater meaning for me in this tragedy was bad things happen to good people.  Not because they asked for it, deserved it, should've avoided it or any other self blaming reason we come up with.  While the death of someone close is difficult to deal with, it's even harder when you don't have a clear target to place the blame on.
Theresa
 
From a commencement speech at Carnegie Mellon...my favorite line...
"on your deathbed you think of all things you DIDn't do..not the things you did do"
Randy Pausch
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Luanne
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎12-28-2007
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Re: Final Chapters

My overall feeling about the book is that it was like reading a book report about a story about a family loosing a daughter.  It recited events, but I never felt the emotions of the people, especially Fran, who should have had a pivotal, emotional role in the story.  It seems the only result worth noting about her after losing a daughter is that she has 'polished-up' her image.  Ed was more fully explored as wasLindsey; I don't understand why them & not the mother.  The whole chapter devoted to Ed's listing of the house and preparing it for showing seemed superfluous and pointless (did I miss something there?).  The time spent explaining Lindsey's experiences at work was a bit more on point because she is growing and becoming the person we see at the end -- but even from the beginning, while Kim was still alive, Lindsey seemed a loner and a bit of an outcast in the family and her character at the end is not too far from what she may have become if Kim were still alive.  It isn't even clear if Lindsey was lost (as she notes at the end) to the family before the book begins. 
 
Then there are the loose ends and quick wind-up.  This book is outside of my usual genre, mysteries, which may be why the loose ends bother me.  But some of the stuff seems almost deliberately misleading -- all the references about Kim (the wad of twenties) and her friends (the BIG secret they had to keep -- was it only Woozie & drugs?).   This goes nowhere -- were they teasers?
 
The book didn't seem to come from any point of view - either a character's or another perspective - and therefore it seems like a pile of events and incidents hung around an unexplained event - Kim's disappearance and I had trouble putting any real emotion into it or staying interested.  As Bentley noted, I did the assignment and am ready to move on.
"... for myself I am an optimist -- it does not seem to be much use being anything else." Winston Churchill
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umlaut
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
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Re: Final Chapters

I have to agree with you on this, there are way too many holes in this story, something should be done with respect to Mimi and Wade characters. Both of these characters story line seems disrespectful when compared to the whole story. I would suggest something more needs to be done to bring these characters in harmony with the rest of the story or take them off and write something else...


Everyman wrote:
KxBurns wrote: Finally, although Kim's abduction and death turned out to be random crimes...

Ah, you're assuming. We don't know that. We don't know whether or no Wade really did kill her. There are major holes in his story (like, how did her car get where it is if he took her off in his car?) And why, if she ran out of gas, didn't she just call somebody (she had her cell phone, didn't she?)

Police are very familiar with false confessions. In fact, one of the unrealistic aspects of the book is that nobody came forward except Wade to confess. In a case with this much publicity, somebody most likely would have.

It is still possible that Woozie killed her to keep her quiet, isn't it?

Let's not assume that we know things we don't really know.


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AllieK
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: Final Chapters

I totally agree with your description of it feeling like you were reading a book report. I really like mysteries, which I thought maybe this was going to be, but I didn't seem to feel for any of these characters. Everything seemed so detached from each other. The plot and characters seemed so....plain. I'm not trying to take the subject lightly, but the 'story' just didn't grab me at all. I really struggled to keep reading it to the end. I'm not sure how my review will end up, but it probably won't be more than 2 stars.








Luanne wrote:
My overall feeling about the book is that it was like reading a book report about a story about a family loosing a daughter. It recited events, but I never felt the emotions of the people, especially Fran, who should have had a pivotal, emotional role in the story. It seems the only result worth noting about her after losing a daughter is that she has 'polished-up' her image. Ed was more fully explored as wasLindsey; I don't understand why them & not the mother. The whole chapter devoted to Ed's listing of the house and preparing it for showing seemed superfluous and pointless (did I miss something there?). The time spent explaining Lindsey's experiences at work was a bit more on point because she is growing and becoming the person we see at the end -- but even from the beginning, while Kim was still alive, Lindsey seemed a loner and a bit of an outcast in the family and her character at the end is not too far from what she may have become if Kim were still alive. It isn't even clear if Lindsey was lost (as she notes at the end) to the family before the book begins.
Then there are the loose ends and quick wind-up. This book is outside of my usual genre, mysteries, which may be why the loose ends bother me. But some of the stuff seems almost deliberately misleading -- all the references about Kim (the wad of twenties) and her friends (the BIG secret they had to keep -- was it only Woozie & drugs?). This goes nowhere -- were they teasers?
The book didn't seem to come from any point of view - either a character's or another perspective - and therefore it seems like a pile of events and incidents hung around an unexplained event - Kim's disappearance and I had trouble putting any real emotion into it or staying interested. As Bentley noted, I did the assignment and am ready to move on.



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lamorgan
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎01-19-2007
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Re: Final Chapters

Even though I got the impression that Kim was dead, I'm not sure if I liked the choice of what happened to her. Too cliche, perhaps? Having the story wrap up the way it did diminshed some of the intrigue.
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katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Final Chapters



Bonnie824 wrote:
I have to say, I found the ending very realistic and was glad to know Kim's family and JP and Nina were doing pretty OK. Maybe it's because I read true crime sometimes or because I have experience with crime and punishment and family trauma and small town life. Many missing person cases leave the families with unanswered questions and the world is just now always or even usually fair and just. Even families who find out exactly what happened in minute detail and who did it and see them tried and punished don't find closure IMO unless they get to the point when they can grieve and remember good things and move on with their lives.





I agree with you, Bonnie. The ending did not seem rushed to me at all. After all, it had been two years. Many crimes end this way - the perpetrator is apprehended and starts talking. Most bodies are found by accident, nearly all by strangers. "Closure" is one of those cliched words bandied about by the media. Fran needed to know where her little girl was - I think she is still in denial at the end of the book, and will have years of work to process this tragedy before she can get some balance. Ed is far ahead of her in that. Developmentally, all the young people - Kim's friends and Lindsay - will move one, but this will jump up and bite them later on in life. To me, the process is the point of this novel - and all the participants are at different stages. When something like this happens, you eventually move on - but it does come back in a sort of cyclical rhythm.

The author succeeded in drawing me into this web, and in making me feel things that are difficult. Not a comfortable book at all. But so well done.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Final Chapters

[ Edited ]


umlaut wrote:
I have to agree with you on this, there are way too many holes in this story, something should be done with respect to Mimi and Wade characters. Both of these characters story line seems disrespectful when compared to the whole story. I would suggest something more needs to be done to bring these characters in harmony with the rest of the story or take them off and write something else...


I don't know, I feel like to introduce Mimi and/or Wade earlier or to integrate them more into the story would undermine the whole point of their being there at all. My interpretation of these characters is that Wade represents how random and therefore unpreventable the crime was, while Mimi represents the futility or failure of Ed's attempts to be the one to bring Kim home himself. In a way, they represent the lack of control over the situation (both before and after the crime) to which Fran and Ed must reconcile themselves. That's just my take on it, of course! 
 
Actually, Stewart offers a much more eloquent comment regarding Mimi's role in the story here.


Message Edited by KxBurns on 06-19-2008 10:17 PM
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bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: Final Chapters



NavyAirMom wrote:

 
   The greater meaning for me in this tragedy was bad things happen to good people.  Not because they asked for it, deserved it, should've avoided it or any other self blaming reason we come up with.  While the death of someone close is difficult to deal with, it's even harder when you don't have a clear target to place the blame on.
Theresa
 
 


AMEN!
Reader 2
nanc50
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-10-2008
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Re: Final Chapters

The end was rushed or rather it just ended .However I did find the book to be interesting and I would like to thank eveyone involved with the First Look Book Club as well as Mr Stewart O'Nan for alowing me to read his book.  Looking forward to the next first look book.
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bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: Final Chapters



caseylc wrote:
While I understand what others have said about Mimi's character being far fetched, I believe that she is based on a true person(s).  Such people exist albeit lonely or just obsessive people who get wrapped up in the media coverage.  I also think her character is symbolic of the truth behind such a murder, that sometimes the ending can not be predicted.  I also believe that she was not a major character because she discovered the body and the true story was the family and not the murder.  In so many ways I was anxious to get all the information and was so hoping that everything would be explained and fit into a neat and tidy conclusion.  Such is life, however and that is certainly not the way these things work out in real life.  I really liked the book.  It was a book that left me thinking and wondering.  I personally enjoy this kind of story because when you close the book you still tend to elaborate on the story. 
 
I will recommend this book, I only wish it was coming out sooner so I could use it as my book club pick.


Great thoughts, caseylc.  So many of you all are saying that the ending felt rushed and contrived!  But I agree with caseylc that the story is about the family and tries to reflect "real life."  Sometimes life is fast, sometimes slow, and sometimes random.  Mimi's character acts as a contrast, or a foil, to the family--Ed in particular--in her obsessive continuation of her search.
 
Mimi is considered "odd" by everyone but she is the only one that has not given up.  If Fran or Ed or Lindsey had been out looking for Kim with the family dog (what's his name--don't have my book in front of me!) would they be called odd and obsessive or reacting normally?
 
Ann, bookhunter 
Inspired Correspondent
bookloverjb85
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎10-12-2007
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Re: Final Chapters



COCOSPALS wrote:
I kind of felt that Mimi was thrown in as a way to finish up the story in a hurry. I felt the end was rushed, that Mr. O'Nan didn't quite know how to wrap it all together. I did not like how we were left hanging as to how Kim died.





I agree with you COCOSPALS. At the end of the book I was wondering where the rest was. I wanted to know how Kim died, who took her, etc.
--Jen--

"A house without books is like a room without windows."--Horace Mann
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Chapters



bookloverjb85 wrote:


COCOSPALS wrote:
I kind of felt that Mimi was thrown in as a way to finish up the story in a hurry. I felt the end was rushed, that Mr. O'Nan didn't quite know how to wrap it all together. I did not like how we were left hanging as to how Kim died.





I agree with you COCOSPALS. At the end of the book I was wondering where the rest was. I wanted to know how Kim died, who took her, etc.

But then the book wouldn't reflect "real life".  In a police case you wouldn't get these answers.  Also, by spelling out the atrosity, it changes the type of book.  This is not a horror genre.
MG

 
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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Chapters



fordmg wrote:

 
But then the book wouldn't reflect "real life".  In a police case you wouldn't get these answers.  Also, by spelling out the atrosity, it changes the type of book.  This is not a horror genre.
MG

 


ITA with this. There are a few killers who do want to brag and write books in detail, but most, whether they are in jail for life or on death row, still keep saying they are innocent and their lawyers would not let them tell what truly happened. Many are so high or delusional they don't even really know themselves or have to insight to explain their motivations.
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Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Final Chapters



umlaut wrote:
The part of the story of Mimi and her "crusade" to find Kim, was little too far fetched and just thrown in the story to make it more offbeat. I was little disappointed on how this character jumps into this story and makes it totally unbelievable. I am not sure what Stewart was trying to convey by brining this character in the story; god behaves in mysterious ways?? i am not sure, Mimi just doesn't fit the story.


I tend to agree with this. Mimi just came out of nowhere and the book wrapped up rather quickly after that. The only reason that I could see for this was to emphasize the randomness of the death by putting in a random find as well. Jo
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Final Chapters



bookloverjb85 wrote:


COCOSPALS wrote:
I kind of felt that Mimi was thrown in as a way to finish up the story in a hurry. I felt the end was rushed, that Mr. O'Nan didn't quite know how to wrap it all together. I did not like how we were left hanging as to how Kim died.





I agree with you COCOSPALS. At the end of the book I was wondering where the rest was. I wanted to know how Kim died, who took her, etc.

But we do find out those things! Wade confessed and the discovery of Kim's butterfly pendant in one of his safe deposit boxes corrobrated his confession. I don't think O'Nan gives us any reason to doubt that this is true. Page 259 (second paragraph from the bottom) contains the details of the confession as related by Fran.
 
We also learn that Fran updated the website with Wade's confession and a map of the area along I-90 that the search was targeting, and that Mimi was a frequent visitor to the site. So presumably she used this info to aid her search, which leaves little doubt of a false confession -- in my mind at least. :smileyhappy:
 
To be honest, I was glad we were spared the grusome details!
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