Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters


fordmg wrote:


bentley wrote:


Peppermill wrote:

bentley wrote:
...It is highly likely that the choices that Kim made before she went missing; had everything to do with her disappearance as random as O'Nan made it appear.

Ah, that wonderful question: when is it appropriate to blame the victim?




Not sure that there is any implication that she is to blame; but the choices of friends, activities, type of job, etc. could have placed her in view or in contact with the killer with or without her knowing it.

Her friends had nothing to do with her disappearence.  There might have seemed like some blame because they kept secrets, but those secrets didn't enlighten the situation and help anyone find Kim.   The disappearence also was not related to her job.  She wasn't alone at the station all night, she never got there.
I also get frustrated with public opinion that says the victim should have known better. 
MG





Just a response to the comment made: I never blame a victim for whatever happened to her; nobody is to blame for their rape, their murder, their theft, their abuse. It is never an excuse or a reason for anybody to be hurt by anyone.

My original comment (which I stand by) was in relationship to the risky behaviors that placed Kim in dangerous situations where she could be potentially in danger, with sketchy people or to be observed in the gas station by questionable patrons. Some of these images regarding folks who came into the station and other situations were described in the book. In fact, in the novel, it was mentioned that her structured routine could have been a factor in of itself. Nobody said that she was alone at the station and it is of course very true that she was not attacked there. However, she could have been observed there while doing her job and who knows maybe even stalked. As I detailed earlier, nobody and definately not me is making any such assertion; but her choice of friends, her choice to take drugs and maybe deal them, her choice of job, her structured routine all could have contributed to her being around or near or even simply being observed by her potential killer. If she hadn't had that job to go to, if she hadn't been involved with drugs; maybe she would still be alive; but we don't know that for sure. But I do think we know that she made some risky choices which could have potentially placed her in an environment where there is an increased risk of trouble of some kind.
Contributor
NavyAirMom
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

Should everyone then stay locked up tight in their home so nothing bad has the opportunity to happen to them?   Ridiculous idea, I know.
 
But if O'Nan had Kim as the type of teenager who slept all day, who didn't have a job or had a job and was always late, was a loner and didn't have any friends,  didn't finish high school and had no plans for college...you would be blaming that behaviour for her abduction.
 
As I said before,  bad things happen to good people and the only one to blame is the son of a b**** who did it.
 
Theresa
 
"We make plans, God laughs."
Frequent Contributor
Bedelia
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎10-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

I thought it highly unlikely that a woman "of a certain age" and her dog could really find Kim. What are the chances of setting out to find her and than doing it!! Didn't seem in keeping with the rest of the story.
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters


NavyAirMom wrote:
Should everyone then stay locked up tight in their home so nothing bad has the opportunity to happen to them?   Ridiculous idea, I know.
 
But if O'Nan had Kim as the type of teenager who slept all day, who didn't have a job or had a job and was always late, was a loner and didn't have any friends,  didn't finish high school and had no plans for college...you would be blaming that behaviour for her abduction.
 
As I said before,  bad things happen to good people and the only one to blame is the son of a b**** who did it.
 
Theresa
 
"We make plans, God laughs."





No, everyone should not stay locked up in their houses; and nobody is to blame for their own murder or abuse of any kind. However, taking drugs or dealing in them does place an attractive young woman in more dangerous locations and interacting with more volatile and challenged individuals who may not be even thinking clearly.

Once again, if you read my original comments which I stand by as well as the follow ups; I believe that if someone is a drug dealer, has sketchy friends, has a job where they can be observed by the masses and is a beautiful young woman who would be an attention getter simply because of her beauty and her schedule is structured and unwavering; then she may have an increased risk of encountering more trouble than let us say somebody who is studying all day in the library. Random acts happen all of the time; but we are left with not knowing what happened to Kim and it was never a sure thing that it was Wade.

Bad things do happen to good people; but Kim was dabbling in risky behaviours which could have contributed to the number of unsavory characters around her. If I decided to make a visit alone to Pakistan just as a curious civilian; don't you think that I would be increasing my chances of getting shot at or running into some kind of interference of some kind. If something happened to me and I was shot at; would that be my fault; of course not.

But my risky choice and decision of going to these places was a contributory factor which heightened my danger. But I would not be any more responsible for the act of violence itself than Kim was.

I see risky behavior in folks making a decision to smoke a pack a day; does that increase their risk of getting a serious illness; doctors say that it would. Risky behaviour of any kind increases a likelihood of encountering trouble. How many of us counsel our children not to talk to strangers or stay together. Do we think that all strangers are bad or that something is going to happen if they walk down the street alone. No, we don't; but we do know that it could increase a likelihood of danger if these things did occur. And if anything happened to them; it would never be their fault; but the fault of the perpetrator. I am definately in agreement that the victim should never have been harmed no matter what the circumstances; they are the victim.
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters



Bedelia wrote:
I thought it highly unlikely that a woman "of a certain age" and her dog could really find Kim. What are the chances of setting out to find her and than doing it!! Didn't seem in keeping with the rest of the story.




I agree Bedalia; we were told that this example was based upon some true account. But the situation did not seem to match up with the few details that we had about the disappearance. I guess anything is possible.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

bentley wrote:... I never blame a victim for whatever happened to her; ... My original comment (which I stand by) was in relationship to the risky behaviors that placed Kim in dangerous situations where she could be potentially in danger, ...

That's an important distinction. Recognizing that someone has made choices that put them at risk is a very different thing from blaming them for what happens to them. Blame is pointless. Understanding the risks of certain behaviors is an essential aspect of learning and of teaching our children to live safer lives.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters



Everyman wrote:
bentley wrote:... I never blame a victim for whatever happened to her; ... My original comment (which I stand by) was in relationship to the risky behaviors that placed Kim in dangerous situations where she could be potentially in danger, ...

That's an important distinction. Recognizing that someone has made choices that put them at risk is a very different thing from blaming them for what happens to them. Blame is pointless. Understanding the risks of certain behaviors is an essential aspect of learning and of teaching our children to live safer lives.




Exactly Everyman, you see the distinction being made, thank you for your post.
Frequent Contributor
LucyintheOC
Posts: 69
Registered: ‎03-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

Hear, hear Everyman! I think our some of our fellow First Look posters misinterpreted bentley's post and his observations. I think what bentley said has a great deal of validity.
 
Regarding Mimi being of "a certain age"...being "of a certain age doesn't mean, necessarily, being "unable." If anything, being of a certain age can bring patience, which, when mixed with thought and thoughtfulness, can bring about a methodicalness that can lead to previously unattainable success in problem-solving of all sorts, including ferreting out clues for this type of search. That being said, however, I personally, I think she just got "lucky," if you can call it lucky finding a dead body. I think it's just another "random" element in this book O'Nan wrote. It could have been anyone by any name who found the remains...it just happes it was Mimi. She just happend, for whatever her personal agenda was, to keep looking and she happended to look in the right place.
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters



LucyintheOC wrote:
Hear, hear Everyman! I think our some of our fellow First Look posters misinterpreted bentley's post and his observations. I think what bentley said has a great deal of validity.
 


Thank you Lucy.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters


bentley wrote:


LucyintheOC wrote:
Hear, hear Everyman! I think our some of our fellow First Look posters misinterpreted bentley's post and his observations. I think what bentley said has a great deal of validity.


Thank you Lucy.



No misinterpretation, Lucy. There was just a conversation and a discussion there that I hadn't seen yet on these boards and that this story begged to bring forward. I thank everyone for their thoughtful statements.

I have posted elsewhere about how easy it is to forget to keep that gas tank filled with gas, even in areas vulnerable in one way or another, or those extra gallons of water in the house. My husband encouraged our son to attend a small city university, but the prime danger in NYC in 2001 did not turn out to be the street crime that had primarily concerned his Dad. A friend called from Washington, DC, after the first Tower was hit and before the second, to ask me where our son was on September 11, since she knew he had summer work in the Financial District. Another friend credits her life to the hesitation she had had in selecting her breakfast drink that morning.

When we had the conversations about questionable decisions by the Larsen family, ones that I don't believe we discussed were those around safety for three lovely young women working at a late night gas station just off an Interstate in Midwestern American. (And yet we can guess that the take-home pay may have been better than tips at the local diner.) My community here still has an unsolved murder arising from someone being able to make an easy escape from a local gas station years ago -- and it is not a high visibility gas stop.

Oh, I just noticed that Nina and Kim used fake name tags -- was there a bit of the kind of protection we are talking about here on their part that they could do without admitting to it? And O'Nan has certainly alluded to elements of these dangers, such as "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." It was one of the spots I admired his writing -- the contrast of an "positive trait" being also a dangerous one.

I had rather expected the "Adult Paradise" just across the PA line to re-appear somewhere in the search story, especially given the implied fate of Kim and the Midwestern, just off the Interstate, setting. For reasons entirely unrelated to SFTM, I visited Jim Dobson's site today and have come away reflecting on the attitudes expressed towards human abilities to control basic drives.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Contributor
chickletta
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎04-10-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

Mimi to me was one of the real-er characters, but very poorly fleshed out. Fact is there are weirdos like that who join searches. How successful they are is probably moot. I wanted to know what was her motivation for the search, why it was so central to her life that she says that it kept her alive. Had she lost someone? Where did all that weirdness come from? O'Nan didn't fully delve into her character.
 
Also some earlier posters are right. The Killer Next Door and last few chapters seem hurried, as if O'Nan himself was in a hurry to get done with the book. It seemed as if a lot was happening - finding the killer, finding the body but strangely enough the one feeling everyone seems to be feeling is relief, some sort of closure. What about mirroring real life where people become totally unhinged by tragedies of this sort?
 
I tried hard to like this book, I really did, but I kept getting the feeling that I had missed something important and re-reading older portions of the book for clues, but of course nothing was there.
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters



Peppermill wrote:

bentley wrote:


LucyintheOC wrote:
Hear, hear Everyman! I think our some of our fellow First Look posters misinterpreted bentley's post and his observations. I think what bentley said has a great deal of validity.


Thank you Lucy.



No misinterpretation, Lucy. There was just a conversation and a discussion there that I hadn't seen yet on these boards and that this story begged to bring forward. I thank everyone for their thoughtful statements.



Actually Peppermill in all due respect since I was on the receiving end; I can assure you that my comment was misinterpreted. I do not think that my comment had anything to do with the interpretation that was made; there was a distinct difference. I did the best that I could in making the case for the distinction; but I do thank Everyman and Lucy for seeing the difference and helping me out. There was never any implication on my part to blame the victim.

Yes, I agree that our world is a dangerous place and deserves caution; and as I mentioned O'Nan cited that the police noted that her schedule could have been a contributing factor. Not being terribly enthusiastic about SFTM characters (especially the parents) and this being a book of fiction, I think hypothesizing about what might have been probably is pointless; they all had their imperfections and in that community at that time they did what they thought they were supposed to do; neither Fran nor Ed could live the life for their child; and usually the parents are the last to know when a son or daughter is flirting with danger.

The book may send a signal to parents to be more alert to some of the dangers that are not so apparent and maybe try to be more proactive with your offspring; but I think to try to read those kind of subliminal messages into the book's framework might be over reaching.

It does sometimes make for an interesting sidebar for discussion though.
Contributor
chickletta
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎04-10-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

Yes, the ending was definitely rushed. I felt like the author needed to get away from the book asap. I couldn't get past the fact that everyone seemed so relieved. Sometimes when you've been through a prolonged crisis, when the end or closure event comes, you feel cheated and distraught in your own way, because now you really have nothing to do. I'm surprised none of them felt that way.
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters



Everyman wrote:
bentley wrote:... I never blame a victim for whatever happened to her; ... My original comment (which I stand by) was in relationship to the risky behaviors that placed Kim in dangerous situations where she could be potentially in danger, ...

That's an important distinction. Recognizing that someone has made choices that put them at risk is a very different thing from blaming them for what happens to them. Blame is pointless. Understanding the risks of certain behaviors is an essential aspect of learning and of teaching our children to live safer lives.

I think one reason this book resonated so strongly with me is because of the ages of Kim and Lindsey.  The kinds of choices you are talking about making are choices made by adults--new territory for Kim.  My friend tells me that there is a study or two out there that show that a person's reasoning and decision making is not fully matured until well into his or her 20s.  People that age think they are invincible and have not yet seen enough "bad stuff" in the world to put their choices into perspective. That is a scary thought to this mom of teenagers! 
 
Kim is living a very independent life, and perhaps makes what we would call some risky choices.  That is going to be the case for almost all teenagers and young adults, unfortunately.  And as Peppermill points out, even some of her non-risky choices may have led to her abduction.
 
I heard this analogy once:  If I walk around a crowded area waving a $100 bill in the air and someone takes it--it is still theft.  (But a wise person doesn't wave it around!)
 
As a parent of kids/young adults this age I walk a fine line between protecting and sheltering them while also trying to scare the you-know-what out of them!  As they get older I make sure they know more about the evil people can do.  It is hard to find the balance.
 
Ann, bookhunter
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters


bentley wrote: ....
Actually Peppermill in all due respect since I was on the receiving end; I can assure you that my comment was misinterpreted. I do not think that my comment had anything to do with the interpretation that was made; there was a distinct difference. I did the best that I could in making the case for the distinction; but I do thank Everyman and Lucy for seeing the difference and helping me out. There was never any implication on my part to blame the victim....





Bentley -- I can understand that you considered my posing the question I did as a misinterpretation of what you said, and perhaps I should apologize for that. However, if you note carefully, I never made that accusation. I simply used a statement you made to open up a conversation that I thought could be interesting and at least of interest, if not valuable, here.

All too often, when people make statements such as the ones you were making, they are indeed "blame". I could see the distinctions you were making, but I wanted the conversation here to make that obvious. At the time, I did not know whether you or someone entirely different might respond.

This conversation has been quite like similar ones I regularly provoke in face-to-face book group discussions. If I have been impolite here, I do apologize for that.

Pepper
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters



Peppermill wrote:

bentley wrote: ....
Actually Peppermill in all due respect since I was on the receiving end; I can assure you that my comment was misinterpreted. I do not think that my comment had anything to do with the interpretation that was made; there was a distinct difference. I did the best that I could in making the case for the distinction; but I do thank Everyman and Lucy for seeing the difference and helping me out. There was never any implication on my part to blame the victim....





Bentley -- I can understand that you considered my posing the question I did as a misinterpretation of what you said, and perhaps I should apologize for that. However, if you note carefully, I never made that accusation. I simply used a statement you made to open up a conversation that I thought could be interesting and at least of interest, if not valuable, here.

All too often, when people make statements such as the ones you were making, they are indeed "blame". I could see the distinctions you were making, but I wanted the conversation here to make that obvious. At the time, I did not know whether you or someone entirely different might respond.

This conversation has been quite like similar ones I regularly provoke in face-to-face book group discussions. If I have been impolite here, I do apologize for that.

Pepper




Thank you for your apology.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

[ Edited ]
I have tried writing this umpteen times and erased it twice and am simply w/o words. Let me leave it there.

Pepper

Message Edited by Peppermill on 06-25-2008 10:13 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Contributor
katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters

Bentley said: But I do think we know that she made some risky choices which could have potentially placed her in an environment where there is an increased risk of trouble of some kind.

My reaction: Absolutely ! I think the behaviors of Kim that made her vulnerable set up the book's central mystery. Why, why, why.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters


katknit wrote:
Bentley said: But I do think we know that she made some risky choices which could have potentially placed her in an environment where there is an increased risk of trouble of some kind.

My reaction: Absolutely ! I think the behaviors of Kim that made her vulnerable set up the book's central mystery. Why, why, why.




KatKnit -- and if it had been your daughter or mine (and I don't have one), would/could we have identified (either before or afterwards) the risky behaviors that placed her in danger? I suspect we could. There is an element of truth to the view that no one is ever a victim, as abhorrent and untruthful as that view can be when distorted.

Where O'Nan's writing was strong (and land knows that I have expressed in these threads that I don't consider it uniformly strong), it was in creating that ambiguity about cause and effect -- and the control we can or do exercise. Those early passages about how rapidly Kim could be miles and miles away will probably always haunt me. I also am haunted by people like Wade and how we as a society can or cannot protect ourselves and our loved ones -- as well as Wade himself. I remember well in the small community where I grew up my Mother telling me to avoid certain people, without ever telling me the "why." Only now can I look back and make some guesses. But, her knowledge was in some senses a luxury no longer available in many of the places we find ourselves living.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Final Chapters



bookhunter wrote:


Everyman wrote:
bentley wrote:... I never blame a victim for whatever happened to her; ... My original comment (which I stand by) was in relationship to the risky behaviors that placed Kim in dangerous situations where she could be potentially in danger, ...

That's an important distinction. Recognizing that someone has made choices that put them at risk is a very different thing from blaming them for what happens to them. Blame is pointless. Understanding the risks of certain behaviors is an essential aspect of learning and of teaching our children to live safer lives.

I think one reason this book resonated so strongly with me is because of the ages of Kim and Lindsey.  The kinds of choices you are talking about making are choices made by adults--new territory for Kim.  My friend tells me that there is a study or two out there that show that a person's reasoning and decision making is not fully matured until well into his or her 20s.  People that age think they are invincible and have not yet seen enough "bad stuff" in the world to put their choices into perspective. That is a scary thought to this mom of teenagers! 
 
Kim is living a very independent life, and perhaps makes what we would call some risky choices.  That is going to be the case for almost all teenagers and young adults, unfortunately.  And as Peppermill points out, even some of her non-risky choices may have led to her abduction.
 
I heard this analogy once:  If I walk around a crowded area waving a $100 bill in the air and someone takes it--it is still theft.  (But a wise person doesn't wave it around!)
 
As a parent of kids/young adults this age I walk a fine line between protecting and sheltering them while also trying to scare the you-know-what out of them!  As they get older I make sure they know more about the evil people can do.  It is hard to find the balance.
 
Ann, bookhunter


I think you hit upon an important point in mentioning balance, Ann, because it occurs to me (and I'm partially playing devil's advocate here, I admit) that a little bit of risky behavior might actually make a teen more aware of the possible danger in the world. More aware, at least, than a completely innocent and naive teen would be...
 
I don't mean to imply that Kim's activities were beneficial -- obviously dabbling in drugs is not an ideal way to acquire street smarts! But I was certainly glad to see Lindsay eventually allowed some breathing room and independence.

Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online: 45 members 664 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: