06-03-2008 12:53 PM
BookWoman718 wrote:Yes, UNLESS WE HAVE BEEN THERE that is a powerful statement, that is so very true! If you have never had teenagers, you do not know the human strain, it is on parents to quizzibly wonder if they are making the right moves. No one knows for sure, they are doing the right or wrong thing when it comes to teenagers. I don't think just being a teenager upt teen yrs ago does not make you knowledgeable on what or how to raise teens. Its a one day at a time scenio that takes all the patience in the world and then some more. And alot of times, people fail, but hey, we are all human.
book hunter wrote:
Ouch, ouch, bentley! You and many others are making me feel like I need to come to Fran's defense. I found a lot in common with her. It is very hard for me to transition from being the MOM all the time to being the mom of these young women that have suddenly appeared in my house. (My girls are exactly where Kim and Lindsey are in the book--even down to the driving practice. We don't have a DQ in our small town--it is a Sonic.) I don't THINK there are any drug secrets lurking in their lives, but I am sure there ARE things I don't know about.
I have to allow them some freedom to make their own decisions and can't hover over every move they make. The girls in the novel are sort of laughing at mom saying "just stay out of the police logs" but that is about where I am with my girls. I often say exactly what Fran said...call if you go anywhere else.
And I watch the news (and read novels!) that make me fear there is a dangerous stranger lurking around every corner just waiting for them. Do I lock them in the tower until they are grown (as I often threaten to do...) or do I hold my breath, say a prayer and let them have some freedom?
I also think these first impressions of Fran are seen through the eyes of Kim and Lindsey. What teen doesn't make a little fun of their folks? Mine just called me a "nerd" for sitting here at the beach on the computer participating in an online bookclub discussion!
PS I am editing this to add that I don't mean to get into an arguement about what the best parenting methods are! It was remarkable to me that Fran and her situation was so like me in many ways, but I really won't take it personally that you all don't like her! The book isn't about me!
Message Edited by bookhunter on 06-02-2008 11:15 PM
Ann, I just wanted to say that I tend to fall in line with your way of thinking about Fran. Having finished a while ago raising my own two kids and four steps, I agree that they need to be allowed to start finding their own way before that fateful fall day when you install them in their first dormitory room at college. They have to be allowed to MAKE some mistakes before they can learn from them. There’s a term that’s applied to many of today’s parents - ‘helicopter moms’ - always hovering. I saw a news show awhile back with some extreme examples, like the mom who calls her daughter at college every morning to wake her up, and keeps calling back time after time until she’s sure the ‘girl’ is up. And here I thought the idea was to raise responsible adults…
If Fran or Ed weren’t waiting up for 15 year-old Lindsey, that’s a problem. But for her to wait up every night, sacrificing her own sleep and job performance, for a young adult daughter, is equally a problem. Who’s going to be waiting up for her in three more months? Do you think colleges still act in loco parentis? Of course, Fran and Ed could set more boundaries since Kim is still in ‘their‘ house; hopefully they did when she was younger. But O’Nan sets the stage so that there’s no indication that Kim has disappeared because of anything her parents did or didn’t do. She made it home OK, she was on her way to work despite feeling like a day off. Acting responsibly. The idea that we as parents are responsible for everything that can happen to a young adult child is just wishful thinking. “If we just pay enough attention, do everything right, stay connected (despite the fact that kids should be learning how to DISCONNECT at that age), keep our marriages sound, etc. etc., then everything will be all right” We will be in control of the bad things that could affect an adult child’s life, as we were in her early childhood. That’s wrong. We won’t, we can’t, we shouldn’t be.
Fran does what needs to be done about Kim’s disappearance: tries to keep it in the public view. Everyone today is aware that media attention can be the key to locating a missing person. Ed wants to find her himself, that too is understandable, if a somewhat naïve and emotional reaction. But if Fran can inspire hundreds of people to look, to watch for Kim’s car, to keep her face in mind, who is more likely to be ultimately successful? I don’t like the way either of them overlooks Lindsey and her pain. I’ve never been in that situation for a prolonged period myself, so I can only hope that I never would have done that. But it happens when one child is emotionally disturbed, or chronically ill, or drug-addicted, or whatever. You give where you see the most dire need, and you almost can’t bring yourself to devote significant time to what seem to be the lesser needs of other kids, or a spouse.
As readers, we so much want to find Kim, to learn what happened to her, what went wrong, who might have been involved. We share, in a very minor way, what her parents and friends are going through. Unless we have been there, we dare not judge too harshly.
Regarding humanness, I think that Fran was so wrapped up in her schedule and her clipboard life that living in the present would have been too much reality for her to handle. Relating to teenagers sometimes takes more attention than relating to infants and their care and feeding. I for one never thought that Fran was worried one iota about her own right or wrong moves because she wrapped herself so much in her schedule that she did not have time to even think about it. Where was the patience that Fran had; even in chapter one O'Nan did not say that was her calling card; it was Ed that O'Nan said had the calmer approach and the patience in helping the girls learn to drive. Fran's mind was on autopilot much like her marriage was and the raising of her two daughters. I do not think she was the type of woman who wanted to be bothered with the details of life or what her daughters were experiencing or not. Where would she have gotten the time?
The event is bound to change anyone including Fran and everyone in the family had to deal with it in one fashion or another and it definately is one of the most feared or dreaded experiences that anyone could ever go through. But how all of us would have handled this horrendous situation or would have handled our girls or husband doesn't relate (IMHO) to how Fran has disconnected herself from her family life. She has barriers built around her a mile high and I do not think she even knows it.
I see Fran as being as dead inside as her emotionless relationships. She went through the motions; but never jumped in feet first. Maybe my feelings about her will grow or change but what she is or is not right now is very clear.
All of us would have handled things different from each other and I think the majority of us probably would have connected more with our families before the incident in ways that Fran could never muster.
06-03-2008 01:18 PM
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06-03-2008 02:44 PM
06-03-2008 02:48 PM
mwinasu wrote:Frans' drinking problem seems to be tacked on to her character in order to flesh her out a little. She does not respond to stress the way a highly functioning alcoholic would. Most drunks would have used the situation to pickle themselves. The father acts more like a drunk than the mother.
06-03-2008 02:53 PM
Excellent -- I was waiting for someone to highlight that passage!
I agree with those who said different types of people will react differently in tragic situations. I don't see Fran as self-absorbed. I see her as trying to fill her role as best as she knows how. For example, in the Victimology chapter on page 23 we see....."At work she'd filled out these forms from the other side of the desk, documenting the unconscious and unidentified, translating the painful and life-changing into the bloodless acronyms of emergency medicine. As a professional she honored calmness above all, trusting efficiency over emotion. She didn't want to be the hysterical mother, demanding her child be seen immediately, but it felt like they were wasting time. They should be out searching for her."..........her thoughts as they fill out police forms.Librarian
Message Edited by Librarian on 06-02-2008 08:07 PM
06-03-2008 03:04 PM
bookhunter wrote:Bently, I know you say you haven't read the book all the way through, so I definitely want you to come back and revisit your thoughts on Fran when you finish. I want to know if you change your perception. Maybe my view is different because I have finished to book and "traveled" a little further with herI don't want you to perceive this as a spoiler, because any book should show further charachter development and journey. I won't reveal where Fran's journey takes her.Ann,bookhunter
Bookhunter, of course that is why I prefaced my remarks that I am open to changing my mind about Fran; but in terms of where I think she was in terms of emotional IQ pre Kim's devastating event; I think I know how I feel about her. As far as how she develops or changes post Kim's disappearance I am digesting that and will update if I change my mind. But I do agree with you on one point regarding Fran..she and the entire family are on a journey because Kim's missing status changes everybody profoundly even more than her presence had. I am honestly not reading other folks comments in these sections unless one of my postings is cited or addresses one of my comments in any way. I so do not want to have my reading experience compromised. And I do understand that your perspective could and may be different about Fran; but I am wondering if our views on her weren't different even at the beginning during the pre-Kim missing stage. I will of course come back and let you know as I read further. But I see her as not being in touch with her feelings and emotional connections pre Kim's tragic departure. We will see and I think that is the beauty of reading a book...we all have our own reading experiences and connections.
06-03-2008 03:17 PM - edited 06-03-2008 03:19 PM
Message Edited by Jeanie0522 on 06-03-2008 02:19 PM
06-03-2008 03:22 PM
06-03-2008 03:26 PM
06-03-2008 03:34 PM
I think Fran seemed a little nutty from the get go, but I liked her. She was self-absorbed, annoying at times, but also a champion for the cause. Eventually she showed strength and confidence that she probably hadn't had before Kim's disappearance. Her personality, character, marriage and even personal appearance evolved. At one point, I believe it was Nina, internally, noticed the dramatic changes in Fran. While Ed was pulling away, Fran was trying to pull him back in. In the beginning of this story I don't think she would have tried so hard to get close to Ed again. Like, the fishing trip.
06-03-2008 03:49 PM
I think it might be useful to bear in mind that she was already dealing with a major change before the story opens - her eldest daughter was going away to college. She was probably already in turmoil emotionally over what that change would mean in her life.
KxBurns wrote:Wow, so interesting that we have two opposing takes on Fran. Some of you find her too needy and a little weak, relying on sleeping pills and alcohol. Others find her not emotional enough, too disconnected from her family, because she doesn't fall apart when Kim goes missing.
06-03-2008 05:46 PM
S I Hayakawa
06-03-2008 06:00 PM
dkmayle wrote:I think the problem with Fran may have been more a problem with the author. There was very little introspection on any of the character's parts. I desperately wanted to care about someone in the book (even if only to dislike them) but the characters never developed past one dimensional. It even seemed like the book itself couldn't decide what it wanted to be. The section on the initial official search had the most truth in it, as if it had been thouroughly researched. That's the part that hooked me. We never really think about how that would be, yet there are definate procedures in place. This was a chance for us to see how that plays out and the author did it well. But what about the emotional aspects? It just did not share. I really didn't care that much about any of the characters because the author didn't give me the opportunity to know them very well. I don't expect every author to be Jodi Piccoult but in a book such as this one, I expect at least an attempt to show more than obligatory emotions. The switching around (POV) was clumsy, but the characters were so one dimensional it was more of an irritation than anything. I just couldn't believe the characters had such flat emotions and were so uninvolved in their own lives.
Amen! This is the problem with the book. There are some good chapters, mostly the first few, cause its the details of the people and things we need to know, then it goes flat. This could just as well be a daily news update by a third person saying, "Ed was said to be and feel this way today, Fran was said to be this way today, each is handling things in their own way, more later". There are a few well written things later, I was actually more interested in Ed back at work when he goes to check out the house he has taken on to sell, than about the abduction by this point! This isn't solely about Fran so might be better on some other thread about it, but several of us have said this, and it could be said on any thread about any of these characters so might as well be here. I feel O'Nan wrote a good book but cheated us out of any real feelings about the people involved and thats the whole point of this book, not what is happening to Kim, but these people who are left to deal with her missing and they are all so flat!
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
06-03-2008 07:09 PM
06-03-2008 07:31 PM
Nice point. But Cooper did eventually realize that Kim was gone and stopped trying to head butt her door open, instead opting to sleep with Lindsay.
hannah7299 wrote:I almost saw a similar connection between the behavior of Fran and Cooper after Kim disappeared. They were both bewildered and needy.
06-03-2008 07:56 PM - edited 06-03-2008 08:01 PM
Message Edited by Jeanie0522 on 06-03-2008 07:01 PM