Reply
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran


Jeanie0522 wrote:her.
Sorry, still cannot figure out how to comment to a specific post. This post is in response to Viv's last one. I've tried, but it appears that brain surgery would be easier for me to learn than copying a post! I'm off to see if B&N has any medical books I can purchase.


Message Edited by Jeanie0522 on 06-03-2008 07:01 PM


Jeanie, sorry, we should have said something the first time you mentioned that. To reply to a specific quote, just click the reply button on that post and when you write your reply, if you want their post to appear in your reply, look up at the right corner of where you are writing, to where it says, "quote post". Then when you are through, click on "preview post" at the bottom of your writing, to see how it looks with both. If you dont want all of the post you are replying to on there, you can cut out whatever you want where you write, because it will be there, before you hit submit. Try it a few times, always previewing first before you submit and you will see if you got the post and your reply together like you want it. Hope that helps and sorry it took some time to mention that. :smileywink: Now, I am going to hit the quote post, put yours in here, and cut it down to this question hehe.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Frequent Contributor
Jeanie0522
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎12-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Fran



vivico1 wrote:

Jeanie0522 wrote:her.
Sorry, still cannot figure out how to comment to a specific post. This post is in response to Viv's last one. I've tried, but it appears that brain surgery would be easier for me to learn than copying a post! I'm off to see if B&N has any medical books I can purchase.


Message Edited by Jeanie0522 on 06-03-2008 07:01 PM


Jeanie, sorry, we should have said something the first time you mentioned that. To reply to a specific quote, just click the reply button on that post and when you write your reply, if you want their post to appear in your reply, look up at the right corner of where you are writing, to where it says, "quote post". Then when you are through, click on "preview post" at the bottom of your writing, to see how it looks with both. If you dont want all of the post you are replying to on there, you can cut out whatever you want where you write, because it will be there, before you hit submit. Try it a few times, always previewing first before you submit and you will see if you got the post and your reply together like you want it. Hope that helps and sorry it took some time to mention that. :smileywink: Now, I am going to hit the quote post, put yours in here, and cut it down to this question hehe.

Vivian:  Thank you!!!:smileyhappy:
Frequent Contributor
the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

[ Edited ]


KxBurns wrote:
What did you think Fran, Kim's mother? How does Fran change as a result of the events of the novel? Can you pinpoint any particular moments of transformation?
 
Discuss Fran's strengths and weaknesses and how they are heightened or minimized by the loss of Kim.
 
-Karen


I only made it to the second page before writing so please excuse this entry if the thread went in a different direction.  Can we look at Fran before the disappearance?  She is a mother of two teenage daughters who don't particularly want her looking over their shoulders and so is finding the balance with that.  She works and her husband's business is rocky.  She and her husband satelite each other in their daily routine.  The household finances are depressing and her special dinner is grilled barbecue chicken where the sauce is straight out of the bottle.  I find her to be a typical working mom who is getting thru her day being mediocre at most things.  I do not hold any of this against her.  Fran has many balls in the air and she's not juggling them so well.  But here is the key-Isn't this what is expected of moms today?  Moms must do it all!   Yet there's no way they can do it all well!  Therefore, Fran at the beginning of the story is an average mom to me who isn't a great decision maker.  I think that is her greatest weakness. 
 
Kim's loss heightens this when Fran turns to the internet (which any fan of The Office will remember as being so not expert advice).  The pagentry of "finding the missing" is worse than the ritual of funerals.  From the plastic bracelet to that awful balloon ceremony I thought to myself..."Is this what's expected of moms in these cases?"  It's insane-and yet Fran followed the outlines on websites without stopping to think "Is this right?  Does this make sense?"
 
As for moments of transformations, I would have said yes if Fran had returned all those Christmas gifts she couldn't afford.  (I was so disappointed when she didn't).   

 
(This book is so different from 'They Were The Mulvaneys' which I loved for the sheer volume of emotion packed between two covers.  I may have to read that again and do some compare/contrast.)


Message Edited by the_mad_chatter on 06-03-2008 09:40 PM
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran


Jeanie0522 wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Jeanie0522 wrote:her.
Sorry, still cannot figure out how to comment to a specific post. This post is in response to Viv's last one. I've tried, but it appears that brain surgery would be easier for me to learn than copying a post! I'm off to see if B&N has any medical books I can purchase.


Message Edited by Jeanie0522 on 06-03-2008 07:01 PM


Jeanie, sorry, we should have said something the first time you mentioned that. To reply to a specific quote, just click the reply button on that post and when you write your reply, if you want their post to appear in your reply, look up at the right corner of where you are writing, to where it says, "quote post". Then when you are through, click on "preview post" at the bottom of your writing, to see how it looks with both. If you dont want all of the post you are replying to on there, you can cut out whatever you want where you write, because it will be there, before you hit submit. Try it a few times, always previewing first before you submit and you will see if you got the post and your reply together like you want it. Hope that helps and sorry it took some time to mention that. :smileywink: Now, I am going to hit the quote post, put yours in here, and cut it down to this question hehe.

Vivian: Thank you!!!:smileyhappy:



Hope that all made sense and helps. :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

when my daughter left for college, i remember feeling that i had lost a great purpose in my life. she was and still is very close to me. when my son went off, a couple of years later, the empty nest resounded with silence. however, i did not turn to drink to solve that problem or any other problem in my life. i turned to different interests to fill the void. 
i have never experienced a tragedy of such magnitude as losing a child and hope i never do, but i do know many people who have and they did not turn to liquor or pills. fortunately, they drew on inner strength, family, friends and faith, to get through their suffering.
fran, on the other hand, seems to need a lot of "outside" help just to deal with the stresses of normal life. she needs ambien to sleep and a drink to function while she is awake, and this is on ordinary days. she needs the comfort, input and direction of others, as well. strangely, she does not offer those services to her daughter, but rather allows her to drift away. even more oddly, with that kind of personality, she chose a profession which is very stressful and which requires tremendous inner strength. 
she appears to be very task oriented and devotes herself to solving the problems she deals with in a cool, distant way. she doesn't appear to function with much passion. so far, the only time she seemed to express real emotion and concern was when she prepared for ed's return with the chevette and even then, she held herself back.
when she gave her stadium speech, she appeared calm and collected, purpose driven, and i wondered if she had secretly planned to include lindsay or if she just did so spontaneously because she noticed her efforts to withhold her tears and not break down in public. she finally reached out to her, giving her the comfort she needed, as she should have many times before without the cameras rolling.
i am not judging her as a parent. none of us intentionally sets out to do the wrong thing. we do what we think is best in a situation, most times instinctively, but basically, we all just do what we can and hope for the best. if we had hindsight, we would always know what was right. i just find her weak because she deals with life through the eyes of a bottle and a pill and appears to have done so before this event took place. however, as i read further, i may feel differently about her. i don't think i fully know her yet.

 
Correspondent
streamsong
Posts: 118
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

There's an awful lot of condemnation of Fran for taking sleeping pills. I just don't understand it. She's not abusing them for heaven's sake--she's using them as they are  intended to help her sleep during a crises.
 
As the book goes on, I think Fran is trying to cut down her drinking. When Ed brings the car back, she pats herself on the back for not drinking before 8pm.
 
The only thing I have to say is that the combination of sleeping pills and alcohol can be a fatal combination. Not very bright to mix them.
Contributor
kmfr29
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎12-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

I agree, I think Fran was a complacent mom until Kim's disapperance.  Becoming involved in the search gave her a purpose in the family.
Reader
dkmayle
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-23-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

I have no problem with the sleeping pills...it's one of the things the author got right...it's authentic, it's a standard Rx for a situation like this and makes sense to do rather than compound the problem. I did find Ed's resentment very odd...I suppose it was a way to show us one of the many cracks in this relationship, I'd have thought he would have been glad his wife could get some sleep. It made him seem mean spirited and self centered (which appears to be the whole point of the book-everyone is really only interested in themselves). You're right on about the alcohol/pill combo...it seems like someone would have noticed this considering Fran's hospital connection. I was also really appalled by the lack of care of Lindsay...no counseling? Since the author didn't deem the emotions of the characters as important to the story, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but again, given the hospital connection I would think that would have come up. Spoiler alert...Fran could have saved herself the Ambien if she'd had  the last half of this book to read.
It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.
S I Hayakawa
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

i agree that sleeping pills do have their place, especially in a tragic situation such as this, but i felt that the author hinted that fran used them regularly prior to this nightmare event. using alcohol and drugs to escape can  become problematic. society today seems to prefer quick fixes, soundbites and the easy way out. perhaps a little extra help from a place of worship or support from family and friends to help give the person courage, fortitude and support would be a more positive and helpful approach.
using a drug on occasion is one thing, using it every night is another. fran obviously has a problem since she also "needs" to have her drink by early evening and then downs the entire bottle. this nightly ritual seems to have been an ongoing occurence. 
on another note, couldn't it be a little dangerous to sleep like you are dead to the world? what if a child needed you? what if there was a fire? what if an important call comes through to alert you to an emergency etc.? (although, they have already had the quintessential emergency, haven't they?)
i didn't find ed self centered in response to fran's being totally "out". i thought he felt "left out" and unable to communicate when he needed to do so. there could have been a doll in the bed for all the life she showed. in addition, perhaps he is needy too. why is it only the female who seems to be given a pass on emotional needs and behavior? he seems to have tackled his neediness with various forms of abstinence, an extreme reaction in itself, while she seems to be happily imbibing.
keeping busy seems to be a remedy they both need, to get through this, but they arrive at that need in different ways. perhaps if they could work together they would be able to help each other through it rather than seeming to be working at odds with each other.
at times they feel terribly guilty if they think of anything but kim's disappearance and/or have a normal thought or experience. at other times, they seem to be treating this whole nightmare as if it was happening to someone else. maybe that is the only way they can distance themselves from it. i wonder if that is part of the healing process...

dkmayle wrote:
I have no problem with the sleeping pills...it's one of the things the author got right...it's authentic, it's a standard Rx for a situation like this and makes sense to do rather than compound the problem. I did find Ed's resentment very odd...I suppose it was a way to show us one of the many cracks in this relationship, I'd have thought he would have been glad his wife could get some sleep. It made him seem mean spirited and self centered (which appears to be the whole point of the book-everyone is really only interested in themselves). You're right on about the alcohol/pill combo...it seems like someone would have noticed this considering Fran's hospital connection. I was also really appalled by the lack of care of Lindsay...no counseling? Since the author didn't deem the emotions of the characters as important to the story, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but again, given the hospital connection I would think that would have come up. Spoiler alert...Fran could have saved herself the Ambien if she'd had  the last half of this book to read.




Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran



thewanderingjew wrote:
i agree that sleeping pills do have their place, especially in a tragic situation such as this, but i felt that the author hinted that fran used them regularly prior to this nightmare event. using alcohol and drugs to escape can  become problematic. society today seems to prefer quick fixes, soundbites and the easy way out. perhaps a little extra help from a place of worship or support from family and friends to help give the person courage, fortitude and support would be a more positive and helpful approach.
using a drug on occasion is one thing, using it every night is another. fran obviously has a problem since she also "needs" to have her drink by early evening and then downs the entire bottle. this nightly ritual seems to have been an ongoing occurence. 
on another note, couldn't it be a little dangerous to sleep like you are dead to the world? what if a child needed you? what if there was a fire? what if an important call comes through to alert you to an emergency etc.? (although, they have already had the quintessential emergency, haven't they?)
i didn't find ed self centered in response to fran's being totally "out". i thought he felt "left out" and unable to communicate when he needed to do so. there could have been a doll in the bed for all the life she showed. in addition, perhaps he is needy too. why is it only the female who seems to be given a pass on emotional needs and behavior? he seems to have tackled his neediness with various forms of abstinence, an extreme reaction in itself, while she seems to be happily imbibing.
keeping busy seems to be a remedy they both need, to get through this, but they arrive at that need in different ways. perhaps if they could work together they would be able to help each other through it rather than seeming to be working at odds with each other.
at times they feel terribly guilty if they think of anything but kim's disappearance and/or have a normal thought or experience. at other times, they seem to be treating this whole nightmare as if it was happening to someone else. maybe that is the only way they can distance themselves from it. i wonder if that is part of the healing process...

dkmayle wrote:
I have no problem with the sleeping pills...it's one of the things the author got right...it's authentic, it's a standard Rx for a situation like this and makes sense to do rather than compound the problem. I did find Ed's resentment very odd...I suppose it was a way to show us one of the many cracks in this relationship, I'd have thought he would have been glad his wife could get some sleep. It made him seem mean spirited and self centered (which appears to be the whole point of the book-everyone is really only interested in themselves). You're right on about the alcohol/pill combo...it seems like someone would have noticed this considering Fran's hospital connection. I was also really appalled by the lack of care of Lindsay...no counseling? Since the author didn't deem the emotions of the characters as important to the story, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but again, given the hospital connection I would think that would have come up. Spoiler alert...Fran could have saved herself the Ambien if she'd had  the last half of this book to read.







I really think we need to read deeper than the words on the page. Has anyone here ever had a child missing?
I never have either but it seems  that if it did, I wouldn't have any sense at all about me. I might take a dozen pills or drink for the comfort of it and I do not either one normally. Fran did do this before the missing child incident but it was a greater amount than before. Some people have weaker constitutions than others. Fran, maybe, the pain was so dramatic, she couldn't care for Lindsay as she should.  And maybe taking the sleeping pills, she was trying to drown out the pain and no, she didnt consider her other child. But hey, I am not certain I could act any different. Alot of times this sort of drama will make a person numb and they can go on and later on she did get caught up in the search. And maybe the drugs and wine were lessoned by her involvement in the search. But I feel the empthany for Fran.  I feel a stab at the heart just thinking on this happening to me.
Correspondent
streamsong
Posts: 118
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

Yes, there is evidence in the story that Fran was overusing alcohol and  using sleeping pills even before Kim's disappearance. But there is no evidence that there was ever any harm from either practice. Perscription sleeping pills are not street drugs.
 
One of the recurring themes in the book is perfection/imperfection--what we expect of ourselves and others. Fran wasn't perfect. Her marriage wasn't without flaws. Neither daughter was perfect. Ed wasn't perfect. Kim's friends don't give perfectly truthful responses to the police.
 
In later chapters, Lindsay gives voice to the perfection she expects of herself in the driving test. Fran no longer worries if by going to work some people will see her as being 'not a perfect mother'. Ed wishes that he had been the one who perservered instead of Mimi. (trying not to give too many spoilers for those who haven't gotten to the end). In a perfect world, other people would have not have forgotten Kim and left the stands during the Thanksgiving halftime event.
 
But not a single 'perfect' reaction would have changed the outcome.
 
 

 

thewanderingjew wrote:
i agree that sleeping pills do have their place, especially in a tragic situation such as this, but i felt that the author hinted that fran used them regularly prior to this nightmare event. using alcohol and drugs to escape can  become problematic. society today seems to prefer quick fixes, soundbites and the easy way out. perhaps a little extra help from a place of worship or support from family and friends to help give the person courage, fortitude and support would be a more positive and helpful approach.
Frequent Contributor
the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

Whether we agree or disagree on Fran's alchohol/ambien use...I feel that Stewart used Fran and Ed to make us question parenting today.  Here is a typical family in middle america and look how they -and in extension, us!- deal with this trauma.  Internet checklists, "produced" pleas for help (the blouse selection scene was a subtle scene but certainly elicited a reaction from me) and a "musak" theme song for the missing.  CRAZY!  I don't see Fran as becoming stronger as the search goes on.  I just see her becoming a more concentrated version of herself-which was not a good thing at the beginning of the story and certainly not a good thing at the end.
 
Parenting today is crazy.   I think Stewart is asking us to think about what matters and prioritize our lives.  Then live our lives without worring about being "media darlings".
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

We're all making comments on how Fran & Ed reacted. How do you feel that you would act in their position? Particularly Fran since this is her section.

As a mother I'd like to think that I would be propelled in action but in those lonely dark hours between dusk & dawn I think that I may too loook for a way to escape the horrific thoughts going on in mind.

Jo
Frequent Contributor
the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

Well what are the 5 stages of grief?  Did Fran hit them all?
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

The five stages of grief are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

Fran is a nurse and needs to act within the situation, not react.  It's what we (yes I am an RN) are taught in nursing school.  Plan, Do, Act.  is a mantra you are taught as a student nurse, and Fran has done that.  I've seen parents in similar situations where they feel helpless but need to function by doing.  It doesn't matter the task as long as they feel useful and that they are contributing to the greater good.  When you are waiting, minutes become endless and you want to do anything to quiet your fears, this is where I think the author showed (and quite well)  how different people respond to the same circumstance differently.  Ed fears the worst, but needs to go out and look so he can justify that at least he did something even if only to himself.  Fran needs to keep busy so she starts the "To-Do" list with the help of Connie and she starts the ball rolling with the flyer.  I loved how they (Fran & Connie) were so confident that their way forward was the best way.  She was so focused on the dogs, that the reason to delay using the dogs went beyond her initially.  Her relationship with Lindsay baffles me as she seems treat her almost as an intrusion during this time.
I think Stewart got the mother-daughter angst theme down quite well.  I can remember some pretty good fights with my own mom at this age.
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

I found it ironic that both Fran & Ed thought that Kim got her wild side from each of them without ever looking at the other person. 
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

I thought that the family as a whole, Fran, Ed, Kim, Lindsey and Cooper were represented as a typical normal family of the early 21st century.  Both parents working, kids essentially raising kids, and a little wine everynight in the burbs is pretty much typical.  Busy lives coming to a standstill when something bad happens helps this family reflect on the lives they've been leading and what they were lacking.  It's a reminder to the reader to slow down, listen and learn about the people in your family.
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
Frequent Contributor
the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

I agree C-lady!
Contributor
pjmanley41
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fran

What did you think Fran, Kim's mother? How does Fran change as a result of the events of the novel? Can you pinpoint any particular moments of transformation?

I didn't think she was "real" enough. I could not feel her pain. Even though I know every one deals with loss differently and since I am undemonstrative myself I did not expect big dramatic scenes of her falling apart. But a big long cry in the shower would have gone a long way toward making me feel like she was human. I truly did not see any transformation, she was any organizer and she simply transferred her current talents toward the search for her daughter.
Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online:68 members 420 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: