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Kellarmom
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-14-2008
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Re: Fran

I think that the reason I dislike Fran may be linked to how hard it is for me to see myself mobilized in the way she was. Of course, never having had a child go missing, I can only assume the way I would react but I do not believe I would wany to be at the center of a publicity circus. The idea of making and selling T-shirts really turned me off. Maybe even more importantly, the idea of ever being in Fran's shoes scares me to death so I am judging her behavior more harshly.  
 
 
 
Peppermill wrote:  Can those of you who say you "dislike Fran" expand on the whys?
To me, those words seem so judgmental, so without empathy -- and not particularly empathy for the situation she finds herself in, but just empathy for her as a person. Why? If willing, help me understand.
Postscript -- found this from our moderator on the Search thread. Is this perhaps what a number of you consider your basis for disliking Fran?

Karen wrote: But what I think surprises us -- and turns some people off? -- is how quickly Fran becomes adept at playing the game right back. She knows she must capitalize on media interest in any new development to hammer away at her message, getting Kim's name and face out there. Her ability to manipulate the media might be seen as too calculated to be the product of grief and desperation and love, but I think it is just that.
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the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Fran

How can we consider Fran to be a devoted mother when she was so detached from Lindsey?

wendyroba wrote:
Fran started out as a "typical" working mom - she loves her kids, but is absent a lot, and distracted by other life things...not realizing that things could change in a heartbeat.

After Kim's disappearance she becomes the devoted mother - she almost overdoes it in terms of organizing the campaign to find Kim...but I thought this was realistic. She also seemed to find a new identity as the mother of a missing child (to the detriment, I thought, of the child still there).


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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Fran

Thx for your input, Kellarmom.

Interestingly, my reaction to Fran is that she disliked who she had to become as well. I'm not certain O'Nan's text supports that interpretation. However, that is also the reaction I have to the mother of the girl who was lost in Aruba, though I am not a frequent TV viewer nor have I followed the case closely; I may be mistaken. It was the reaction I had, not immediately, but later, to a woman who lost her son to drugs and went on to be an honored crusader for curbing drug abuse among teenagers in my state.

Sometimes life seems to corner us and say this is what you must be, at least for this portion of your life. And, yes, we really may have a lot more leeway than it seems. Also, sometimes, we allow ourselves to fall into a path that almost inevitably leads particular directions, but we are unaware of those when we enter.

I hear your fear. I have absolutely no idea what I would do faced with such a situation. I pitied Lindsey the pink bracelets she faced on the return to school. Does O'Nan adequately give us clues on actions we could consider to avoid these tragedies -- or is that outside his purposes?

Kellarmom wrote:
I think that the reason I dislike Fran may be linked to how hard it is for me to see myself mobilized in the way she was. Of course, never having had a child go missing, I can only assume the way I would react but I do not believe I would wany to be at the center of a publicity circus. The idea of making and selling T-shirts really turned me off. Maybe even more importantly, the idea of ever being in Fran's shoes scares me to death so I am judging her behavior more harshly.


Peppermill wrote: Can those of you who say you "dislike Fran" expand on the whys?

To me, those words seem so judgmental, so without empathy -- and not particularly empathy for the situation she finds herself in, but just empathy for her as a person. Why? If willing, help me understand.

Postscript -- found this from our moderator on the Search thread. Is this perhaps what a number of you consider your basis for disliking Fran?

Karen wrote: But what I think surprises us -- and turns some people off? -- is how quickly Fran becomes adept at playing the game right back. She knows she must capitalize on media interest in any new development to hammer away at her message, getting Kim's name and face out there. Her ability to manipulate the media might be seen as too calculated to be the product of grief and desperation and love, but I think it is just that.


"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
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the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Fran

I think the media calculation plays a part in my dislike of Fran.  Let me say that I am all for getting the word out!  But the excess, the production team (her two friends), the song, the bracelets, the make up was too much!  I don't see the relevance of these actions especially when Lindsay needed some serious parenting guidance during this time.  Do bracelets really find children?  It feels like passive activism (you know the magnetic ribbons on cars-syndrome).  She's in the medical field and yet her friends don't suggest therapy?  Disappointing.  
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



ROCKETRAY55 wrote:
I have to admit, I dislike Fran.

Whew. I'm not the only one.

I thought she was nicely presented in the early chapters, and really liked the first third or so of the book, but then it bogged down. Fran, in particular, seemed to me to show very little character development. She didn't seem to be changed by the experience, or to come to any better self-awareness or understanding as a result of it. She was just the same person throughout, which got boring after awhile, at least for me.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



Peppermill wrote:
Can those of you who say you "dislike Fran" expand on the whys?


Two levels, for me.

One: as a person, she seemed more interested in all the activity she was involved in and being the center of attention -- almost the drama queen -- than in what had actually happened to Kim. I get the feeling that she cared about Kim more because as her mother she was supposed to care for her than she cared for because of who Kim was as a person.

Two: as a character in the book, I didn't see any character development in her. I didn't see her working through the situation to a better understanding of herself, which is what I want to see the main characters in a serious novel doing.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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abbyg7
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



Everyman wrote:




Two levels, for me.

One: as a person, she seemed more interested in all the activity she was involved in and being the center of attention -- almost the drama queen -- than in what had actually happened to Kim. I get the feeling that she cared about Kim more because as her mother she was supposed to care for her than she cared for because of who Kim was as a person.


I agree with this and think it's why I wasn't fond of Fran either.  It somehow seemed that at times she did things more to call attention to herself, to make herself the center of attention.  One example that I remember(and can't find right now) was when they were releasing balloons and Fran held hers until everyone's was gone.  There was some mention made of her "Statue of Liberty pose" and how it made her separate and different.  I got the feeling that she was saying "look at me, see what a tragic thing is happening to me, this is all about me". 
.
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Fran

Thanks to so many of you who so thoughtfully expanded on the bases for your feelings towards Fran.

While I saw her as an "ordinary woman" who got dragged into an extraordinary situation, I never made the jump to seeing her as a "drama queen," although I can see why she, or any other mother who takes on these activities, can easily be perceived that way. To me, in her bewilderment and numbness, she, with the encouragement of her friends and the nature of today's communication media, found herself in a situation where she had to step up to some "established ways" of doing things. She may have had some natural proclivities that made all that seem self-serving. But, I happen to agree with the way our moderator put it: "Her ability to manipulate the media might be seen as too calculated to be the product of grief and desperation and love, but I think it is just that."

Although Fran didn't necessarily "grow" in any spectacular ways, she and Ed did sustain their marriage. I believe that studies show it is quite common for the death of a child, let alone so violent a death, to sunder many families, so I give Fran (and Ed) credit for that.



Everyman wrote:


Peppermill wrote:
Can those of you who say you "dislike Fran" expand on the whys?


Two levels, for me.

One: as a person, she seemed more interested in all the activity she was involved in and being the center of attention -- almost the drama queen -- than in what had actually happened to Kim. I get the feeling that she cared about Kim more because as her mother she was supposed to care for her than she cared for because of who Kim was as a person.

Two: as a character in the book, I didn't see any character development in her. I didn't see her working through the situation to a better understanding of herself, which is what I want to see the main characters in a serious novel doing.

"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
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



abbyg7 wrote:


Everyman wrote:




Two levels, for me.

One: as a person, she seemed more interested in all the activity she was involved in and being the center of attention -- almost the drama queen -- than in what had actually happened to Kim. I get the feeling that she cared about Kim more because as her mother she was supposed to care for her than she cared for because of who Kim was as a person.


I agree with this and think it's why I wasn't fond of Fran either. It somehow seemed that at times she did things more to call attention to herself, to make herself the center of attention. One example that I remember(and can't find right now) was when they were releasing balloons and Fran held hers until everyone's was gone. There was some mention made of her "Statue of Liberty pose" and how it made her separate and different. I got the feeling that she was saying "look at me, see what a tragic thing is happening to me, this is all about me".
.



That's an interesting perspective. I saw the balloon thing as 'although Kim is gone, I'm still here and ready to move on.' Jo
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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Fran

Please, have a little sympathy for this woman.  She's not harming anyone by her actions.  Everyone deals with loss in a different way.  Fran's hands are tied for there are only a limited amount of things she can do to find her daughter, dead or alive.  So what else is there but to use the media and aren't they the willing participants?  Who, doesn't?  Celebrity's, royals, athletes.  They have the power to use it so why can't a distraught mother.  She needs to feel that she has done all she could to bring her daughter back. 
Can you please site where Fran was more interested in being the center of attention, because I just don't see it?  She didn't want to be in front of the camera, she didn't call in the media for the balloon affair.  They just keep coming. 
So, that begs the questions, is it the media who makes instant celebrity's out of nobody's?  Do they grab on to no stories just to fill their 60 minutes of airtime?
 
Sorry if I sound a little abrupt but I just hope you give this woman a break.

Everyman wrote:


Peppermill wrote:
Can those of you who say you "dislike Fran" expand on the whys?


Two levels, for me.

One: as a person, she seemed more interested in all the activity she was involved in and being the center of attention -- almost the drama queen -- than in what had actually happened to Kim. I get the feeling that she cared about Kim more because as her mother she was supposed to care for her than she cared for because of who Kim was as a person.

Two: as a character in the book, I didn't see any character development in her. I didn't see her working through the situation to a better understanding of herself, which is what I want to see the main characters in a serious novel doing.


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
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the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Fran

For me, again it was the excess of her efforts concentrated on things that did not matter that bothered me.  I have nothing but praise for those families who pushed for changes in the law.  Who gave us the amber alerts.  Who cried that the back of milk cartons was not enough.  I am so grateful that out of their grief came something so incredibly positive.  The awareness they've accomplished is amazing.  I don't see Fran in this league.  I don't begrudge her the Ambien but I feel she could have been a better mother to Lindsay.
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Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



Carmenere_lady wrote:
Sorry if I sound a little abrupt but I just hope you give this woman a break.







I don't think you sound abrupt at all. You just stated what a lot of us are thinking. That's the same thing I was talking about earlier when I asked the question, "How would you deal with this situation." Jo
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wendyroba
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎02-21-2007
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Re: Fran



the_mad_chatter wrote:
How can we consider Fran to be a devoted mother when she was so detached from Lindsey?

wendyroba wrote:
Fran started out as a "typical" working mom - she loves her kids, but is absent a lot, and distracted by other life things...not realizing that things could change in a heartbeat.

After Kim's disappearance she becomes the devoted mother - she almost overdoes it in terms of organizing the campaign to find Kim...but I thought this was realistic. She also seemed to find a new identity as the mother of a missing child (to the detriment, I thought, of the child still there).







What I meant was she became (at least externally) the devoted mother to Kim (that's why in parenthesis I wrote "to the detriment of the the child still there."

I felt like Fran re-wrote who she had been as a mother - and I say this without disliking her, because I think guilt does that to people...they re-write their stories to help allay guilt. I believe Fran felt guilty for the years she didn't spend with Kim while she (Fran) was working and embroiled in other stuff. When Kim goes missing, Fran becomes Kim's devoted mother - eating, drinking, sleeping, existing for Kim, organizing everything, being the "super mom" who is going to bring her daughter home through her efforts and her tremendous love for her daughter.
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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Fran



kiakar wrote:
 
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.


 
Although I have not ever had a child go missing, a co-worker's daughter did a few years ago.  I am struck by just how accurately the author has portrayed the parents in this book, as regards to my friend and his ex-wife. 
 
My friend organized searches, rewards, worked to get the police involved (it is very difficult when the missing is 18 and has friends who might not just be the pillars of society), and get through the day.  His ex-wife did the same and, although they were divorced they worked together while she was missing.  After she was found, my co-worker came back to work, but his ex was unable to work and didn't for over a year. 
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bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
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Re: Fran

Please, have a little sympathy for this woman.  She's not harming anyone by her actions.  Everyone deals with loss in a different way.  Fran's hands are tied for there are only a limited amount of things she can do to find her daughter, dead or alive.  So what else is there but to use the media and aren't they the willing participants?
 
I agree with you I don't understand the harshness of some of the criticism here.  Fran did what she could so she could say even if it was just to herself that she did everything possible regardless of the outcome.  Local media love these stories besides the human interest angle, it looks good from a public service viewpoint. 
 
 
So, that begs the questions, is it the media who makes instant celebrity's out of nobody's?  
 
  Paris Hilton comes to mind
 
Let me pose a question here regarding Fran ignoring Lindsay, if Kim had a terminal illness and Fran spent all her time at her bedside and searching computer sites for new technologies/treatments et al in the hopes of finding a cure for her child would we be calling her self-absorbed, only thinking of her terminally ill child and leaving the rest of the family to fend for themselves?
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
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Re: Fran

Eman, just when I think you have a warm and fuzzy side you throw me  a curve.

Two: as a character in the book, I didn't see any character development in her. I didn't see her working through the situation to a better understanding of herself, which is what I want to see the main characters in a serious novel doing

   One of my favorite authors Alexandre Dumas, who wrote The Count Of Monte Cristo and whose main character(Edmund Dantes) also doesn't work through the situation.  Many times a catastrophic event can leave an individual stunted emotionally without the necessary insight to understand themselves.  It is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Syndrome whichever term you prefer.  The mind suffers a shock so severe, that the individual cannot recover from the assault.  I see Fran in this light, this is a small town where things like this just don't happen.  In an instant her life irrevocably changed and it will never be the same so why does she need to better understand herself, how would that move the story along?  Let her grieve for what she has lost.
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



bmbrennan wrote:
Let me pose a question here regarding Fran ignoring Lindsay, if Kim had a terminal illness and Fran spent all her time at her bedside and searching computer sites for new technologies/treatments et al in the hopes of finding a cure for her child would we be calling her self-absorbed, only thinking of her terminally ill child and leaving the rest of the family to fend for themselves?



Interesting question which reminded me of my own situation. When my daughter (1 of 5 children) was 12 so was hospitalized with an e.coli infection and we weren't sure if she was going to live or not.My husband and I spent 6 weeks juggling schedules so that one of us could be at the hospital at all times. We spent hours on the computer researching the disease to see what we were facing and like Fran's family they ate food prepared by friends & neighbors. It was a long haul but my thankfully daughter survived. Like Fran, I was in high gear constantly trying to do something/anything to ease the situation. We faced with adversity we all do what we have to do to get by and not one of us does it exactly the same way. I'm sure that my other kids felt neglected to some extent but they too survived and the only comments I hear about those days were that too many people made too many dishes with too much broccoli! Jo
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FrankieD
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎12-16-2007
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Re: Fran



bmbrennan wrote:
 
 
Let me pose a question here regarding Fran ignoring Lindsay, if Kim had a terminal illness and Fran spent all her time at her bedside and searching computer sites for new technologies/treatments et al in the hopes of finding a cure for her child would we be calling her self-absorbed, only thinking of her terminally ill child and leaving the rest of the family to fend for themselves?


Since any treatment or cure can be found via an internet search before trying it, this analogy is not quite on target...apples and oranges. Looking for a missing person calls for action...getting up and going out and looking. The internet and media can merely help you to get other people helping to look...so if you spend all of your time asking others to do the searching you'll never get to it yourself.
 
                                                                                                  FrankieD :smileyindifferent:
" The longer I live...the more beautiful life becomes."
- Frank Lloyd Wright
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the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Fran

I am not discounting that Fran's desperation, grief and love fueled her search efforts.  Of course she did.  But isn't O'Nan using Fran as a metaphor.  And considering that Fran is a fictional character,  I don't know that she merits breaks.  These characters are created for such scrutiny.  The more we scrutinize, the more we reveal about ourselves and our beliefs....and truly the better the story.
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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Fran

Well, that's an interesting idea, chatter.  "But isn't O'Nan using Fran as a metaphor."  I hadn't thought of that perspective.  Can you give me Any ideas how, what or why?

the_mad_chatter wrote:
I am not discounting that Fran's desperation, grief and love fueled her search efforts.  Of course she did.  But isn't O'Nan using Fran as a metaphor.  And considering that Fran is a fictional character,  I don't know that she merits breaks.  These characters are created for such scrutiny.  The more we scrutinize, the more we reveal about ourselves and our beliefs....and truly the better the story.



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
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