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dghobbs
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran

Fran, Although organised, seems to have a problem with alcohol - I think she is not only deceiving her family and friends about this, but also herself - she even is deceptive about the credit card charges she makes.
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bookhunter
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Re: Fran



Peppermill wrote:

lady1226 wrote {ed.}: You see as a mom I would have been hysterical all the time. Also, I know Lindsay and her were not close, but come on she was your sister. More reaction was necessary. At the time Ed seemed the most frantic.
Marilyn


Marilyn -- Without more evidence from our narrator, I could posit that Fran was also hysterical all the time -- she just had a particular way of playing out her hysteria. Likewise, I think Lindsay has very strong reactions -- they however happen to lead heavily to withdrawal, but that doesn't seem out of character with who she has been before or is afterwards.

We may or may not "like strong emotions", but substantial literature on communications today is suggesting that the ability to identify emotions and feelings and to put them out on the table where they can be discussed and dealt with (rationally?) is very healthy and ultimately much more "non-violent" than "hiding" or denying. We have a language that is rich in its nuances for emotions and feelings, but many of us, if asked, will mask our feelings behind a few words (including the tried and true "tired" ). Yet, the evidence is accumulating that feelings are powerful and well evolved sources of information. (Just this past week, I was startled to encounter the following on a congregational consultant's vugraph among "identifying markers of the postmodern world": "Emotion and intuition are valued as ways of knowing." ) In fact, it seems to me our discussions here have been deeply enriched as people have given voice to their "feelings" as well as their "analysis" of Fran and of SFTM.

These comments are from someone in her most competitive career days struck "felt" from any memo and replaced it with "thought" or other non-emotive language.

Interesting comments, Peppermill.  Mr. O'Nan chooses to reveal his characters emotions through their words and actions rather than an omnicient narrator telling us "Fran was hysterical and distraught over Kim's disappearance"  and that has lead to our being able to interpret Fran and others in many (contrary!) ways.  What some of you see as misguided focus on Fran's part--
throwing herself into the media eye and the organizing details of the search--I see as acting out her hysteria!  Perhaps that is because I think I would be the same way. 
 
When confronted with an emotional crisis like this some people will become paralyzed and some will become mobilized. (Lindsey and Fran could be these two extremes even though there is no great OUTpouring of emotions from either)  Are we really capable of making a judgement on which is a "better" response? 
 
Ann, bookhunter 
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Turner_A
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Re: Fran

What did you think of Fran, Kim's mother? I think that Fran is very dependent on her husband. She seems to come out of her shell when Kim turns up missing.
 
How does Fran change as a result of the events of the novel? She steps into the limelight a little by  scheduling a news interview without asking Ed first. This is a woman who, "hated the cameras inside the door at Wal-Mart that showed her walking in", but yet she was going to do a tv interview.
 
Can you pinpoint any particular moments of transformation? When she was talking to Connie on the phone, she agreed that making a flyer would be a good idea. She went ahead and picked out the pictures and created the flyer before asking Ed his opinion.
 
Discuss Fran's strengths and weaknesses and how they are heightened or minimized by the loss of Kim.  One of Fran's strengths is being organized. She takes down the information for each volunteers license and files the information in case someone who volunteers is involved. Also, she takes pictures of the groups searching in case one of them go missing.
A weakness of Fran is not giving Lindsey enough attention through this tragedy.
 
 
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bentley
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Re: Fran



Turner_A wrote:
What did you think of Fran, Kim's mother? I think that Fran is very dependent on her husband. She seems to come out of her shell when Kim turns up missing.
 
How does Fran change as a result of the events of the novel? She steps into the limelight a little by  scheduling a news interview without asking Ed first. This is a woman who, "hated the cameras inside the door at Wal-Mart that showed her walking in", but yet she was going to do a tv interview.
 
Can you pinpoint any particular moments of transformation? When she was talking to Connie on the phone, she agreed that making a flyer would be a good idea. She went ahead and picked out the pictures and created the flyer before asking Ed his opinion.
 
Discuss Fran's strengths and weaknesses and how they are heightened or minimized by the loss of Kim.  One of Fran's strengths is being organized. She takes down the information for each volunteers license and files the information in case someone who volunteers is involved. Also, she takes pictures of the groups searching in case one of them go missing.
A weakness of Fran is not giving Lindsey enough attention through this tragedy.
 
 





You make an interesting observation about the cameras and Fran.
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CountessCat
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Re: Fran

I was a little sickened by Fran's grand-standing.  To me it seemed like she was getting off on her new role as spokesperson a bit too much.
 
Now "Over The Rainbow" is totally ruined for me!  It's always going to sound maudlin to me after reading this book.  THANKS, STEWART!!
 
More thoughts on Fran and how she was a believable character... As a mother of a teen-aged daughter (and in Ohio!) I could understand Fran's needing to keep Kim's friends at a distance after the disappearance.  She never did like or trust J.P., which I could understand since he seemed a bit unsavory and not the ideal guy for your daughter to date.  I could understand how Fran felt she had to blame the friends for what happened.  At a certain point, a kid's friends know them better than their family does, which is hard not to resent under normal circumstances.  Honestly, the group of Kim's friends just seemed like a bunch of losers to me.
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bookhunter
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Re: Fran



CountessCat wrote:
...More thoughts on Fran and how she was a believable character... As a mother of a teen-aged daughter (and in Ohio!) I could understand Fran's needing to keep Kim's friends at a distance after the disappearance.  She never did like or trust J.P., which I could understand since he seemed a bit unsavory and not the ideal guy for your daughter to date.  I could understand how Fran felt she had to blame the friends for what happened.  At a certain point, a kid's friends know them better than their family does, which is hard not to resent under normal circumstances.  Honestly, the group of Kim's friends just seemed like a bunch of losers to me.



CountessCat, I agree with you as to how Fran reacts to the friends.  Resenting the closeness they had, yes, and also resenting the fact that they are alive while Kim is not.
 
But I don't think they are losers.  They were headed off to college, had jobs, seemed loyal.  They were making stupid choices, but that is just a teenage thing. 
 
It is ironic to me that Kim's abduction happens because of a random act and not because of their stupid teenage decisions.
 
Ann, bookhunter
 
 
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Peppermill
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Re: Fran


bookhunter wrote:
It is ironic to me that Kim's abduction happens because of a random act and not because of their stupid teenage decisions.
Ann, bookhunter



Except possibly the safety decision to keep adequate gas in one's car? (And how many of us as adults forget those trade-offs as we run our gas gauge down to zero? A few of us were reminded the day of 9/11.)

(Back in the days when running our household necessitated stating "family rules" and posting them on the frig, the first one read along the lines that "Safety is number one -- safety of physical self, of others, of pets, of spiritual self, even of material possessions. You may choose to do risky or unsafe activities, but the more dangerous those are, the more important safe practices become." Those rules started for young caregivers with a toddler and lasted at least through having a hockey goalie and a teenage driver. We still talk about that 'rule' today in all its many applicable contexts.)
"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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katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Fran



kiakar wrote:


krb2g wrote:


COCOSPALS wrote:
There is something about Fran that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. She seems to become "super-mom" when her child disappears.





I agree with this eerie feeling: Fran's involvement in the search for Kim, especially as time goes by, and they start holding all the events (like releasing the balloons on the baseball field, using the "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" song and pictures Kim would have hated, and holding two memorial services), strikes me as self-absorbed, and more about her own desire for closure than anything else. While I definitely have pity for her, her response to the tragedy seems selfish, and I find myself frustrated by her character.

I really feel this was keeping Fran above water. Where some mothers would be numb and not move from a bed or chair, she moves and can't stop moving. This again, is a way she is coping with this tradegy. I dont think she is feeling a thing for herself, her goal is set, to find Kim or find out what happened to her. In other words, she is not thinking logically. A daze is what people call this I think.





Well said, Kiakar. This organizing frenzy is her lifeline. She does not become hysterical because if she allows herself that, it will take her down.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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bookhunter
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Re: Fran

Do you all think that by the end of the book Fran is a "better" person?  Has this whole experience caused her to grow positively?  
 
She has stopped drinking pretty much.  She lost weight, looks better, becomes more focused on her family relationships.  It seems like the search for Kim gave her a purpose and a role she found fulfilling.
 
And is that OK that she has done that?  Should she be a weeping, molten alcohol and Ambien mess in her bedroom?
 
I keep going back and forth in my head about this issue!  I think it is great that Fran has grown, but sort of feel guilty for feeling that way!
 
Ann, bookhunter
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Everyman
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Re: Fran

If you're right, isn't it sad that it took the loss of a daughter to make her a better person, to stop her drinking, to make here more focused on her remaining family?

bookhunter wrote:
Do you all think that by the end of the book Fran is a "better" person?  Has this whole experience caused her to grow positively?  
 
She has stopped drinking pretty much.  She lost weight, looks better, becomes more focused on her family relationships.  It seems like the search for Kim gave her a purpose and a role she found fulfilling.
 
And is that OK that she has done that?  Should she be a weeping, molten alcohol and Ambien mess in her bedroom?
 
I keep going back and forth in my head about this issue!  I think it is great that Fran has grown, but sort of feel guilty for feeling that way!
 
Ann, bookhunter



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Jo6353
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Re: Fran


thewanderingjew wrote:
once, when my husband was in the news because of a business controversy and my children were in grade school, i received a phone call from a child shouting "mommy, help me, someone has me". the conversation ended when mid-scream, the phone disconnected.
my reaction was sheer horror and disbelief and i was filled with an immediate nausea caused by fear. feeling like i was moving in slow motion, i called the school to check to see if both my kids were still at lunch and then, fearing that this was a warning, i collected them, took them home and smothered them with love and over protection, keeping them close and home from school for several days. my final tasks were to put a trace on the phone and get a state of the art security system because we were vulnerable.





That must of been horrifying for you! I have to tell you that as the the mother of 5 and grandmother of 7, I was filled with immediate nausea just reading your account! Jo
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bookhunter
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Re: Fran



Everyman wrote:
If you're right, isn't it sad that it took the loss of a daughter to make her a better person, to stop her drinking, to make here more focused on her remaining family?

bookhunter wrote:
Do you all think that by the end of the book Fran is a "better" person?  Has this whole experience caused her to grow positively?  
 
...
I keep going back and forth in my head about this issue!  I think it is great that Fran has grown, but sort of feel guilty for feeling that way!
 
Ann, bookhunter





Absolutely.
 
 
 
 
But if bad things are going to happen in life, should we use them to dig ourselves in deeper, or pull ourselves out?
 
And I have to say, that reading and discussing this book has taken me down fictional-Fran's path, causing me to focus on loved ones more and appreciate my family.  (But also to worry about all the random craziness out there.)
Ann, bookhunter
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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Fran



CountessCat wrote:
I was a little sickened by Fran's grand-standing.  To me it seemed like she was getting off on her new role as spokesperson a bit too much.
 
Now "Over The Rainbow" is totally ruined for me!  It's always going to sound maudlin to me after reading this book.  THANKS, STEWART!!
 
More thoughts on Fran and how she was a believable character... As a mother of a teen-aged daughter (and in Ohio!) I could understand Fran's needing to keep Kim's friends at a distance after the disappearance.  She never did like or trust J.P., which I could understand since he seemed a bit unsavory and not the ideal guy for your daughter to date.  I could understand how Fran felt she had to blame the friends for what happened.  At a certain point, a kid's friends know them better than their family does, which is hard not to resent under normal circumstances.  Honestly, the group of Kim's friends just seemed like a bunch of losers to me.


These are valid reservations and I can see how Fran may appear to come alive to an unsavory degree under the glare of the spotlight provided by Kim's disappearance. But a couple of things lead me to give Fran the benefit of the doubt. First, this line, from page 268: "She used the second anninversary as an opportunity to do good, staging a walkathon for autism." I may have already quoted this elsewhere (or even on this thread; if so, apologies for the repetition...). Fran has turned her efforts outward, and uses her platform to help others when all hope of finding Kim is lost; I find this commendable.
 
Secondly, if I compare Fran's growth to Ed's stagnation/resignation, I have to admire her reaction because I can see how easy it would be to retreat, as Ed does. In my opinion, Fran's path is the harder one, even if it does have some positive results. I can imagine that she would trade her transformation in a second if it meant having Kim back. Nothing in O'Nan's characterization of Fran gives me any reason to doubt this.

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