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nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
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Re: Fran

Fran seemed to be the typical working mother. She loved Kim, wanted to do what was best for her, loved the idea of a happy family, but she was very involved in her own life and work. When Kim disappeared, I thought she had two competing reactions. She was clearly extremely worried about Kim, but it also went to her view of herself and her family. It's my impression that she, like many other mothers, liked to project the image of a happy family and I think by today's standards they were happy. I disagree with a comment made elsewhere that the family was disfunctional. I think Fran was on target form the beginning that there was a big problem. She also had great organizational skills and used them very effectively. She came across as the strong one with ideas at the start of the search.
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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Fran

Morning,
 
Fran knows from the start in her heart that Kim has not gone off on her own.  Mother's intuition, perhaps.  She's reacting as I would expect - perhaps in shock - getting more and more worried as she talks to the officiers - making the situation seem so real.
 
She turns to her friend Connie at the hospital and follows her advise about flyers and websites.  Feeling helpless, as expected, she does what she can while her husband struggles to do the same in his own way.
Her television interview was so realistic - her worries were what I would expect from her.  But Kim is still missing and there aren't any clues that they are aware of - which is adding frustration to her fear.
 
I think she does a little transformation after her conversation with Connie.  She seems to feel more enabled to contribute with the search - via poster creation, volunteer coordination and Internet searches.  I would have hated to see her sink into depression if she hadn't found something to keep her occupied.  This whole thing has to feel rather sureal.
 
She really steps up and perhaps this is the first time she's had this sort of power - unfortunate the way it had to happen.  She will be a stronger woman because of this experience.  In a way I am pulling for her and her husband to be the ones that find the big clue that helps find Kim and bring her home.....have to keep reading.....
 
Susan
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RoseDhuDot
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-08-2008
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Re: Fran

I have to say I did not like Fran. I was turned off by all the drinking in the early part of the book, but even more so by the transformation of her. Professional look, make-up, etc. I felt like she got so much into the part of organizing, raising money, selling balloons that she lost the point of what she was doing - almost like she loved the instant celebrity role and forgot why or how she got there. Some of the fund-raising/publicity efforts really bothered me; although, in fairness, who knows how any of us might react in the same situation?
Rose Dhu Dot
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bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
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Re: Fran

I disagree , I think Fran is just doing whatever she can so she doesn't have to think.  People react to stress and pressure differently, some so physically exhaust themselves so they can sleep.  We have already seen her "unwinding " with her wine before going to bed normally.  As I said before, nurses, continue to have that mental rolodex (things that need to be done) going until the problem is resolved.  Fran keeps looking for the missing puzzle piece needed to find Kim, I think this is her driving ambition throughout the story.
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Fran

I have not read ahead of schedule, so my impressions are based on the first thirteen chapters.
 
Fran seems to me like so many of my friends with jobs, husbands, children, and homes to keep running.  She has to get up early for her job, so she goes to bed before her daughters.  She lets her husband handle all the expenses (bad idea), she drinks too much wine, takes sleeping pills, and generally gets through the day. 
 
Then catastrophe occurs and she has to step up to the plate and be the family liaison with the  media. She is so focused on bringing her daughter home, that everything else (Lindsey, Ed, the dog) doesn't really exist. 
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



Carmenere_lady wrote:
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 Sue,  I like your take on this!  This is the family of the early 21st century. Historians should paint this picture of a family in this time period.  Both parents do have to work, alot of initimately emotions do not get revealed, things happen because of bad people, and we all need something tohelp us relax.This is the picture of a very in the middle  family.
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the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Fran

The frustrating aspect is that while this family reflects on their lives-they don't fix it to the best of their ability.
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Kellarmom
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-14-2008
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Re: Fran

I have never posted before as this is my first time joining an online book club. Please let me know if I do anything wrong. I also felt annoyed by Fran's behavior at first. Then I realized that she was reacting in the only way she knew how. By keeping so busy and organizing fundraisers, etc. she did not have to think too much about what has happened. She began to feel like she had not been a good mother and by being so relentless in her search efforts she may have been trying to assauge her guilt. I do not know that it is a "normal" reaction but I know that I would have become hysterical in my search to find my child. I can understand the need to focus on the one who needs you the most to the exclusion of the others but in this case it seems Lindsey was an afterthought most days. Many husband and wife relationships are challenged by this type of tragedy. I think there is a tendency to resent the partner not living up to what you are doing. I remember once when my oldest daughter was a baby and had to be hospitalized. My husband asked for a sandwich before we left to visit her and I opened the refrigerator and threw the package of cold cuts at him. I was mad that he could be  hungry when our baby was in the hospital. (Poor guy, he still retells that story as an example of how mean I can be! We are married almost 36 years and have 13 children so I guess I wasn't all that mean.)  
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Fran

THANK YOU, Linda. And perhaps I AM yelling. I really wondered when we would look past "all our judgments" and explore what "EMPATHY" is in the context of a story like this.



kiakar wrote {ed}:
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 didn't consider her other child. But hey, I am not certain I could act any different. A lot 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 ... empathy for Fran. I feel a stab at the heart just thinking on this happening to me.

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


bmbrennan wrote:
The five stages of grief are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance




Kubler-Ross' original list (which you present above) was directed towards those facing death themselves. It has since been widely applied to those grieving the death of a loved one.

Here is one of numerous web sites that expand upon these concepts; this one presents an alternative set of three stages: Stages of grief.
"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
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Fran

Kellarmom -- thank you for joining us. Your post seems spot on to me tonight. What insight!

"I was mad that he could be hungry when our baby [first born?] was in the hospital."

Kellarmom wrote:
I have never posted before as this is my first time joining an online book club. .... I remember once when my oldest daughter was a baby and had to be hospitalized. My husband asked for a sandwich before we left to visit her and I opened the refrigerator and threw the package of cold cuts at him. I was mad that he could be hungry when our baby was in the hospital. (Poor guy, he still retells that story as an example of how mean I can be! We are married almost 36 years and have 13 children so I guess I wasn't all that mean.)


"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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Lady_Graeye
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran

My thoughts of Fran at first are that here is this woman-mother who to the outside world she wants to be seen as an organized, well-tuned, by the book woman. On the inside-at home she is not so together, she doesn't know what going on with her daughters, she favors Kim over Lindsay, her marriage has started a downward spiral and I don't think she really know who she is anymore.

Then Kim is missing and Fran emotionally detached outside. She not the frantic, upset, visually crying mother one would think she should be. Yes she thinks the police should be doing more but to her Ed is the person who should be seeing it should be done. To her, Ed should be doing everything. She has no feelings what so ever what Lindsay or Ed are going thru. She has clearly disassociated her feelings from everything!
"You Can Never Own Too Many Books; It's Just Not Possible!!!"
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Fran

And to piggy back onto my idea and what you said, Linda, I like O'Nan's writing style.  In fact I have been calling him the Norman Rockwell of the literary world. In the three O'Nan books I have read recently, I find that he takes a moment in time and paints a picture for the reader.  He takes humdrum events of the day and uses them to complete his picture.  Perhaps it sounds a little melodramatic but that's just how it seems to me.

kiakar wrote:


Carmenere_lady wrote:
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 Sue,  I like your take on this!  This is the family of the early 21st century. Historians should paint this picture of a family in this time period.  Both parents do have to work, alot of initimately emotions do not get revealed, things happen because of bad people, and we all need something tohelp us relax.This is the picture of a very in the middle  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
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wendyroba
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎02-21-2007
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Re: Fran

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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ROCKETRAY55
Posts: 91
Registered: ‎09-28-2007
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Re: Fran

I have to admit, I dislike Fran. At the beginning she seemed very much the typical working mom. But then morphed into what felt like a politician. All the rallies and fund raisers it real did seem like she is running for office. To me there was not enough soul searching or explanation of why she turned this way. I guess I would have liked more "inside Fran's head" what was going on with her, and not just the day to day stuff.
 
-Ray
Contributor
jlcardwell
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎02-25-2008
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Re: Fran



Carmenere_lady wrote:
And to piggy back onto my idea and what you said, Linda, I like O'Nan's writing style. In fact I have been calling him the Norman Rockwell of the literary world. In the three O'Nan books I have read recently, I find that he takes a moment in time and paints a picture for the reader. He takes humdrum events of the day and uses them to complete his picture. Perhaps it sounds a little melodramatic but that's just how it seems to me.


I agree, I am very impressed with O'Nan's style. Even though he doesn't infuse every word with the emotions of the characters I can feel what they are feeling. Both Fran and Lindsay are responding by shutting down in some way. Fran closes herself off emotionally (other than the little crying binges with Lindsay) in an effort to get something done. She deals (or refuses to?) by working constantly. Lindsay also shuts down, but instead of going outward like Fran, she draws into her own little world as much as possible.
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Kellarmom
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-14-2008
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Re: Fran

I agree. I ended up disliking her immensely even though I could understand her reactions.   I knew there was something that bothered me about the way she was going about things and the politician analogy was right on.   Kellarmom (Maria K)
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Kellarmom
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-14-2008
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Re: Fran

Good observation. Perhaps taking on the new identity of "Mother of the Missing Child" allows her to feel more in control because she is engaged in a cause. Remember how John Walsh became so visible after the horrific loss of his son? 
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran



Carmenere_lady wrote:
And to piggy back onto my idea and what you said, Linda, I like O'Nan's writing style.  In fact I have been calling him the Norman Rockwell of the literary world. In the three O'Nan books I have read recently, I find that he takes a moment in time and paints a picture for the reader.  He takes humdrum events of the day and uses them to complete his picture.  Perhaps it sounds a little melodramatic but that's just how it seems to me.

 

O'Nan's writing style reminds me somewhat of Maeve Binchy.  She writes of Ireland.  She tales ordinary situations and weaves them into gripping stories.  I think it is an art to take the ordinary and make it interesting.  I especially felt this way about "Last Night at the Lobster".  As a reader I feel like I could have lived in this story.

MG

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

[ Edited ]
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.

Message Edited by Peppermill on 06-06-2008 02:36 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
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