Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Hmm small town attitudes, well I live in a town of 300 so Kingsville is a big sister to my town. But typical small towns I see that parents think there's nothing better unless they get to be the center of attention. And kids can't wait to leave because there's got to be something better out there.
As far as the effect on the search I think that being a small town the police department left something to be desired. If you compare it to what happened in Sandusky when the car was found I found it to be lacking. Also I think they considered this not an abduction but a runaway from the very first and I don't know if it would have made any difference because I haven't finished the book yet but who knows.
Contributor
mom2alexmegcoop
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

How does the small-town Kingsville setting influence the lives of the characters in Songs for the Missing? What effect does it have on the search for Kim?

Can you give some examples of the positives and negatives of the small-town ethos, as experienced by Kim, her family, and her friends?


Kingsville to me was like any small town, in the beginning they seemed to really pull around this family and offer help, although that wanes some as the story progressed I felt. I think the police officers apathetic reaction in the beginning could be indicative of an "it couldn't possibly happen here attitude".
The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you the knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.~Elizabeth Hardwick
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Many great points here, everyone!
 
How are differences in social class portrayed in the story? Is it more of an issue because of the small-town setting or less? I'm thinking specifically of JP but would love to hear other examples of class distinctions being made in the story... 
 
-Karen
Contributor
hannah7299
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎04-21-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

I think the small town setting provided much more support to the story.  If this would have taken place in a large city, the support from society would not have been as influential to Kim's family.  Because they were in a small town, so many people knew Kim and her family.  The support and encouragement seemed to flow throughout the book.  On the other hand, Lindsay definitely struggled with the disappearance and living in a small town.  She tended to frown upon the attention they received from Kim's disappearance. 
In my opinion, JP was not judged fairly in the story.  Due to the secret he kept and some of the friends he had in common with Kim, he was unfairly viewed by Kim's family.  I think he really did like Kim and as mentioned in the book, he was intimidated by her.   
New User
Glen44
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

How are differences in social class portrayed in the story? Is it more of an issue because of the small-town setting or less? I'm thinking specifically of JP but would love to hear other examples of class distinctions being made in the story... 
 
I immediately thought of Mr. Larsen.  His place as a realtor was one of distinction and his family knew
they had to live up to his reputation.  Everyone knew him, and he had even been in many of the homes, that would make a difference in how the town would react.  In a larger town this wouldn't have been as
important.
Contributor
NYBri
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Besides the typical boyfriend from the other side of the tracks, the characters are all pretty much in the same class and ethnic group. There is no noticeable racial variety - seems everyone is white middle class.
The small town environment has no experts in anything - the Police react in what would be unacceptable in a larger community - they are too agreeable - "everything will be okay", "let's wait and see". A larger urban area would have experienced officers who would immediately recognize the criticality of the first hours of disappearance. Waiting to see is waiting for the body to show up.
The organized inch-by-inch search is also typical of a suburban small town - that the area in question could be covered that way. A bigger city would have a broader search - for bigger catch - check hotels, motels, find the car. Stolen vehicles get a more timely reaction - find it before it is taken apart in a bodyshop.
It seems the small town routine is hard to upset, everyone calmly going though the paces of an interesting activity for the day - like everything is in slow motion. Where are the neurotic, hyperactive citizens typical of a more urban environment? They wouldn't live there - in this small world of swimming holes, DairyQueens and drive-ins.

- Brian
Reader 2
bunny21
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-19-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Kims friends were closer to her then her own family. They partied and did crazy things, but thats what teenagers do, esecially in a small town with not much else to do.I spent my high shcool years in 3 small towns, and I would say my social life resembled Kims. You have a best friend who knows everythign and would lie until the end of time to protect your image. The boyfriends you dont really care too much about because you are planning on leaving the small town. the drugs, alcohol and dangerous stunts are just things to kill time until you leave.
I think O'Nan hit the head on the nail when he showed the  dis-interest in Kims disappearence. Small town cops dont really like to do real cop work. When I lived in a tiny town in the mountains in New Mexico, my friend called teh cops when her boyfriend threatened to kill her after he beat her. It took the cops 3 hours to go 2 miles up the road and then they talke ddown to my friend and nothing really ever happened, except they went with her to the house to get her stuff. So when Ed andFrantried to get the cops to do somethign to help find Kim, it didnt surprise me at all when they didnt.
The town really pulled together to search for Kim. That had to be a plus fo rliving in a small town, everyone knows everyone. They all knew Kim and her parents and the town wanted to show the family its support. Frans friend Connie really stepped up and helped out and told Fran websites to check out and what Fran should do next. I dont think Fran would have been as together without Connie. In small towns people come together. O'Nan wrote so you could believe in the towns people and then they just stopped, I didnt undersand why people stopped searching. I felt they would have searched a little longer before they started to give up hope.
Contributor
Demira
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

I am a prosecutor living in a small town, population 2,400.  I disagree with the characterization that small town cops are lazy and don't know how to handle an investigation properly.  That has never been my experience.  The police officers I know care deeply about their community--some are even next door neighbors.  Many are career officers, who earn very little money and always are willingly, at least potentially, to put their own physical safety at stake when they stop an unknown vehicle or respond to a domestic violence scene.  While working in a small town environment means an officer may be at a disadvantage in say, collecting forensic evidence with the latest technological gadgets, the officers I know and work with are always willing to seek outside assistance with the State Police when necessary. 
 
I thought the officers in Songs were realistically portrayed.  What else could they have done in the earliest stages?  I don't know if there was probable cause to obtain a search warrant for the "one night stand" guy's house.   The Fourth Amendment requires some showing of evidence before a search warrant can be obtained to protect us all from unreasonable searches based on mere speculation. 
 
 
     
Inspired Contributor
abbyg7
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



bunny21 wrote:
Kims friends were closer to her then her own family. They partied and did crazy things, but thats what teenagers do, esecially in a small town with not much else to do.I spent my high shcool years in 3 small towns, and I would say my social life resembled Kims. You have a best friend who knows everythign and would lie until the end of time to protect your image. The boyfriends you dont really care too much about because you are planning on leaving the small town. the drugs, alcohol and dangerous stunts are just things to kill time until you leave.
I think O'Nan hit the head on the nail when he showed the  dis-interest in Kims disappearence. Small town cops dont really like to do real cop work. When I lived in a tiny town in the mountains in New Mexico, my friend called teh cops when her boyfriend threatened to kill her after he beat her. It took the cops 3 hours to go 2 miles up the road and then they talke ddown to my friend and nothing really ever happened, except they went with her to the house to get her stuff. So when Ed andFrantried to get the cops to do somethign to help find Kim, it didnt surprise me at all when they didnt.
The town really pulled together to search for Kim. That had to be a plus fo rliving in a small town, everyone knows everyone. They all knew Kim and her parents and the town wanted to show the family its support. Frans friend Connie really stepped up and helped out and told Fran websites to check out and what Fran should do next. I dont think Fran would have been as together without Connie. In small towns people come together. O'Nan wrote so you could believe in the towns people and then they just stopped, I didnt undersand why people stopped searching. I felt they would have searched a little longer before they started to give up hope.


I don't think the cops didn't do anything to find Kim.  I think that when a person turns 18 and is considered an adult the rules become different.  I think that if Kim had been younger or if there had been some sign of foul play or some type of struggle they would have reacted differently.  The cops may have felt there was a good chance that Kim left on her own, even though her family said she wouldn't run away.  I think many parents think their child would never run away, but with a teenager you never really know what's going on.  Even though you think you have a good relationship with your teen they could be feeling something totally different.  Also, I don't think the police would tell someone every detail of the case they were working on.  You never know in the early hours of the case who might actually be involved.
Inspired Wordsmith
krb2g
Posts: 289
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life


abbyg7 wrote:

I don't think the cops didn't do anything to find Kim. I think that when a person turns 18 and is considered an adult the rules become different. I think that if Kim had been younger or if there had been some sign of foul play or some type of struggle they would have reacted differently. The cops may have felt there was a good chance that Kim left on her own, even though her family said she wouldn't run away. I think many parents think their child would never run away, but with a teenager you never really know what's going on. Even though you think you have a good relationship with your teen they could be feeling something totally different. Also, I don't think the police would tell someone every detail of the case they were working on. You never know in the early hours of the case who might actually be involved. (my emphasis)





I agree with abbyg7 and the various other people on this thread who contend that being in a small town did not slow police response--since Kim was 18 when she disappeared, the cops have their hands tied to a certain extent. Short of someone seeing James Wade abduct Kim in person, I'm not even sure how much earlier notice would have helped the police. I also think that the idea that no one really knew what was going on with Kim was valid, and perhaps best exemplified in the moment when Lindsay checks Kim's money stash:

She half-expected the note she found--a torn sheet of looseleaf paper rolled over and over until it was the size of a pill. As she opened it, she was wishing. She wanted Kim to tell her not to worry, to let everyone know she was okay. She could trust Lindsay to be her messenger. Her parents would hold her and cry as if she were Kim, grateful and devastated at the same time. Somehow the three of them would go on.


The paper was blank--or no, the writing was just tiny, two words nearly hidden in the very center. In her cutesy, rounded script, itty bitty, Kim had written: YOU SUCK." (35)


Everyone has some insights into what happened and also into parts of Kim's character, but no one has the full picture. Like The Sound and the Fury or Absalom, Absalom! this novel refuses to privilege one point of view, or indeed, a single narrator to tell its story--instead, we as readers, and Kim's family and friends (and the police and Mimi Knapp) must put together Kim's story out of fragments. Kim is like the almost-blank piece of paper Lindsay finds.
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

I live in Philadelphia and if you are 18, you cannot file a missing person complaint for 24 hours.  Larger cities may have squads dedicated to missing persons, however this didn't help Adam Walsh when he went missing in NYC.  I think in a smaller town where you would have to look people in the eye would make the idea of failure that much harder to take.
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

I think JP gets the bad rap is because he is outside the neighborhood literally.  Nina and Elise go to the same school as Kim so it is easy to check them out.  Small towns to me anyway seem to remind me of six  degrees of separation, where you can find out anything about anybody because somewhere someone will know something about them. 
It's funny no matter how may people knew Kim, not many knew Kim completely including Kim's family, everyone seems to have their own "version" of Kim that suits their own needs.
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: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Sort of like Andy and Barney, huh?!

WhiteHouseQuartet wrote:
What effect does it have on the search for Kim?  The small town hick cop thinks of her as an adult who broke free from the little town and ran off for the bright lights of the big city.  He never really put in the time and effort he would have if he'd thought she was in danger.
 
I completely agree with your take on this.  I live in a small town and while I don't think all small-town stereotypes are true, the character in this book seems closely modeled after the stereotypical small town cop. 



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
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Having seen the children in small town's in  Pennsylvania and the declining economy of the area, which is quite similar to Ohio, I would say it greatly effected the search for Kim. I think the cops especially thought that Kim like any other teenager in small town America wanted to just get out of town and experience life in a bigger city.  The difference with Kim however is that she had a way out, she was leaving to attend college, so perhaps the small town cops stereotyped Kim in this way and didn't take her departure seriously.  Therefore it had to fall upon her family, friends and strangers to spearhead the search.

KxBurns wrote:
How does the small-town Kingsville setting influence the lives of the characters in Songs for the Missing? What effect does it have on the search for Kim?
 
-Karen



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
Inspired Correspondent
nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

In small towns everyone knows everyone else. I can't envision the kind of community help the Larson's received happening anywhere but in a small town. People seemed to really care and to give of themselves for someone else.
 
I thought the police reaction was pretty typical for a small town (and I live in one). You can't help but expect that a teenager might run away just to have some kicks. I wasn't surprised by the police reaction nor was I surprised that the parents thought more should be done. I think they should be grateful they lived in a place where someone cared. In big cities kids can disappear without a trace and the police are too over worked to much more than a perfunctory search. I believe the police in this town would have taken a different view if thee had been evidence of a forcible abduction, or some other crime.
Inspired Correspondent
Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



thekoolaidmom wrote:
I think the personal relationship they have with the police is something you find in small towns more than the big.  We know our cops here, and they know my oldest daughter (she has special needs),  Being in a small town does limit the amount of resources available to the police, and it does make the wait time longer, as they have to send evidence off to a bigger city's lab.  It doesn't mean they have to flub the investigation, nor does it mean they have to blow off a missing person just because she's 18.  Here in my small town, we had a missing girl that quickly became nat'l news.  She was 18, and they put an Amber Alert out for her within 2 hours.  Our local law enforcement treats all missing reports as endangered, and are great about respecting the families.
 
I think this particular detective, and Perry, honestly, were lax and lazy.  It makes me appreciate our's more.


Koolaidmom------I agree with you. I also think Perry and the detective should have acted more quickly and thoroughly at the beginning. Even though she was 18, you would think the police would realize that with having that night job at the Conoco, some weird guy could decide to ambush her. On page 3 we have:
 
     "The creepiest were the old guys who bought condoms and wanted to joke about it like they were on the same team. There was a regular from down the county Nina christened Fat Joe-Bob who must have weighed three hundred pounds and wore a chunky gold chain and the same black Steeler sweatpants year-round."
 
Could that regular have been Wade? Anyway, the police should have immediately considered the diappearance suspicious.
Librarian

 


New User
dklmarkee
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

How does the small-town Kingsville setting influence the lives of the characters in Songs for the Missing? What effect does it have on the search for Kim?
I think part of the influence is the feeling of safety that often seems to go hand in hand with small town life, danger exists more in big cities. Kids had a little more freedom, because of that feeling.  I think - coming from a smaller town - there is a tendency to believe you'd hear if your child ever got into any serious trouble, believing they can't easily hide it. And to believe that because they know most everyone in town, their children are safe from predators - strangers would stand out and acquaintances would harm our kids. There's also the common belief that most teens who live in a small town want out - they want to live where they don't feel everyone is watching and reporting to mom and dad.
 
The effect on the search for Kim is two-fold: 1.) The safe mindset keeps the police from rushing into action when there's a teen disappearance. And 2.) They believe the teen simply wanted out, wanted freedom - to borrow from another - the fishbowl.
 
 
Contributor
Lady_Graeye
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

How does the small-town Kingsville setting influence the lives of the characters in Songs for the Missing? This town reminds me of " Mayberry RFD" (only without sheriff Andy.) We everyone knows everybody's name, what business they are in, which kid belongs where and they know when to lend a hand when a neighbor is in need. They are helpful, kind but stay out of each others' affairs.

What effect does it have on the search for Kim? This cop has waste valuable time in the search by thinking she ran away to "the big city." But if he thought logically about it, this is a girl that will be graduated soon, she will be going off to college, she has no reason to be running off. He hasn't watched CSI lately?
"You Can Never Own Too Many Books; It's Just Not Possible!!!"
Frequent Contributor
bmbrennan
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎02-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

For what it's worth from a big city kid, some here are playing Monday morning quaterback.  The police do not know the background which we are privy to by reading the chapters.  They are called after the fact, even the family doesn't have an exact time of when she disappeared, with parents saying we are the typical small town family in America whose daughter is missing.  They don't have all the information immefdiately and yet some here are expecting an answer without all the questions being asked.  They do have limited resources and alot of open area not to mention interstates to search.  And with frantic parents no matter how quickly they organized, it wouldn't have been quick enough to satisfy them.
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
Contributor
lady1226
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Coming from a big city, Brooklyn, NY it is very hard for me to realize that small towns do not necessarily have the same resources to help find a missing person.  I think all kids at a certain age look to escape from their parents home, large or small city town.  Sometimes small towns might do better, because the whole town gets involved.  We will have to wait and see.
Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online: 40 members 567 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: