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MelissaW
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Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Kim and her friends found life in the small-town of Kingsville to be stifling and could not wait to graduate from high school and go away to college.  To them, the small town where they were raised and where everyone knew everything about each other was old-fashioned.  They couldn’t see the value in living there and hated that they were judged on where they lived in the town and how their parents could find out everything that they were involved with simply by talking to friends.

When Kim got stopped for speeding the day that she disappeared, she was unhappy because she knew that her parents would find out about it, even though she was only given a warning.  She knew that she got the warning because her parents were friends with the sheriff, who was the one to stop her. 

For example, Kim’s parents didn’t approve of her dating JP because of where he lived.  To them, since he lived in the “wrong” area of town, he had to be “no good”.  They did not judge him on the person that he was.  When Kim disappears and the detective is questioning her parents about her, her friends, etc, Fran talks about some of the things that she knows that Kim has done and says that she never would have tried it if not for her involvement with JP  She also blames the tattoo that Kim has on JP’s influence.

When Kim disappears and her parents don’t feel that the detective is taking the situation seriously, her dad calls the sheriff, who is a friend, to complain about the detective’s handling of the case and that they don’t think that the detective believes that Kim is in danger, but that he is giving them the impression that she just took off.  

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Tarri
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Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



Demira wrote:
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. 
 
 
     


I completely agree with Demira.  The parents don't actually know what the police officers are doing, and there is absolutely no evidence of foul play.  All everyone know is that Kim (an adult) did not show up for work, nor did she come home when she should have.  I thought the police actually did a lot, even if they didn't call in the dogs like the parents wanted. 
 


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


The effect on the search for Kim of small town life, is that it was easier to get the police involved, organize searches, and there was less area to search and easier access to areas to be searched.  As with most small town teenagers, the high school graduates couldn't wait to escape to the big city colleges, both to become a little more anonymous and have a lot more freedom.   

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Maria_H
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Registered: ‎07-19-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Just a very quick note to let you know that next week we'll be revealing some photos that Stewart took during his research into locales for the book!


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nicolemosco
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

This may seem slightly off topic, but I did want to address O'Nan's use of setting in this novel. I'm from the Pittsburgh, PA, area. While geographically western Pennsylvania is very different from Ohio, the culture in both the urban and more rural areas of PA is very similar to that of eastern Ohio. For me, a great strength of this book was O'Nan's effective and realistic portrayal of his community. I don't know if readers from other areas of the country will feel the same (maybe), but much of what is invoked in this novel made me feel like I was reading a real account of someone I might know rather than a fictional story on the page.
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bmbrennan
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Registered: ‎02-28-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

This may seem slightly off topic, but I did want to address O'Nan's use of setting in this novel. I'm from the Pittsburgh, PA, area. While geographically western Pennsylvania is very different from Ohio, the culture in both the urban and more rural areas of PA is very similar to that of eastern Ohio.
 
 
 
I know I have cousins who live in Warren, PA (by Erie) and I spent part of my collegiate years at Happy Valley and drove back and forth from Philly.  It brought back memories, especially since I used to drive by myself.
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

I have relatives near Sandusky and have spent a bit of time there. In fact, I was there last summer when a woman went missing, and I remember the TV coverage and the volunteer search teams. I smiled when I read O'Nan's reference to the sharp curve in I-90 in Cleveland ... I've been surprised by it too, it's essentially a 90-degree turn -- on an expressway!! A lot in the novel seemed familiar.

nicolemosco wrote:
For me, a great strength of this book was O'Nan's effective and realistic portrayal of his community. I don't know if readers from other areas of the country will feel the same (maybe), but much of what is invoked in this novel made me feel like I was reading a real account of someone I might know rather than a fictional story on the page.
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detailmuse
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Ha! A twist on this happened to my dad once. I grew up in a small town and my best friend married a man who became a sheriff's deputy. He stopped a speeder one day -- and when he saw who it was, he mentioned me ... and let Dad off with a warning!!

MelissaW wrote:
When Kim got stopped for speeding the day that she disappeared, she was unhappy because she knew that her parents would find out about it, even though she was only given a warning.  She knew that she got the warning because her parents were friends with the sheriff, who was the one to stop her.


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booser
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

How does the small-town Kingsville setting influence the lives of the characters in Songs for the Missing?
 
I'm from a small town and it's a lot like Kingsville. Small towns are tight communities, everyone usually knows everyone; or everyone's business. There is always a shock factor when something like this happens, especially in a small town. People can't believe this happens so close to home, they think these things happen in the city or to other people not to them. This influences the manner in which things are handled. The police being inexperienced or the delay in more action happening sooner.
 
Small towns still have the "Mayberry" shadow around them.
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Crystal8i8
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Registered: ‎02-04-2008
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Everyone in town knew Kim, that is a huge part of a small town.  These people banded together and took a stand to help whenever possible to someone who was known to them, even if it was just by face.
 
Gossip is a big part of any small town, that's how people "stay connected." 
The Butterfly Girl 8i8

"Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors." - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



detailmuse wrote:
I have relatives near Sandusky and have spent a bit of time there. In fact, I was there last summer when a woman went missing, and I remember the TV coverage and the volunteer search teams. I smiled when I read O'Nan's reference to the sharp curve in I-90 in Cleveland ... I've been surprised by it too, it's essentially a 90-degree turn -- on an expressway!! A lot in the novel seemed familiar.

nicolemosco wrote:
For me, a great strength of this book was O'Nan's effective and realistic portrayal of his community. I don't know if readers from other areas of the country will feel the same (maybe), but much of what is invoked in this novel made me feel like I was reading a real account of someone I might know rather than a fictional story on the page.


Great! On the thread with O'Nan's photos we'll be asking for any personal impressions of the area from those of you who are familiar with this part of the country. Stay tuned :smileyhappy:
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KxBurns
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



dklmarkee 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?
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.


This is very true -- and as a result, the disappearance is even more profoundly shocking to everyone. They haven't just lost a daughter, a sister, a friend -- they've lost their sense that life as they know it is safe and orderly.
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BookSavage
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Registered: ‎01-11-2008
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



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. 


I completly disagree.  I have lived in multiple small towns in my life, and I believe this is one of O'Nan's biggest flubs in this book.  There is no way that the cops in this town would have blown off a family in this way.  They would have been more than willing to go the extra mile.  O'Nan missed this one big time.
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BookSavage
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Registered: ‎01-11-2008
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



Demira wrote:
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. 
 
 
     


I am glad that I am not the only one that believes that small town cops would know what to do.  I think O'Nan even portrays them as less then capable which is not accurate especially since there is a major highway running through the town.  These cops would know what to do, but would also be very willing to do all they can to help the family.
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KxBurns
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



BookSavage wrote:


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. 


I completly disagree.  I have lived in multiple small towns in my life, and I believe this is one of O'Nan's biggest flubs in this book.  There is no way that the cops in this town would have blown off a family in this way.  They would have been more than willing to go the extra mile.  O'Nan missed this one big time.


You know, I'm not sure it's O'Nan's intention to portray the small-town police force as having flubbed anything. Not all of us read it this way -- someone made the great comment earlier that perhaps it just seems to Fran and Ed that the police aren't doing enough because nothing they do could ever be enough to please the parents until Kim is found. Does that interpretation sound feasible to you?
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Maria_H
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

And what we read about the police is through the prism of Ed and Fran.


KxBurns wrote:

You know, I'm not sure it's O'Nan's intention to portray the small-town police force as having flubbed anything. Not all of us read it this way -- someone made the great comment earlier that perhaps it just seems to Fran and Ed that the police aren't doing enough because nothing they do could ever be enough to please the parents until Kim is found. Does that interpretation sound feasible to you?


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Maria_H
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

And you can find Stewart's photos of Northeast Ohio here!


KxBurns wrote:

Great! On the thread with O'Nan's photos we'll be asking for any personal impressions of the area from those of you who are familiar with this part of the country. Stay tuned :smileyhappy:




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BookSavage
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



KxBurns wrote:


BookSavage wrote:


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. 


I completly disagree.  I have lived in multiple small towns in my life, and I believe this is one of O'Nan's biggest flubs in this book.  There is no way that the cops in this town would have blown off a family in this way.  They would have been more than willing to go the extra mile.  O'Nan missed this one big time.


You know, I'm not sure it's O'Nan's intention to portray the small-town police force as having flubbed anything. Not all of us read it this way -- someone made the great comment earlier that perhaps it just seems to Fran and Ed that the police aren't doing enough because nothing they do could ever be enough to please the parents until Kim is found. Does that interpretation sound feasible to you?


I think this is a plausible explanation, but I do not think it is probable.  This book was written is such a disconnected and matter of fact fashion that I really think that O'Nan makes it clear what he wants you to think about each character and each part of the operation.  There is no getting into the minds of the characters in this book because O'Nan leaves his characters so flat and static that it is impossible to feel that they are real people and not just news stories.  Once again, I think it is plausible, but I think if O'Nan wanted you to think they did all they could then it would be very clear.
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KxBurns
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



Maria_H wrote:
And what we read about the police is through the prism of Ed and Fran.


KxBurns wrote:

You know, I'm not sure it's O'Nan's intention to portray the small-town police force as having flubbed anything. Not all of us read it this way -- someone made the great comment earlier that perhaps it just seems to Fran and Ed that the police aren't doing enough because nothing they do could ever be enough to please the parents until Kim is found. Does that interpretation sound feasible to you?


Totally! I was just thinking about that :smileyhappy:
 
I could be wrong, but if I recall correctly the frustration with the police is mainly seen through Ed's eyes, and not so much even Fran's. I think Ed's perceptions of the police are colored by his disillusionment over the fact that his status within the community means nothing now, and does not help them in their efforts to find Kim.
 
But Booksavage, we should definitely ask O'Nan what his intentions were when he joins us next week! I'll be posting a thread for questions tomorrow.
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BookSavage
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



KxBurns wrote:


Maria_H wrote:
And what we read about the police is through the prism of Ed and Fran.


KxBurns wrote:

You know, I'm not sure it's O'Nan's intention to portray the small-town police force as having flubbed anything. Not all of us read it this way -- someone made the great comment earlier that perhaps it just seems to Fran and Ed that the police aren't doing enough because nothing they do could ever be enough to please the parents until Kim is found. Does that interpretation sound feasible to you?


Totally! I was just thinking about that :smileyhappy:
 
I could be wrong, but if I recall correctly the frustration with the police is mainly seen through Ed's eyes, and not so much even Fran's. I think Ed's perceptions of the police are colored by his disillusionment over the fact that his status within the community means nothing now, and does not help them in their efforts to find Kim.
 
But Booksavage, we should definitely ask O'Nan what his intentions were when he joins us next week! I'll be posting a thread for questions tomorrow.


I will look forward to hearing what the author has to say about many issues.  This is my second first look experience, and while I enjoyed talking to Poppy Adams, that was not as exciting as talking to O'Nan.  She was a first time author and was very protective of her work.  I am hoping that because O'Nan has been around the block a few times, that he will be more willing to openly discuss his work with some people that did not enjoy this book at all.  Thanks again B&N and the publisher for this chance.
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KxBurns
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



BookSavage wrote:

I will look forward to hearing what the author has to say about many issues.  This is my second first look experience, and while I enjoyed talking to Poppy Adams, that was not as exciting as talking to O'Nan.  She was a first time author and was very protective of her work.  I am hoping that because O'Nan has been around the block a few times, that he will be more willing to openly discuss his work with some people that did not enjoy this book at all.  Thanks again B&N and the publisher for this chance.


Oh, cool -- we're having a conversation in "real time." I love when that happens :smileyhappy: 
 
I hear what you're saying about the emotion. I guess I'm more in the camp that likes this style of writing but I understand where you're coming from and I'm sure the author will be happy to speak to this and other questions that have been raised.
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