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BookSavage
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎01-11-2008
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



KxBurns wrote:


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.



Real time is much better, I hate waiting half a day for a response.  I am sure for those that like this style of writing it was great.  I am more in the Jodi Piccoult camp, I want to feel what the characters are feeling.  I just did not like the fact that the characters were so static.  I really wanted them to change and grow and did not feel like they did.  Have  you read O'Nan's other works?  Are they all written this way?
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



BookSavage wrote:

Real time is much better, I hate waiting half a day for a response.  I am sure for those that like this style of writing it was great.  I am more in the Jodi Piccoult camp, I want to feel what the characters are feeling.  I just did not like the fact that the characters were so static.  I really wanted them to change and grow and did not feel like they did.  Have  you read O'Nan's other works?  Are they all written this way?


I've read several of O'Nan's other books and I would say there's kind of an emotional reserve that's typical of his work, but it's used to different effect in different books. Although I haven't read everything of his so it might not be universal. This one reminds me most of Wish You Were Here, but in something like The Speed Queen the emotional detachment has a rather dramatically different purpose.
 
You really didn't think the characters changed? I'm surprised! I actually thought the changes in the characters came through even if you didn't feel their emotions. Maybe we can get into that over on the various character threads -- I suppose we already have :smileyhappy:
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BookSavage
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎01-11-2008
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



KxBurns wrote:


BookSavage wrote:

Real time is much better, I hate waiting half a day for a response.  I am sure for those that like this style of writing it was great.  I am more in the Jodi Piccoult camp, I want to feel what the characters are feeling.  I just did not like the fact that the characters were so static.  I really wanted them to change and grow and did not feel like they did.  Have  you read O'Nan's other works?  Are they all written this way?


I've read several of O'Nan's other books and I would say there's kind of an emotional reserve that's typical of his work, but it's used to different effect in different books. Although I haven't read everything of his so it might not be universal. This one reminds me most of Wish You Were Here, but in something like The Speed Queen the emotional detachment has a rather dramatically different purpose.
 
You really didn't think the characters changed? I'm surprised! I actually thought the changes in the characters came through even if you didn't feel their emotions. Maybe we can get into that over on the various character threads -- I suppose we already have :smileyhappy:


Thanks for letting me know about his other books.  After having this bad an experience with an author i am always hesitant to read another of his or her works.  I really do not like books that felt like the author forced them out onto paper, and in which the story seems so contrived and lacking of real life.  I suppose from your comments though that it might be worth it to try one more of O'Nan's books.
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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



BookSavage wrote:

  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. 


This comment confuses me a little. The people in news stories ARE real people. Unless they are some sort of celebrity, they’re usually in the news because of some unusual event that has happened to them, and often it’s some sort of tragedy. The best reporters aren’t the ones who go for the cheap sensationalism - showing the close up shot of a collapsed, grieving parent, for example. Good news stories give us the facts and enough of the context that we can understand the situation and draw our own conclusions. But we can never let ourselves forget that the people are REAL, ’flesh and blood’ as they say, with emotions and a full life outside of the day’s news cycle. The fictional characters in this book or any other can symbolize real people and real situations for us, their lives pared down to just what is essential to the story. But it would seem very strange to me to think a book is only convincing if it makes one care more about the fictional than one does about the very real people in the news.

 

 

 

 

 

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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

Good Morning,

Chapter 1-13
The kids seem to be like normal kids but because of their small town (more rural) setting, they hang out at the river instead of at the mall. Kids can get into trouble just about anywhere and bad influences, unfortunately, exist in large cities and small towns.

Perhaps (but I am not convinced at this point) if they lived in a larger metropolitan area, there would have been more adult supervision. I'm not convinced because Kim was getting ready for college and would have been pushing for her independence. Once kids can drive, they are free to go where they please. There is more of a presumption of safety in a smaller town ad so these kids could have very naively gotten themselves into something quite dangerous and with some ruthless characters. They don't have the 'edge' you would find in kids raised in a city.

The town really rallies in the initial search for Kim and continues with fundraising events as the weeks pass. I'm not sure if there would be nearly the same level of volunteer participation in a large city or surrounding suburbs.

Distrusting the detectives would be a common thread regardless of location. Parents and friends and siblings might not know everything about the missing person's life - but a consistent message from all of them that she wouldn't just split should push the case to abduction from just missing faster - even if she was 18 years old.

Susan
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



BookSavage wrote:


KxBurns wrote:


BookSavage wrote:

Real time is much better, I hate waiting half a day for a response.  I am sure for those that like this style of writing it was great.  I am more in the Jodi Piccoult camp, I want to feel what the characters are feeling.  I just did not like the fact that the characters were so static.  I really wanted them to change and grow and did not feel like they did.  Have  you read O'Nan's other works?  Are they all written this way?


I've read several of O'Nan's other books and I would say there's kind of an emotional reserve that's typical of his work, but it's used to different effect in different books. Although I haven't read everything of his so it might not be universal. This one reminds me most of Wish You Were Here, but in something like The Speed Queen the emotional detachment has a rather dramatically different purpose.
 
You really didn't think the characters changed? I'm surprised! I actually thought the changes in the characters came through even if you didn't feel their emotions. Maybe we can get into that over on the various character threads -- I suppose we already have :smileyhappy:


Thanks for letting me know about his other books.  After having this bad an experience with an author i am always hesitant to read another of his or her works.  I really do not like books that felt like the author forced them out onto paper, and in which the story seems so contrived and lacking of real life.  I suppose from your comments though that it might be worth it to try one more of O'Nan's books.


Oh, you should definitely read some of O'Nan's other works! I think he does a fantastic job of conveying the rich emotional lives of his characters in each of the books that I've read. While you may not have found that in this particular book (although I did), I don't doubt you'll find some of his many other works more to your liking. And they are so varied! I hope you've checked out this thread for some ideas of where to start.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life



m3girl wrote:
Good Morning,

Chapter 1-13
The kids seem to be like normal kids but because of their small town (more rural) setting, they hang out at the river instead of at the mall. Kids can get into trouble just about anywhere and bad influences, unfortunately, exist in large cities and small towns.

Perhaps (but I am not convinced at this point) if they lived in a larger metropolitan area, there would have been more adult supervision. I'm not convinced because Kim was getting ready for college and would have been pushing for her independence. Once kids can drive, they are free to go where they please. There is more of a presumption of safety in a smaller town ad so these kids could have very naively gotten themselves into something quite dangerous and with some ruthless characters. They don't have the 'edge' you would find in kids raised in a city.

The town really rallies in the initial search for Kim and continues with fundraising events as the weeks pass. I'm not sure if there would be nearly the same level of volunteer participation in a large city or surrounding suburbs.

Distrusting the detectives would be a common thread regardless of location. Parents and friends and siblings might not know everything about the missing person's life - but a consistent message from all of them that she wouldn't just split should push the case to abduction from just missing faster - even if she was 18 years old.

Susan

Hey Susan!
 
Although the small-town setting definitely has an impact, you rightfully pick up on the universality of many aspects of the story. The family's frustration and the skepticism of the police are both probably typical, regardless of the location, because I imagine most families insist their child is not a runaway while most policemen/women know that experience suggests otherwise. Even the false sense of security can be partially attributed -- in the case of Kim and her friends anyway -- to the bravado of youth.
 
So while the book certainly illustrates how this particular tragedy would unfold against the backdrop of small-town America, in other ways it shows that this could happen anywhere... it's kind of haunting that way.
Contributor
Turner_A
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎04-24-2008
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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? With Kim missing, the community really pulls together to find her. I am sure that the help and support from the community make the family feel good. 
What effect does it have on the search for Kim? More volunteers and even businesses willing to donate food and beverages to the search.
Can you give some examples of the positives and negatives of the small-town ethos, as experienced by Kim, her family, and her friends? When Kim was pulled over, the police officer knew that she was Ed's daughter.
Since the town is small, rumors of Kim's whereabouts circulate around town. Fran and Ed try to keep these rumors from Lindsey.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Correspondent
m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Kingsville/Small-Town Life

I grew up in the 60s/70s....in a suburb of a mid sized city in the midwest.  Although we didn't have all of the gadgetry (x boxes...mobile phones....internet....etc) we sure had more freedom than kids have today.  We used to run the neighborhood all summer free to have adventures and lots of fun.  I see the way my friends watch over their children and feel sort of sorry for them.  Technology doesn't beat the freedom we had back then (in the good old days?).  This was something I kept thinking about as I read the book...even in the small town you have to watch out for the perv's these days.....sad.
 
Susan
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