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Jennd1
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I agree with the idea that the characters are stuck. They all realize that there is not much hope that Kim will return, but they are unable to move on with their lives just in case.
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GnANorman
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



detailmuse wrote:
I loved the way Mrs. Hedrick dealt with the situation -- first she comforted Lindsay, then she distracted her with some time together making dinner. It was a good thing, even though Lindsay was resistant to it. I thought it showed that Lindsay wasn't yet full grown and didn't always know what was best for her. A teenager still needs parenting.
 
And it's in such contrast to what Fran did when Lindsay got home (p198). Fran said they needed to talk. I thought Mrs. Hedrick must have told Fran about Lindsay's tears and Fran was going to come through, yay! I think Lindsay thought so, too. "Lindsay waited blankly, as if she was innocent." (innocent of crying!!) But no! it's birthday presents and contacts Fran needed to talk about. :smileymad: I could practically see Lindsay giving up on her mother and detaching in that moment.

ethel55 wrote:
[Lindsay] "breaks" a bit with the neighbor, Mrs. Hedrick



I was frustrated with Fran and Ed's "handling" of Lindsay.  They kept her in a bubble and didn't seem to recognize her need for support throughout.  Fran wanted Lindsay's help doing this and that...  They didn't offer her help or a chance to voice her feelings and emotions.  Thank goodness she had support from their neighbor, Mrs. Hendrick.
 
I agree with previous comments about the football game.  Out of sight... out of mind.  Tough for Fran and Ed to deal with, but a reality in our "me" world.
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Jeanie0522
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

[ Edited ]


Murphy919 wrote:


Bonnie824 wrote:
What struck me in the middle was that everyone really seemed to have lost hope in a happy ending, but kept going through the emotions and work of pretending they hadn't. It was like they were scared to stop and feel the grief yet. But also would have felt guilty trying to live a normal kind of way yet.






I couldn't agree more! It got to the point that to me they were just treading water, afraid to admit that Kim might be gone but tired of waiting for the grieving to begin. Some call it poignant I call it stalling for time, I was getting bored at this point. However, I think it is largely my need for answers and since I wasn't getting any it stopped being fun for me.

 

 

I think everyone likes a different type of writing style.  I love how the author writes a story so it is realistic.  There is not going to be a magic fairy that pops in and makes everything okay at some point.  Part of the horror the family faces is the not knowing and the endless waiting and waiting...  This is what I believe the author is getting across.  I found these chapters interesting and tense.  People are half living their lives while all the time waiting.  I know it is hard to wait for answers and you want to read faster to find out what will happen, but I think that is the charm of an O'Nan novel.  -Jeanie


Message Edited by Jeanie0522 on 06-10-2008 08:30 PM
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GMorrison
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

[ Edited ]
Quoting detailmuse:
//And it's in such contrast to what Fran did when Lindsay got home (p198). Fran said they needed to talk. I thought Mrs. Hedrick must have told Fran about Lindsay's tears and Fran was going to come through, yay! I think Lindsay thought so, too. "Lindsay waited blankly, as if she was innocent." (innocent of crying!!) But no! it's birthday presents and contacts Fran needed to talk about. :smileymad: I could practically see Lindsay giving up on her mother and detaching in that moment.//
 
Poor Fran.  She's trying so hard, and yet she's so out of touch with her remaining daughter.  She's trying to connect to Lindsay the only way she thinks she can, by offering to give her gifts she's already made clear are beyond the family's financial means, using this to signal her love for Lindsay.  And it isn't irrational: Lindsay has shown herself averse to any display of vulnerability or raw emotion from her mother, so this is really the only route Fran has left.  It's too bad both mother and daughter are so afraid of each other's true feelings that they keep missing these opportunities to truly connect with each other.

ETA: I have no idea why the forum keeps wiping the formatting out of this message.

Message Edited by GMorrison on 06-10-2008 11:05 PM
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KxBurns
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



GMorrison wrote:
I feel that the biggest change between this section and the first is that the family is settling into a sort of limbo along with the search. After Kim's car is located no further clues emerge to point to her whereabouts or ultimate fate, and although her parents are still involved in the search effort, it's almost taken on the role of habit--they're resigned to not knowing where their daughter is, no longer fervently expecting her to be located.

Indeed, I think the key dynamic shift in this section is that the Larsens are waiting to hear that they've found Kim's body, not Kim herself.

I was glad to see that Ed and Fran's marriage is holding up better than I'd anticipated. There are still problems of course: I'm worried about Fran's increasing dependence on Ambien, but she does seem more conscious of her drinking, and Ed did return home from Sandusky. I think it's a good sign that they've both gone back to work and that Fran is making an effort to connect to Lindsay, even though her daughter is trying to rebuff her somewhat.

I agree with lamorgan that the football game was the pivotal scene. It almost summarizes of the entire development of the past 100-odd pages: people have accepted Kim's disappearance and life goes on. Like the annual memorials held in The Lovely Bones, where fewer and fewer people attend every year, the community moves on, and Kim's loss only remains raw for her immediate family and friends. Kim has become much less of an individual, a person, and more of a brand name or familiar fixture at public events, and her situation just cannot command the same attention anymore. Of course this is difficult for the family to confront, but it's necessary that they do so, especially when it seems as though the missing individual may never be found.

Message Edited by GMorrison on 06-09-2008 01:54 PM

Absolutely -- limbo is the perfect word for it. I looked at this grouping of chapters as a waiting game, but what they're waiting for gets more realistic as time passes.
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KxBurns
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



bmbrennan wrote:

To me the longer a search goes the less urgency that seems to exist.  I see that happening here.  Ironic that Kim's car was found in a hospital parking lot.  I think that Ed thought there would be much more to finding the car, that somehow it would have a bigger sense of purpose.  I got the feeling that Ed thought the car would be in a CSI ish kind of garage and when he sees it in a shack reality begins to sink in that Kim being gone is not the priority to law enforcement that it still is to him and Fran.  I also liked how Ed couldn't completely let go of the real estate agent in him, how in driving to Sandusky, he notes the houses and how easily they could be sold and that he could see himself here, is this an unconscious wish to be able to start over, I don't know.  I also found the telephone call to Fran from the motel room poignant as if it was them against the world how foretelling since at the football game  they are alone in the circle on the field.

I think this is a great observation -- it's part of what made this part of the story so realistic to me.
As time goes on, the minutiae of the search efforts blend in to the minutiae of everyday life.
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detailmuse
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

That scene was well written and motivated, I was as shocked as the parents to see the empty stands!
 
But I think the townspeople have moved into a more self-protective phase, not a self-centered one. Kim is their friend/neighbor/acquaintance, not their daughter; their reaction shouldn't be the same as Fran and Ed's.
 
Years ago, Dr. Andrew Weil recommended that people limit/eliminate their exposure to the news -- he said that people are built to react to the joys and sorrows of their local community ... that we're not equipped to deal with the global community, to differentiate what is societally tragic vs personally tragic ... that a person can't bear the grief of the planet. On a smaller scale, I think this is what the people in Kingsville were doing.

GnANorman wrote:
I agree with previous comments about the football game.  Out of sight... out of mind.  Tough for Fran and Ed to deal with, but a reality in our "me" world.


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chickletta
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

For me, like someone else mentioned - I was disturbed by Fran's transformation to this suave media spokesperson. I can understand that in such a situation, that's what the media looks for - a with-it person who can make an appeal and get the responses necessary. But I'd rather have seen Fran fall on her face a couple of times and then maybe find that inner strength to come through. It's almost too picture perfect.
 
I also find Lindsay's apathy perplexing. She seems to be reaching out to Kim's boyfriend but puts on the surly teenager act when she's at home with her parents. Granted that's how teenagers are, but if your sister is missing and presumably dead (as Lindsay herself says at one point, she doesn't think Kim's coming home after the first night when she wasn't found), wouldn't you be more distraught? Isn't this event big enough to break through your churlish facade?
 
The realest person to me in this whole section is Ed. I can totally relate to his need to keep driving around, doing something, anything, to keep looking. I'm tempted to check out the spoilers, it's beginning to drive me crazy that there's nothing else from Kim at this point beyond the car being found :smileyhappy:
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Readingrat
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

[ Edited ]
Overall, I felt this whole section of the book was very true to life concerning the waiting game that this type of disappearance turns in to. I also agree that watching people wait for something to happen doesn't make for the most gripping of reads. However, I really felt the tension of waiting for the results on the autopsy and tremendous relief right along with Fran and Ed when the results were revealed. I also felt sorry for all of Kim's family and friends for the apparent lack of continuing interest on the part of the community as evidenced at the football game.

I was a little disappointed at the first part of this section. The end of the last section gave us a nice little cliff hanger with P.J. and Nina getting pulled off of the bus by the police, but there was no follow up reveal in this section. We just sort of flash on to Ed driving out to Sandusky and the secret is already out of the closet (all behind the scenes). To me, it felt like an important chapter was left out of the book. :smileysad:

Message Edited by Readingrat on 06-11-2008 02:31 PM

Message Edited by Readingrat on 06-11-2008 02:31 PM
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KxBurns
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

Hey, since several of you mentioned the importance of the football game scene, I'd love to hear your thoughts about the contrast between the halftime ceremony in Chapter 24 and the "moment of hope" at Lindsay's softball game in Chapter 15, "The Loser's Bracket."
 
How has time changed the tenor of these rituals? How has the purpose behind them changed?
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FrankieD
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

Ed and Fran are so busy with keeping Kim in the public eye that they are ignoring Lindsay...perhaps more than they ignored Kim before she disappeared. There's a lot of turmoil in Lindsay's mind about her sister and their relationship and now she has to deal with being in Kim's shadow even when she is gone. I think that the circle at half-time was very difficult for Lindsay more than anybody else.
 
                                                                                        FrankieD :smileyhappy:
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onecunninggirl
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

During the half time show, I really found myself connecting with the fans who had left the bleachers.  I think that it is always important to remember things like this or else the next person won't be ready when something like this happens, but I think there comes a point when everyone kind of disconnects from it.  It isn't that they don't believe it happened, or that they don't believe it could happen to them, but rather that it happened and it is time to move on.  Although, I do believe that it is hard as a family to move on, I do think society expects it of us.  I think the "fans" were still trying to show support, the table selling the rainbow merchandise was busy before the game, but I think that they were ready to see the positive things in life and not dwell on Kim.
 
I also found myself connecting to Nina.  She has not only lost her best friend, but she has been kicked out of the "inner circle".  She also was realizing that all of what was going on around her was not what Kim would have wanted.  Kim would have been one of those people at the concession.  Kim would have been one of the friends behind the bleachers socializing.  Nina realized there was really no point.
 
I find myself very disconnected from the book at this point.  I want to know more about Lindsay since she is the only one seemingly going on with her life.
 
Karla 
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ilenekm
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")


Readingrat wrote:


I was a little disappointed at the first part of this section. The end of the last section gave us a nice little cliff hanger with P.J. and Nina getting pulled off of the bus by the police, but there was no follow up reveal in this section. We just sort of flash on to Ed driving out to Sandusky and the secret is already out of the closet (all behind the scenes). To me, it felt like an important chapter was left out of the book. :smileysad:





I agree with Readingrat that something was missing between the end of the last section and the beginning of this one. I found myself rereading the last couple of chapters of the last section to see if I missed anything. We still do not know what the whole secret was even though we know that it had to do with drugs.

I can also understand how the crowd reacted during the football game. Months have passed since Kim disappeared and they have moved on with their own lives much more so than those of the 'Inner Circle'. Even though they may grieve Kim's disappearance, they have their own tragedies and successes that they are living through. To them, the vigil is far less important than those closer to Kim.
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bmbrennan
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I too felt the tension/anxiety waiting for the answer and Fran hoping it was not Kim but not wanting this to be someone else's daughter.  I cannot blame the community for their waning interest, sad to say but life does go on and they have their own families as well.  Small town life can revolve around their football team, I remember one year, Halloween trick or treating was changed because Halloween had fallen on a Friday and Friday night was football night.  Here you have a winning season and a championship game, a time to be happy  and not reminded of the reality of life.

Readingrat wrote:
Overall, I felt this whole section of the book was very true to life concerning the waiting game that this type of disappearance turns in to. I also agree that watching people wait for something to happen doesn't make for the most gripping of reads. However, I really felt the tension of waiting for the results on the autopsy and tremendous relief right along with Fran and Ed when the results were revealed. I also felt sorry for all of Kim's family and friends for the apparent lack of continuing interest on the part of the community as evidenced at the football game.


bmbrennan
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detailmuse
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I thought the timing and presentation of a body being found (p173) was well done.
 
We actually end the previous chapter happy, hooray-ing with Lindsay and Fran because Lindsay passed her driver's test. And then the first line on the next page comes, BAM! "Right outside Geneva, two kids taking a shortcut through the woods behind a rundown motel found the body." O'Nan made me feel, as much as a reader can, the out-of-nowhere shock that the characters must have felt.
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onecunninggirl
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



detailmuse wrote:
I thought the timing and presentation of a body being found (p173) was well done.
 
We actually end the previous chapter happy, hooray-ing with Lindsay and Fran because Lindsay passed her driver's test. And then the first line on the next page comes, BAM! "Right outside Geneva, two kids taking a shortcut through the woods behind a rundown motel found the body." O'Nan made me feel, as much as a reader can, the out-of-nowhere shock that the characters must have felt.


I completely agree with you on this!  I had mostly given up on this book, and then this happened and my heart jumped back into the book for a while.  Unfortunately after a few pages of that chapter, I kind of realized there was too much book left for it to really be Kim.  Because I felt that way, it just kind of seemed to drag.
Karla
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



detailmuse wrote:
I thought the timing and presentation of a body being found (p173) was well done.
 
We actually end the previous chapter happy, hooray-ing with Lindsay and Fran because Lindsay passed her driver's test. And then the first line on the next page comes, BAM! "Right outside Geneva, two kids taking a shortcut through the woods behind a rundown motel found the body." O'Nan made me feel, as much as a reader can, the out-of-nowhere shock that the characters must have felt.





I, also, felt a huge lurch at this point. It was like getting hit by a mac truck from out of nowhere. You got to admit, the man has style....
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Quilter1
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

The middle chapters made me feel that the family had given up hope, being a parent, I think you never give up hope, and the need to keep looking makes life bearable. I felt Ed coming home, and Fran cleaning and cooking gave her a sense of purpose because she was feeling alone and needing him.
Also, when they found the car, with the front bumper smashed, the sheared off key in the door, found in the hospital parking lot....just made me want to keep reading to find out all the answers.
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no4daughter
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

It seems to me that by the end of the middle chapters, and especially at the football game, Kim has become less of a person and the rememberances have taken on the same sort of media spin that accompanies a national "brand".  Fran has anchor woman hair and wears a suit, Ed is like Fran's handler when he holds her coat while she speaks and uses 2 hands to flip her hair for her, Kim has become Kimberly, the posters on lightpoles are now foamcore heads and the people at the game tune out just like they would if a commercial were on their telvision.    
  
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")


KxBurns wrote:
..."moment of hope" at Lindsay's softball game in Chapter 15, "The Loser's Bracket."




If anyone is interested, I believe the song that Lindsay is revolted by during this section is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, on his Facing Future CD. You can listen to it (if you have Windows Media Player) at barnes & noble. I really enjoy his music, but I can see why teenage Lindsay saw it as a sappy choice for this particular occasion.
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