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KxBurns
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Nina

What did you think of Nina? Is she the one who knows Kim best?
 
Using Nina and her relationships with Kim and others in the book (Elise, J.P., etc.) as a jumping off point, discuss the concept of friendship as portrayed in Songs. In what ways does Nina act to protect her friendships throughout the novel and in what ways does she betray them?
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


KxBurns wrote:


What did you think of Nina? Is she the one who knows Kim best?

 

Using Nina and her relationships with Kim and others in the book (Elise, J.P., etc.) as a jumping off point, discuss the concept of friendship as portrayed in Songs. In what ways does Nina act to protect her friendships throughout the novel and in what ways does she betray them?





Potential Spoiler if you have not completed the book:

All of the characters have undergone major changes in their lives because of Kim's disappearance. Her presence in their lives would never have impacted such departures from their normal routines, personality and demeanor as did her abrupt exit.

Nina had been the scheming, empty-headed teenager who now had changed dramatically. She swore off partying, lying in bed nights and listening to the music thumping through the walls. She now did laundry on the weekends and studied. She was now known as the humorless nerd. "Through solitude and hard work she'd become one of the girls she'd made fun of in high school." She began to like the responsible, self-possessed person she had become and did not feel the need to react negatively to her mother's admonitions.

All she wanted was for the Larsens to acknowledge that she (Nina), Elise and JP loved Kim and would have done anything to have her back. Ed saw them as just kids and would have forgiven them; but for Fran it was all just too impossible.

I wonder if Fran just could not stand that the three of them were alive and standing before her and her daughter was not. Nina did withhold information but in the final analysis; this information would have not brought Kim back or saved her from her fate. In fact, if Fran herself had not made Kim feel guilty about taking her sister out for driving; maybe Kim might not have run out of gas.
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Peppermill
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

In fact, if Fran herself had not made Kim feel guilty about taking her sister out for driving; maybe Kim might not have run out of gas.

Ouch! Does such "logic" serve any purpose?
"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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the_mad_chatter
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

Did Kim run out of gas the night of her diappearance?  If so, that's odd considering where she worked.  I don't remember that from the book.
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bmbrennan
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Re: Nina

What did you think of Nina? Is she the one who knows Kim best?
 
Using Nina and her relationships with Kim and others in the book (Elise, J.P., etc.) as a jumping off point, discuss the concept of friendship as portrayed in Songs. In what ways does Nina act to protect her friendships throughout the novel and in what ways does she betray them?
 
I don't really think that anyone whether it is her "close" friends or her family know the complete Kim.  I think Kim revealed herself differently to everyone.  Nina knew some of Kim's secrets but not all of them.  They all had a piece of the puzzle but not everyone had the complete picture. Maybe that's why the resentment between Fran and Nina and JP lingers.
bmbrennan
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dhaupt
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Re: Nina

I think Nina is the one in the book who knows Kim the best, she shares most of her secrets with Kim except for the one about JP.
In Songs of the Missing I think Mr. O'Nan has described friendships very accurately. None of them are perfect and in fact most of them are imperfect to a fault.

Regarding Nina protecting/betraying friendships I think it is best described as the secret she keeps from Kim about Kissing JP in that instance she is both protecting and betraying her friendship to Kim.
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Peppermill
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

[ Edited ]

the_mad_chatter wrote:
Did Kim run out of gas the night of her disappearance? If so, that's odd considering where she worked. I don't remember that from the book.





See pages 11 and 258.

(For stuff on the cell phone the evening of her disappearance, see p. 14. I believe this was a question on another thread.)

Message Edited by Peppermill on 06-09-2008 06:37 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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the_mad_chatter
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

Thanks Peppermill for giving me those pages.  I will probably be slammed for saying this but the majority of the Larsen family members were not good decision makers.  O'Nan could have suggested any reason besides running out of gas but he didn't-which is interesting.  I am not saying that her disappearance was her fault, but Kim running out of gas when she worked at a gas station is pretty ironic.
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Peppermill
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


the_mad_chatter wrote:
Thanks Peppermill for giving me those pages. I will probably be slammed for saying this but the majority of the Larsen family members were not good decision makers. O'Nan could have suggested any reason besides running out of gas but he didn't-which is interesting. I am not saying that her disappearance was her fault, but Kim running out of gas when she worked at a gas station is pretty ironic.





:smileyvery-happy: At least that's a more humorous insight than guilt-tripping her Mom for sending Kim out to give Lindsay a driving lesson!

Pepper
"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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paula_02912
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Re: Nina

Karen wrote:
 
"What did you think of Nina? Is she the one who knows Kim best?"
 
I liked Nina...she was very secretive, but I feel out of all her friends, she knew Kim the best...they knew each other as little girls and they traded many secrets, escept for the kiss with JP.
 
Karen wrote:
"Using Nina and her relationships with Kim and others in the book (Elise, J.P., etc.) as a jumping off point, discuss the concept of friendship as portrayed in Songs. In what ways does Nina act to protect her friendships throughout the novel and in what ways does she betray them?"
 
As portrayed in Songs, friendship is a very tight bond between the young people...Nina, Elise, JP, Kim, Hinch and Marisa. It was apparent that Nina, Elise, Kim and JP were closer to each other since we were in their heads more so that Hinch and Marisa. It is displayed also in the way Nina and JP came to help find Kim, even though they suspected that she might have just run away. It is also displayed in the solidarity they feel upon returning back for the  ceremony at the Championship game, even though Fran didn't want them there...they still felt a kinship to Kim, and they recognize that she would not have appreciated some of the efforts that Fran put in to displaying her opposite of who she was...Friendship means sticking together no matter what, good and bad....Nina protects her friendships in many ways...when she was first questioned, she didn't relate some of the secrets that Kim had, which ultimately, I feel, ended up contributing to the fact that the cops were not as quick to take steps for a aperson who was abducted, but rather dealing with Kim's disappearance as if she was a runaway. She also made calls to JP to let him know what was going to happen after she told them the "truth" as it was about Kim and Woozie; in this sense she betrayed their friendship. I feel she betrayed Kim when she kissed JP and never told her about it...
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paula_02912
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Re: Nina

bmbrennan wrote: "I don't really think that anyone whether it is her "close" friends or her family know the complete Kim.  I think Kim revealed herself differently to everyone."
 
Bm, this is an interesting point...I didn't think of that at all...I thought she was more herself with her friends, especially with Nina and not her family...now that I look back, I can see how you might see this...it is right on the first page of the book...Kim couldn't wait to leave so that she could be private and not put on a facade anymore...great find...
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Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

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paula_02912
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

the_mad_chatter wrote: "Did Kim run out of gas the night of her diappearance?  If so, that's odd considering where she worked.  I don't remember that from the book."
 
I remember Kim noticed that she needed gas, but she felt it wasn't worth it to go back out to the river, when she had to leave early so that she could make work on time...what struck me as odd was the fact that she wondered if Nina would mind if she called in sick...why would she do that if she was planning on going to work anyway? Was she really going to work or was she on her way to do something else after dropping Lindsay off after the driving lesson?
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


Peppermill wrote:
In fact, if Fran herself had not made Kim feel guilty about taking her sister out for driving; maybe Kim might not have run out of gas.

Ouch! Does such "logic" serve any purpose?




It just appears to me that forgiveness is what is needed here; forgiveness for others and the ability for Fran to forgive herself. Then maybe everybody could move on with their lives including Fran.

There is a possibility based upon the facts that are revealed that running out of gas might have been how she had the encounter that she did (without saying any more here). Fran is directly involved with Kim expending more gasoline than she intended that day to take on a responsibility which was really not her own. In retrospect, these are some of the last moments that Lindsay shared with Kim so yes they were a good thing for Lindsay in the long run.

However, Fran's blaming JP as well as her friends Nina and Elise for being who they were is also defying logic and the purpose served is that there is a balance between right and wrong and between the blamed and the blameless. Forgiveness would go a long way to mending everybody's heart including Fran. Fran is the one who is perpetuating the memorial in ways that are extremely odd at best.

Buying Christmas presents for someone who has been missing for years is one of them and blaming friends who loved her daughter is another. How does ostracizing JP, Nina and Elise help bring back Kim or make things right? Fran did not want to be thinking of Kim and Ed welcomed those thoughts. I think it has a lot to do with how you celebrate a person's life or not; and how comfortable you are with spiritual beliefs or not. Fran to me is caught up with being a new media icon and television representative of mothers who have lost children. It became more about the media and Fran's image versus Kim.

It is a shame what happened to our fictional character Kim; but the fallout from this loss was experienced by everybody not just Fran. All of the characters showed more growth than Fran did; and Ed and Lindsay just had to put up with Fran more than the others did.

It could be that without this media coverage; maybe Fran would have been alone with her thoughts and misgivings..and that was so fearful she decided to throw herself into this role. I think this became her egoic identity and how she viewed herself.

I know you asked why folks felt the way they did about Fran and I think you got some fine answers which I agreed with by the way. There is always a balance and when Fran finally has the strength to let go of Kim; they maybe she can work on her own life and that of her family without knocking herself out every day or night with pills or alcohol.

At the very least, her marriage was stronger than most who would have gone through a similar experience and she has that to be thankful for. I have great sympathy for the situation; for all of Kim's friends, for Ed and Lindsay, Ed's mother..but not as much for Fran. In times of great stress and loss, most families would have a family spokesperson speak for them because they are too emotionally drained and distraught (even temporarily). Fran does not seem to miss a beat.
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



the_mad_chatter wrote:
Did Kim run out of gas the night of her diappearance?  If so, that's odd considering where she worked.  I don't remember that from the book.





THIS IS A POTENTIAL SPOILER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ MOST OF THE BOOK:

Gas cans were mentioned and earlier in the book Kim did reflect on how much gas she had.
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


the_mad_chatter wrote:
Thanks Peppermill for giving me those pages.  I will probably be slammed for saying this but the majority of the Larsen family members were not good decision makers.  O'Nan could have suggested any reason besides running out of gas but he didn't-which is interesting.  I am not saying that her disappearance was her fault, but Kim running out of gas when she worked at a gas station is pretty ironic.





Yes, in a way, but she had to get to the gas station where she worked and from the sound of things Kim was paying for her gas. I think money was tight. If Kim had decided to not meet up with her friends then she would have had enough gas to get to work despite taking Lindsay for driving lessons which really are not her responsibility.

Like I said, there is enough blame to spread around and forgiveness was what was important; Fran just could not forgive. And she was one of the reasons that Kim expended more gas that day than usual for what she had planned to do. In essence, is Fran more to blame than Kim or her friends, no of course not. But neither should Kim's friends who loved her and were hurting so tremendously not be allowed to grieve about Kim and be forgiven themselves.

Mad chatter..there is a lot of irony in this book for sure.
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Peppermill
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


bentley wrote:

the_mad_chatter wrote:
Thanks Peppermill for giving me those pages. I will probably be slammed for saying this but the majority of the Larsen family members were not good decision makers. O'Nan could have suggested any reason besides running out of gas but he didn't-which is interesting. I am not saying that her disappearance was her fault, but Kim running out of gas when she worked at a gas station is pretty ironic.





Yes, in a way, but she had to get to the gas station where she worked and from the sound of things Kim was paying for her gas. I think money was tight. If Kim had decided to not meet up with her friends then she would have had enough gas to get to work despite taking Lindsay for driving lessons which really are not her responsibility.

Like I said, there is enough blame to spread around and forgiveness was what was important; Fran just could not forgive. And she was one of the reasons that Kim expended more gas that day than usual for what she had planned to do. In essence, is Fran more to blame than Kim or her friends, no of course not. But neither should Kim's friends who loved her and were hurting so tremendously not be allowed to grieve about Kim and be forgiven themselves.

Mad chatter..there is a lot of irony in this book for sure.


And Kim could have added some gas to her tank the night before -- I didn't get a sense she and Lindsay used more than a gallon or so.

I agree that Fran's difficulty at forgiveness is tragic. In fact, you may have hit a clue as to her relationship with herself -- can she forgive herself? I wonder, even at the end of the book. And for Ed as well. Therein, too, lies a key issue for their marriage. But at least they don't seem to blame each other.

While I don't disagree with many of the things said here about Fran, I find them mostly a source of sadness rather than dislike.

PS -- are you saying Fran was unfair or inappropriate in asking Kim to give Lindsay driving practice?
"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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Tarri
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Re: Nina

Nina did know Kim better than anyone.  Kim, Nina, and Elise were best friends from childhood and I thought from the writer's perspective that Kim and Nina were a little closer than Elisa and Kim or Nina. 
 
I felt, after finishing the book, that although the younger characters had friendships with others in town, they all really wanted to go out in the world so they could make new, and possibly better friends.   I think this is very typical of a small town environment.  
 
 
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



Peppermill wrote:

bentley wrote:

the_mad_chatter wrote:
Thanks Peppermill for giving me those pages. I will probably be slammed for saying this but the majority of the Larsen family members were not good decision makers. O'Nan could have suggested any reason besides running out of gas but he didn't-which is interesting. I am not saying that her disappearance was her fault, but Kim running out of gas when she worked at a gas station is pretty ironic.





Yes, in a way, but she had to get to the gas station where she worked and from the sound of things Kim was paying for her gas. I think money was tight. If Kim had decided to not meet up with her friends then she would have had enough gas to get to work despite taking Lindsay for driving lessons which really are not her responsibility.

Like I said, there is enough blame to spread around and forgiveness was what was important; Fran just could not forgive. And she was one of the reasons that Kim expended more gas that day than usual for what she had planned to do. In essence, is Fran more to blame than Kim or her friends, no of course not. But neither should Kim's friends who loved her and were hurting so tremendously not be allowed to grieve about Kim and be forgiven themselves.

Mad chatter..there is a lot of irony in this book for sure.


And Kim could have added some gas to her tank the night before -- I didn't get a sense she and Lindsay used more than a gallon or so.

I agree that Fran's difficulty at forgiveness is tragic. In fact, you may have hit a clue as to her relationship with herself -- can she forgive herself? I wonder, even at the end of the book. And for Ed as well. Therein, too, lies a key issue for their marriage. But at least they don't seem to blame each other.

While I don't disagree with many of the things said here about Fran, I find them mostly a source of sadness rather than dislike.

PS -- are you saying Fran was unfair or inappropriate in asking Kim to give Lindsay driving practice?




Yes, I felt a lot of sadness for Fran too. But I did dislike some of the choices she made like the pills and the alcohol. You cannot say as a nurse or even a health practitioner that she did not know better. There was enough blame to go around that is for sure.

I think that Fran had family do many of the things she should have done herself as a mother and viewed her job and her responsibilities as paramount to keeping everything going. She really did not have much of an honest relationship with Kim and went through the motions with an odd detachment, She seemed to relinquish her own responsibilities to foster intimacy and connections to others. Fran is rather self absorbed with her own needs (JMHO).
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



Peppermill wrote:
In fact, if Fran herself had not made Kim feel guilty about taking her sister out for driving; maybe Kim might not have run out of gas.

Ouch! Does such "logic" serve any purpose?


although it was hinted at in the book, do we actually know that she ran out of gas? does my memory fail me or wasn't the car found with the key broken off in the door? didn't the murderer die before he confessed to the details of her murder? perhaps he somehow got her to stop on the road to help him, (he was older by a teenager's standards). then after killing her, maybe he used the car in order to find a place to "hide" the body, running out of gas in the process.
twj
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



thewanderingjew wrote:


Peppermill wrote:
In fact, if Fran herself had not made Kim feel guilty about taking her sister out for driving; maybe Kim might not have run out of gas.

Ouch! Does such "logic" serve any purpose?


although it was hinted at in the book, do we actually know that she ran out of gas? does my memory fail me or wasn't the car found with the key broken off in the door? didn't the murderer die before he confessed to the details of her murder? perhaps he somehow got her to stop on the road to help him, (he was older by a teenager's standards). then after killing her, maybe he used the car in order to find a place to "hide" the body, running out of gas in the process.
twj





I understand your confusion. I assume you have finished the book. If so, look at the thread which is dedicated to the editor. A good explanation is given by Josh.
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