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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Nina

I found Nina very likable and real. I felt a little guilty because I actually liked her better than Kim and was glad she wasn't the missing one. I was also happy when JP seemed to be moving towards her and away from his memory of Kim.
Nina did know Kim well. She seemed to understand the feelings of those around her without really taking sides or judging them.
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

Bentley wrote: 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.

Yes, you make the key distinction between disliking Fran and disliking some of her choices or actions.

There was enough blame to go around that is for sure.

Unfortunately, blame seldom makes a very good strategy.

She seemed to relinquish her own responsibilities to foster intimacy and connections to others. Fran is rather self absorbed with her own needs (JMHO).

That's a tough observation and one I don't think gets entirely cracked within the scope of SFTM. I am also uncertain that it is "true", at least if we could look at the world from inside her own skin. But, the alcohol and pills are certainly symptomatic. I don't have a sense of ever understanding that needy side of Fran, although I see Ed recognizing it and taking care of it at times.
"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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Librarian
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Re: Nina

I think Nina did know Kim best. I also think she showed the most concern for Kim of all her friends by coming to the realization that no information should be withheld. Withholding the connection with Wooze the drug dealer, was a result of the fear of consequences. But even if she did it anonymously, at least Nina eventually realized that they couldn't withhold  any information that might help them find Kim alive,  It appears that JP wasn't willing to do that. Nina even gives the others fair warning. The sad event really turns Nina into a more responsible person as she goes to college. I understand her wanting to be acknowledged by Fran. But I also understand Fran's pain over this withholding of information
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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

thanks for the input. i went back and reread the editor's comments. doesn't he still leave the question open-ended when he says "in some way"? maybe the man made her drive around until she ran out of gas. i guess i am thinking of scenarios which would have caused the car to arrive in that condition, "gasless" with a broken key in the lock.
twj
 
Josh wrote:
Just to be clear: yes Kim had returned home to hang up her swimsuit before seemingly rushing off to her shift at the gas station, and indeed, she herself did in some way run out of gas.

bentley wrote:

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.


thewanderingjew wrote:
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)


Peppermill wrote:
Bentley wrote: 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.

Yes, you make the key distinction between disliking Fran and disliking some of her choices or actions.

There was enough blame to go around that is for sure.

Unfortunately, blame seldom makes a very good strategy.

She seemed to relinquish her own responsibilities to foster intimacy and connections to others. Fran is rather self absorbed with her own needs (JMHO).

That's a tough observation and one I don't think gets entirely cracked within the scope of SFTM. I am also uncertain that it is "true", at least if we could look at the world from inside her own skin. But, the alcohol and pills are certainly symptomatic. I don't have a sense of ever understanding that needy side of Fran, although I see Ed recognizing it and taking care of it at times.




I wondered how or if Ed and Fran were co-dependents; even if ever so slightly. Ed loved Fran for sure and I think she loved him too.

I think the final observation is quite solid; here is my thinking. An addict becomes self absorbed with drugs and his need for drugs at the expense of every one else; an alcoholic is much the same. Granted I did not feel that Fran was either an alcoholic or an addict; but she did do both to some excess which dulled her senses and knocked her out at night as if she were in a coma. She relinquished control of her mind, her sensory perceptions, knowledge of her surroundings and acute perception every time she drank or dosed herself up at night. How could she like the addict or like the alcoholic care very much about anyone else's needs or thoughts when she had numbed herself into these states of unconsciousness or slightly inebriated states. By removing herself from pain, she was medicating herself in a way that showed herself as being self absorbed in her own needs. She was not being a good example to Lindsay or responsive to her family if something came up in the middle of the night, etc. I guess once again she felt that Ed could handle it; if he wasn't talked into taking one of the pills himself like a drug buddy. Fran seemed to need to turn herself off to feeling or experiencing grief so that she could get beyond it and the pain. I saw the media extravaganzas and her involvement as another form of self-medication.

I am just being an observer to what she did to herself and the effects it would have on her family and her husband. I am not sure that she even contemplated any causes or any effects.
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



thewanderingjew wrote:
thanks for the input. i went back and reread the editor's comments. doesn't he still leave the question open-ended when he says "in some way"? maybe the man made her drive around until she ran out of gas. i guess i am thinking of scenarios which would have caused the car to arrive in that condition, "gasless" with a broken key in the lock.
twj
 
Josh wrote:
Just to be clear: yes Kim had returned home to hang up her swimsuit before seemingly rushing off to her shift at the gas station, and indeed, she herself did in some way run out of gas.

bentley wrote:

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.


thewanderingjew wrote:
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










You are welcome; I think the whole story was not about Kim or exactly what happened to her or why; but the effect that her disappearance had on the living or those trying to get on with their lives absent Kim. When someone passes, it is so final even if they have been ill for a long time. You never get used to the finality until you know that they have passed; no matter how long they were ill. When somebody is missing, it is very much like watching a very ill person linger whether they are young or old; you do not know when finality might set in. It is hard for those who love these folks to watch them ill; and it is harder still to try to prepare yourself for the inevitability of letting go. When a person is beloved and missing, there is no body, no finality; they just vanished into thin air; the parents have to feel robbed; it must feel like they are searching for their own soul.

It is odd about the Natalie Holloway mention. Her own mother had become somewhat of a media icon too. Beth stated that when she heard the taped admissions of the Dutch guy, she began to know that she could finally start the mourning process; because her hope for a recovery of Natalie alive was finally gone. Even without the body, she could begin to bury Natalie in her mind and begin the letting go.
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kiakar
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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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.



Yes, I do not remember that piece of information either!
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


kiakar wrote:


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.



Yes, I do not remember that piece of information either!





Peppermill cites the page references above and the editor confirmed suspicions. However, you have to remember that point (not enough gas) when it came up later to be able to connect the dots. See the thread devoted to the editor and questions for him.

Since this is a thread about Nina, one last thing that I could say about Nina is that I grew to like her as a character very much; probably more so than the others. She knew what she had been, why and liked and respected who she had become. She missed and loved Kim and wanted to honor that memory; however, I believe she wanted to honor that memory consistent with what her friend might have found in good taste, appropriate and more in tune with who she was and how she wanted herself remembered. Kim was a Kim not a Kimberly and there were many things done on her behalf that Kim if she had her say would have been mortified about. Nina knew Kim, understood her and knew the differences between what Kim would have condoned and what her mother was promoting. Nina saw and understood the disconnect.
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DSaff
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Re: Nina



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?



Good questions. I didn't like Nina's character. She thought she was right in hiding information, but in reality, she hurt her standing in the eyes of Kim's parents and the community. There is a point where friends stand up for each other, but Iying never works. When Nina became angry with Kim's parents because they couldn't abide liars, I thought she had lost it. I found that reaction in her self-serving. Was she really a friend to Kim? I guess she was in the broad scope, but I have a really hard time with the lies and secrets. Kim's parents were desperate for information and if Kim's friends had been forthcoming, somethings could have been ruled out early. I think Nina knew Kim well, but don't know if anyone really knew her.
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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Murphy919
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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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 don't remember that either.
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pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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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 wondered if I was the only one confused by this.
-Philip
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pheath
Posts: 82
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Re: Nina



dhaupt wrote:
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.




Debbie, that's an interesting point. When deciding the right thing to do, it is often the case that people do the wrong thing for what seem like the right motives. It is especially true in younger people like Nina who are still trying to learn to think through things for themselves as young adults.
-Philip
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Murphy919
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Re: Nina



bmbrennan 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?
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.






Well put. As the book went on I liked Kim less and less because she never seemed "real". Everyone that spoke about her had something to say leaving me to believe that she was the type of person that changed her personality to fit into the situation lacking any sort of genuine characteristics.
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paula_02912
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

twj wrote: "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 agree with you...I don't think she ran out of gas, but was forced to stop somehow...when I read the chapter about the car and what Ed's thoughts were...I got the sense that she was run off the road...in my mind the scene that popped up was that she was driving along and a car deliberately stopped in front of her suddenly causing her to hit the back of their car...this incident then forced her to stop and that's when he got her...I based this reading on the following description of the car on p.100
 
"...The front bumper on the passenger side was mashed like a fat lip...he knew she wouldn't treat her car like this." Then Ed tells the cop that the car wasn't like that before...it seemed as if she took better care of her car than she did anything else, which makes sense because it was a symbol of freedom for Kim...
Peace and love,
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)

bentley wrote: "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."
 
Bentley, I understand that this is your opinion, but I hope you take what I have to say with a grain of salt...
 
Given the circumstances, I don't think that Fran was thinking as a nurse or even in a rational way...would you be able to deal with things in a "normal" way if you were in her position...yes, she was a nurse and she should have understood the dangers of abusing pills and alcohol, but she didn't...in my experience, it is very difficult to react in a "normal" way when dealing with a traumatic event...you turn to what you can to find solace, whether or not it is right or wrong...some people find that it is easier to take the pills and drink the alcohol so they can lose themselves in blissful sleep, where they don't have to think or feel...depending on the circumstances of the trauma, some people even go out and prostitute themselves, sell drugs, etc...yes, to many this is wrong, but they do what is best for them, at least in their minds...unfortunately some get stuck in the situations that arise from their methods of coping, very much like Fran did...can we fault them? I don't think so...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


paula_02912 wrote:
bentley wrote: "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."
 
Bentley, I understand that this is your opinion, but I hope you take what I have to say with a grain of salt...
 
Given the circumstances, I don't think that Fran was thinking as a nurse or even in a rational way...would you be able to deal with things in a "normal" way if you were in her position...yes, she was a nurse and she should have understood the dangers of abusing pills and alcohol, but she didn't...in my experience, it is very difficult to react in a "normal" way when dealing with a traumatic event...you turn to what you can to find solace, whether or not it is right or wrong...some people find that it is easier to take the pills and drink the alcohol so they can lose themselves in blissful sleep, where they don't have to think or feel...depending on the circumstances of the trauma, some people even go out and prostitute themselves, sell drugs, etc...yes, to many this is wrong, but they do what is best for them, at least in their minds...unfortunately some get stuck in the situations that arise from their methods of coping, very much like Fran did...can we fault them? I don't think so...





I think you will find that I stated that I found fault with her choices; we can make all sorts of excuses for why Fran did what she did or did not do what she should have; but then we may be enabling her as I think Ed might have been doing out of guilt and heartbreak himself. We were asked questions about Fran and we all answered them based upon our reading of the novel.

I think Fran sums it up for herself on page 225 of the novel (and maybe these misgivings are what makes her cover up her emotions and bury her grief); "All along, she
thought, the gifts she'd wanted to give Kim were never for her, but, like the butterfly for herself."

Fran was feeding herself with her actions, masking "her" emotions and very absorbed with her feelings and how "she" felt. We all have the greatest of sympathy for anybody going through such an ordeal and I do sympathize with the situation.

I also think that your feelings about Fran have become very real and deep and I respect that; a good book always inspires deepness of thought and emotional response.
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Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



paula_02912 wrote:
twj wrote: "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 agree with you...I don't think she ran out of gas, but was forced to stop somehow...when I read the chapter about the car and what Ed's thoughts were...I got the sense that she was run off the road...in my mind the scene that popped up was that she was driving along and a car deliberately stopped in front of her suddenly causing her to hit the back of their car...this incident then forced her to stop and that's when he got her...I based this reading on the following description of the car on p.100
 
"...The front bumper on the passenger side was mashed like a fat lip...he knew she wouldn't treat her car like this." Then Ed tells the cop that the car wasn't like that before...it seemed as if she took better care of her car than she did anything else, which makes sense because it was a symbol of freedom for Kim...


I think your ideas ring true here. Hitting someone's car or causing them to hit you is a way predators try to get you out of your car. Then I also agree he must have either driven her alive to Sandusky , molested and killed her or drove her body to Sandusky after he killed her. I'm wonderering about the broken key in the lock? did he think that would prevent the police from getting into the car? It couldn't have happened in a struggle with Kim because he would need the key to start the car.
      Also just a note that Karen said we don't have to worry about spoilers in the subject threads. They are for people who have read the whole book. The chapter threads go by portions of the book. Thanks Karen for giving us the best of both worlds. Its great to have this choice for choosing how we discuss the book.
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

It didn't actually say, though that was the implication-- why else would she have stopped the car at night in a deserted location? And yes, the oddity of running out of gas when working at a gas station is odd. Presumably intentional on O'Nan's part; might be worth asking him what he meant by it when he joins us, since he could perfectly well have had her working at some other job.

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 think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Jeanie0522
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Registered: ‎12-24-2007
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

To answer an earlier question:  Yes, the murderer killed himself before he giving a full confession on what happened to Kim.  In some ways, this spared her family.  The end result was the same.  They lost Kim in a random and brutal way.  Many families never find out exactly what happened to a loved one and I like that Stewart O'Nan did not dwell on the gory details of the last hours of Kim's life.  Rather he chose to focus in on the family and friends that lost her.  -Jeanie
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paula_02912
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Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

Librarian wrote: "I'm wonderering about the broken key in the lock?"
 
Maybe, she had gotten out of the car to check the person in the car she hit, and was going back to her car, and that's when he struck...maybe the force in which he attacked her, caused the key to get stuck or something...purely speculation...but, that makes the most sense to me...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

Author Unknown
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