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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Nina



DSaff wrote:


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.



I didn't dislike Nina but wondered why she couldn't understand where Kim's parents were coming from. Nina and her friends had lied and withheld alot of truths . But still Nina thought that kim's parents should not harbor any bad feelings to Kim's so called friends. But I know I would have too, I wouldn't be so nice to them either.
Wordsmith
kiakar
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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





 S P O I L E R           A L E R T                                  S P O I L E R                A L E R T

When they found her car it was in another city in a hospital parking lot and also they had a stolen car missing in that same vicinity. I remember it said it was in a bad section of town at a Mercy Hospital. Hope I am not mixing this up with another book.  So the car didnt have gas in it because whoever kidnaped Kim had run the gas out. Right?
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the_mad_chatter
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Re: Nina

Isn't it funny how you read something in a book you've just finished that you can apply directly to the next book you read?  I was reading "My Latest Grievance" by Elinor Lipman and there was a great scene in it about the 16 year old daughter's actions setting off a tsunami of scandal and rumor.  She did not know that her actions would have this impact.  When she admitted the truth to her parents, they told her that as a child she was not responsible for these actions.  She did not have the experience that would have taught her that the actions she took would lead to the resulting bedlam.  But now that she's had this experience, she's been warned on how the world really works.
 
I applied this to Nina and the group of friends.  They are so clueless about the impact their actions have on the search.  But how would they have known?  They are on the cusp of adulthood and nothing could have prepared them for this experience or the scope of their responsibility in it.
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detailmuse
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

Was Fran a nurse? She worked in an ER but I thought she was a clerk. From p10, "In the ER, she would be sitting at her window, patiently taking down someone's information, checking off boxes, the queen of clipboards." Some reference deeper into the book made me think she worked with "records."
 
Still, I agree with both of your comments: with what she'd undoubtedly seen in the ER, she'd know the dangers of misusing drugs (in fact she was concerned about her alcohol use) ... and yet she'd still use them.

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 [snip]

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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



kiakar wrote:


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





 S P O I L E R           A L E R T                                  S P O I L E R                A L E R T

When they found her car it was in another city in a hospital parking lot and also they had a stolen car missing in that same vicinity. I remember it said it was in a bad section of town at a Mercy Hospital. Hope I am not mixing this up with another book.  So the car didnt have gas in it because whoever kidnaped Kim had run the gas out. Right?





The details are scanty regarding the scenario; it could be he helped her get gas so he would get into her car; maybe she ran out of gas and asked some random stranger to help get her some. How the car got to a hospital is beyond the story told in the book. This may be a question you might want to ask O'Nan. I understand your curiousity though.
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)


detailmuse wrote:
Was Fran a nurse? She worked in an ER but I thought she was a clerk. From p10, "In the ER, she would be sitting at her window, patiently taking down someone's information, checking off boxes, the queen of clipboards." Some reference deeper into the book made me think she worked with "records."
 
Still, I agree with both of your comments: with what she'd undoubtedly seen in the ER, she'd know the dangers of misusing drugs (in fact she was concerned about her alcohol use) ... and yet she'd still use them.

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 [snip]






I don't think O'Nan dwelled that much on what she did in the ER (she could have been a nurse, a practical nurse, health practitioner) but she certainly was worried about cars and accidents surrounding automobiles so I am sure she was also privy to alcohol and drug problems being admitted to the ER as well.

It was a sad state of affairs for Fran who just wanted her daughter's death to mean something; but Fran's choices were not honoring her memory. I also thought it odd that Ed's mother also hid a drinking problem. He seems to have known about this kind of problem before. Fran should have known better, and she did; she even had sworn off drinking for awhile and had dropped a lot of weight but then slipped and drank some on Valentines Day. So she obviously became aware of her problems and tried to modify her behavior which was a good thing.
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Jennd1
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Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

I admired the way Nina grew up as the book progressed and how she felt like she was slipping back into her old self when she came home from college. I think all of kim's friends wanted some kind of aknolegement from Kim's family that they had been changed forever as well.
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bentley
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)

[ Edited ]

Jennd1 wrote:
I admired the way Nina grew up as the book progressed and how she felt like she was slipping back into her old self when she came home from college. I think all of kim's friends wanted some kind of aknolegement from Kim's family that they had been changed forever as well.



I agree; Nina was one of my favorite evolved characters.

Message Edited by bentley on 06-10-2008 10:42 PM
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fran was not a registered nurse.

Yes,  She was an admission clerk in the emergency room and not a nurse. I figure someone has said this, but I havent seen it so thought I would put it in in any case. 
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Nina



kiakar wrote:


DSaff wrote:

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.



I didn't dislike Nina but wondered why she couldn't understand where Kim's parents were coming from. Nina and her friends had lied and withheld alot of truths . But still Nina thought that kim's parents should not harbor any bad feelings to Kim's so called friends. But I know I would have too, I wouldn't be so nice to them either.



I wouldn't be talking to these kids either. It must be the parent in me. I think though, that Nina would have handled it better if someone had yelled and screamed at her actions rather than just be silent. She hasn't arrived at the point where she can see the benefits of "holding your tongue" in the right way. While she is angry with Kim's parents, a lot of it may be that she can't forgive herself until they acknowledge 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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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Nina

Did anyone else have a hard time keeping Nina (Kim's friend) and Dana (Lindsay's friend) straight? When they were with other characters in scenes it was obvious, but until deep into the book, I had trouble if they were just mentioned. I wondered why O'Nan chose such similar names for the two sisters' best friends?
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jawilt26
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Registered: ‎10-30-2007
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Re: Nina

I liked Nina she stepped up when no one else in the group did. Yes she did not got straight to the police or Kim's parents with the information but self peservation is a very strong feeling. She did make the phone call and got the secret out in the open she was a loyal friend to Kim you can tell by how long she held off going after J.D. she still called him and they hung out but nothing happened between them for a long time after Kim went missing. I thought it was horrible the way Fran treated her and the rest of the group after everything was out in the open they loved Kim to and wish Fran would of seen that too.
Jodie A Wilt
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bentley
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Re: Nina



jawilt26 wrote:
I liked Nina she stepped up when no one else in the group did. Yes she did not got straight to the police or Kim's parents with the information but self peservation is a very strong feeling. She did make the phone call and got the secret out in the open she was a loyal friend to Kim you can tell by how long she held off going after J.D. she still called him and they hung out but nothing happened between them for a long time after Kim went missing. I thought it was horrible the way Fran treated her and the rest of the group after everything was out in the open they loved Kim to and wish Fran would of seen that too.





I agree Jodie. Nina was my favorite character. I thought she showed unbelievable growth, change, and transformation. She really turned inward; even examined her past motivations as to why she acted the way that she had and why she was the kind of person she used to be. She also grew to respect and admire the person she chose to become. Nina's transformation was as a result of Kim's disappearance and loss. I believe that she showed the most positive growth in the novel. I liked her a great deal more than Lindsay who I think stuck to her goals and also succeeded in living them.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Nina



bentley wrote:


jawilt26 wrote:
I liked Nina she stepped up when no one else in the group did. Yes she did not got straight to the police or Kim's parents with the information but self peservation is a very strong feeling. She did make the phone call and got the secret out in the open she was a loyal friend to Kim you can tell by how long she held off going after J.D. she still called him and they hung out but nothing happened between them for a long time after Kim went missing. I thought it was horrible the way Fran treated her and the rest of the group after everything was out in the open they loved Kim to and wish Fran would of seen that too.




I agree Jodie. Nina was my favorite character. I thought she showed unbelievable growth, change, and transformation. She really turned inward; even examined her past motivations as to why she acted the way that she had and why she was the kind of person she used to be. She also grew to respect and admire the person she chose to become. Nina's transformation was as a result of Kim's disappearance and loss. I believe that she showed the most positive growth in the novel. I liked her a great deal more than Lindsay who I think stuck to her goals and also succeeded in living them.

Like both of you, I enjoyed watching Nina's maturation. She wasn't my absolute favorite character but I really felt the most affection for the younger characters -- Nina, J.P., and Lindsay -- for whom, in my opinion, Kim's disappearance had the most profound impact on their personalities. Not on their lives in general, because I think it would be hard to overstate the impact that the loss of a child would have on a parent; but on their personalities, which were still in development at the time at which we meet them.
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KxBurns
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Re: Nina (Potential Spoiler)



bentley wrote:

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.
Agreed -- I do understand why Fran would react the way she did, and I especially like your reasoning as to what her rationale might have been. But I admired Ed's ability to forgive.
 
I felt so bad for Nina because not only did she lose her best friend, but through her ostracism by the family, she also lost part of her identity as Kim's best friend since the family would no longer acknowledge her as such.
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KxBurns
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Re: Nina



paula_02912 wrote:
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...


Interestingly (given the role she plays in our assessment of Nina), Fran is also portrayed as having fairly solid friendships. Does Fran's relationship with Connie, although not as prominent in the storyline, present a different facet of fiendship?
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KxBurns
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Re: Nina



Tarri wrote:
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 thought this was an incredibly astute way for O'Nan to present the trio. They were supposedly all close, but two of the three were in, reality, closest. More often than not among girls this age, when there's a group of three, there's always one who's sort of the third wheel.
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KxBurns
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Re: Nina



pheath wrote:


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.


Well said, pheath.
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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Nina



detailmuse wrote:
Did anyone else have a hard time keeping Nina (Kim's friend) and Dana (Lindsay's friend) straight? When they were with other characters in scenes it was obvious, but until deep into the book, I had trouble if they were just mentioned. I wondered why O'Nan chose such similar names for the two sisters' best friends?


I actually didn't have trouble with that at all, but then my sister's group of friends contains Melissa, Marissa, Alyssa, Carissa, and I believe one more girl with such a similar-sounding name I can't even remember it. I never know who she's talking about :smileyhappy:
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lavender
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Re: Nina

I think Nina is Kim's closest friend, yes. At least as far as relationships in high school go, especially when people know they'll be going their separate ways to college, etc., in a few weeks. Kim told her most of her secrets, they spent a vast majority of their time together. Their dialogue seems like normal high school BFF material to me.
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