Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Resolution

The real topic of this thread is closure, but I didn't want to give anything away by using that word on the schedule...
 
Is it possible for anyone to have closure in this situation, or is acceptance the best for which they can hope? If it is possible, who in your opinion achieves it? What are some of the individual turning points that precipitate acceptance or closure for various characters?
 
-Karen
Frequent Contributor
pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I think that acceptance is as far as the characters (and readers) are able to go. The question "Why?" is left to linger as the killer takes his own life. I just think that there is too much that cannot be resolved for true closure.
-Philip
Contributor
darma51
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-29-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

True closure can never be achieved unless the murderer told you why he did it and the victim said why they were at the abdcution point.  Here the alledged murder kills himself so we'll never know.  I don't think he definitely admitted killing Kim.  The only closure here as I see it is the fact that her body was found and identified.  A family NEVER gets over such a tragedy.  They all seem to be coping in their own way.  It's sad that they couldn't cope together as a family however in my own experiences with people who have lost children coping alone seems to be the norm.  As a reader I wanted more closure, I felt left up in the air though I'm not sure what more the writer could have done. I remember reading the last page and saying "What? That's it?"
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution


darma51 wrote:
True closure can never be achieved unless the murderer told you why he did it and the victim said why they were at the abdcution point.  Here the alledged murder kills himself so we'll never know.  I don't think he definitely admitted killing Kim.  The only closure here as I see it is the fact that her body was found and identified.  A family NEVER gets over such a tragedy.  They all seem to be coping in their own way.  It's sad that they couldn't cope together as a family however in my own experiences with people who have lost children coping alone seems to be the norm.  As a reader I wanted more closure, I felt left up in the air though I'm not sure what more the writer could have done. I remember reading the last page and saying "What? That's it?"





I agree with both posters. Closure is not a word I would use. They found her body and they knew that she would never be coming back, they had a funeral and knew where her remains were. In essence they brought her home to them; what was remaining of Kim which was not the person she ever was. They would never recapture her again or feel her presence or even know why she died or the details. Oddly enough, it was Fran who gained the most from the funeral; it seemed to release her somewhat from her emotional ordeal. For Ed I think the feeling was worsened. So closure is not a word that I would use; they found remains and knew without a doubt that she had died in this horrible way. That is such sad knowledge to carry around forever about somebody you love.
Frequent Contributor
umlaut
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

[ Edited ]

darma51 wrote:
True closure can never be achieved unless the murderer told you why he did it and the victim said why they were at the abdcution point. Here the alledged murder kills himself so we'll never know. I don't think he definitely admitted killing Kim. The only closure here as I see it is the fact that her body was found and identified. A family NEVER gets over such a tragedy. They all seem to be coping in their own way. It's sad that they couldn't cope together as a family however in my own experiences with people who have lost children coping alone seems to be the norm. As a reader I wanted more closure, I felt left up in the air though I'm not sure what more the writer could have done. I remember reading the last page and saying "What? That's it?"





I agree and will like to add; I don't believe having your child killed by a lunatic or in a accident will ever heal the pain. As for the closure, the author sorta leaves this to the reader to interpret as they wish.for me i believe the characters do display a sense of closure; Kim Parents, individually visiting Kim's grave, Her friends stopping by and leaving beers and other various items, even the Marine Dennis leaving Kit-Kat candy at her headstone. So in a sense, most of the characters seem to display a closure.

As for the side note: I was happy, the dog had not died during these 2 1/2 stressful years. thank you stewart!

Message Edited by umlaut on 06-16-2008 09:59 AM
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I think acceptance is the best we can hope for seeing that no one really knows what happened to Kim from her disappearance to her discovery, how long was she kept alive, what happened to her and the like. The only closure that the family had was that they got to put her remains to rest and have a real funeral. And I think it changed not only her family and friends but the entire town because of her abduction and murder. I'm sure kids all over town were closed into a smaller unit and protected like never before.
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

i don't think there can ever be closure with such an unfair, unnecessary, unnatural event. it never should have happened. there is no way to even  justify such violence. in the end, there is no way even to gain some sort of satisfaction or sense of justice being done in this situation.
maybe there is only a sense of "moving on" in order to continue to live. it sounds cold or even morbid, in a way, but there is that old saw, life is for the living. if we dwell on death we become one of the "living dead", living with no hope or purpose, no sense of a future.
there are just some events that seem impossible to process but since, in reality, we do eventually process even the most horrific situations, there must be a "special" place in our minds where we secrete these painful memories, so that we are not forced to relive them everyday with the same pain. maybe that is how one can continues to function and maybe that is what we call acceptance.
i think ed and fran find a way to go on by finding each other again. jp and nina do the same; they reconnect with each other. lindsay seems to use college to start a new independent life where she can free herself from the traps of her memories and her "notoriety". in the end, though, everyone seems to find a way, i think, even if we don't agree with it.
Frequent Contributor
cocospals
Posts: 115
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I don't think there can ever by closure in this type of death. Acceptance?  Possibly. I think at some point one accepts what happened to their loved one but in this case it would be hard to accept the death without ever knowing the killer's reason for picking Kim. I think closure is an over-used term when dealing with death, acceptance makes more sense to me.
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

KxBurns wrote: Is it possible for anyone to have closure in this situation...?

Maybe a priest or a Buddhist monk. Not a normal person.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Contributor
CountessCat
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎01-10-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

Of course the fact that they found her body did provide some closure.  However, the book itself seemed to raise more questions than it answered.  Some examples:
 
-Whatever happened with the DeMarco's house?  I wanted more on that storyline.  The DeMarco's daughter's story sounded interesting but didn't end up going anywhere.
 
-What about J.P.?  As a character, he's developed enough that there's more you want to know yet not enough to make you care that much.  (I was so proud of Lindsay when she deleted his email!  It was great to see her realizing that he'd only held fascination for her because he'd been Kim's b/f.)
 
-And what was the deal with 'Wooze' and 'the secret'?  Huh?  Was it just that he'd had a one-night stand with Kim?  What about those pictures of Kim the police found???  Was there any more to that other than 'Wooze' was a creep who Kim allowed to photograph her (among other things)?  Jeez, more reasons to not like Kim...  Her whole back story seemed dark and sordid to me, frankly making for a pathetic and depressing tale that I'll have a hard time recommending.
 
The book's topic is intriguing to me - I had a close relative who went 'missing' during his college years... Took off and left home without telling anyone, and only after several years was his body recovered as a 'John Doe'... There can be no greater anguish to a parent than going through something like that.  Not knowing anything for years and years, wondering what they were thinking... it has to be the worst burden.
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution



KxBurns wrote:
The real topic of this thread is closure, but I didn't want to give anything away by using that word on the schedule...
 
Is it possible for anyone to have closure in this situation, or is acceptance the best for which they can hope? If it is possible, who in your opinion achieves it? What are some of the individual turning points that precipitate acceptance or closure for various characters?
 
-Karen



I like your word "resolution."  Resolution is what so many folks in this discussion have a problem with--the case isn't resolved!  Closure or acceptance is an emotional reaction, and that won't take place for everyone, as you suggest, but will for some.  I think Nina and Elise come the closest when they jump off the trestle.  That is a mixture of a joyful memory, saying good bye to "the third amiga," and overcoming their fears.  With a big ol' bastismal rebirth! 
 
But RESOLUTION implies a logical and satisfyingly wrapped-up ending.  This book does not provide that, for sure, with so many unanswered questions.  I'm sure that is intentional by Mr. O'Nan--that we not know exactly what happened to Kim. 
 
It is funny to me that so many readers want and expect and (bentley! :smileywink: ) insist on knowing all the details of Kim's abduction and death.  While I can understand what you all are saying, and I guess it is human nature to seek out the truth, I like the book the way it is.  Leaving so much to MY imagination makes it a more powerful emotional reaction in me.  I think my experience is richer because I wasn't fed all the details.
 
Shouldn't there be room in any literature, art, music, etc. for someone other than the creator to bring something of themselves to the experience?  Or on the flip side of the coin, at what point does the observer's participation stop being personal growth and become WORK?
 
BUT this has just been MY experience reading this book and I certainly do not want to assume that the rest of you should be satisfied with it the way it is.  I am just throwing out my two cents.
 
Ann, bookhunter
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution



bookhunter wrote:
...Shouldn't there be room in any literature, art, music, etc. for someone other than the creator to bring something of themselves to the experience? Or on the flip side of the coin, at what point does the observer's participation stop being personal growth and become WORK?

That's a great question. (Or two questions?)

I can't recall whether you were in the The Sister discussion group. I felt that Poppy Adams's refusal to give explanations was, frankly, weak and unpersuasive. While I didn't like the non-resolution O'Nan gave us, I really respect his decision to leave the reader with the same uncertainty that the family had to live with; that we had spent so long with this family that it was appropriate that we never know what they will never know. I'm still with Bentley in wanting to know just what happened to Kim, but I can understand and respect O'Nan's reasons for not giving us that information.

I'm wondering whether this "leave the situation unresolved" is a new trend in fiction. Certainly any of the classic writers who created and developed the novel form understood that a story isn't complete unless the major issues are resolved, but we have now had two First Look books where the author deliberately left key questions for the reader to resolve (or not resolve, as they chose). I don't read enough modern fiction to know whether this is a new trend, but if it is, it's another good reason to stick with the classics. :smileyhappy:
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

Whew-wee this was a tough book for me to get through.  I brought more of myself to this book than to any book I have ever read, I think.

The ages of Kim and Lindsey make this story different from stories of abducted children.  Kim is a young woman and even though she is still a "dependent" living at home, she is making adult decisions and carrying out activities that her parents do not know about.  She is perched at the edge of the nest and her relationships with all of them--parents, sister, friends--are all about to change ANYWAY when she goes off to college.

Even before she goes missing, Kim has already started to disengage from the others.

I am living through this very same situation in our house.  I am about to have a child “go missing” from our family when she goes off to college.  The dependent, teenage daughter that I have now will never return, and I have been mourning that loss. 

So much of what our family is going through is similar to the Larsen family.  My daughter is distancing herself in little ways, the younger sister is coming out of big sis’s shadow, my husband and I are even having to redefine our relationship in some ways.  Then I read this book that reminds me of all the RANDOM DANGER lurking out there for her! 

For me personally, Mr. O'Nan has managed to create the "perfect storm" of loss and nightmare.  From the first sentence to the last I was replacing the character names with those of our own family!

But reading, mulling over, and discussing this book has been very theraputic for me.  I realize that while I am mourning the loss of my relationship with my daughter, I am not LOSING that relationship.  It is changing and evolving, but not disappearing.   I needed to see pictures of Lindsey in the new "young adult" role that will be coming to our house, so I thank Mr. O'Nan for ending the book with Lindsey close to where Kim began.

I hope I do not sound like I am putting our "loss of our little girl" to the death of a child.  I know we are not suffering a tragedy like the Larsens and so many real parents have.  If anything, this book put my feelings into perspective and made me thankful.

 

Ann, bookhunter

(today's song for the missing is "I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech and a helluva' engineer!" )

 

Frequent Contributor
bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution



Everyman wrote:


bookhunter wrote:
...Shouldn't there be room in any literature, art, music, etc. for someone other than the creator to bring something of themselves to the experience? Or on the flip side of the coin, at what point does the observer's participation stop being personal growth and become WORK?

That's a great question. (Or two questions?)

I can't recall whether you were in the The Sister discussion group. I felt that Poppy Adams's refusal to give explanations was, frankly, weak and unpersuasive. While I didn't like the non-resolution O'Nan gave us, I really respect his decision to leave the reader with the same uncertainty that the family had to live with; that we had spent so long with this family that it was appropriate that we never know what they will never know. I'm still with Bentley in wanting to know just what happened to Kim, but I can understand and respect O'Nan's reasons for not giving us that information.

I'm wondering whether this "leave the situation unresolved" is a new trend in fiction. Certainly any of the classic writers who created and developed the novel form understood that a story isn't complete unless the major issues are resolved, but we have now had two First Look books where the author deliberately left key questions for the reader to resolve (or not resolve, as they chose). I don't read enough modern fiction to know whether this is a new trend, but if it is, it's another good reason to stick with the classics. :smileyhappy:

I didn't have a problem with unanswered questions in The Sister because they were due to the limited, unreliable narrator.  And in Songs the loose ends reflect the reality of the story.  I DID have a problem with subplots not carried through in The House at Riverton.
 
I think we all want to know what happened to Kim, but our frustration is a reflection of the frustration felt by the characters.  Why should we get to know all the answers when they do not?  Just because we hold the book?
 
Sometimes it is just as enlightening to know what you DON'T like as to know what you DO.  I know I have benefited from your departure from a reading list of strictly classics!
 
Ann, bookhunter
(who never really could see enough motivation for Romeo to fall head over heels with Juliet while on the prowl for Roslyn, if you want to talk unresolved issues :smileywink: )
Wordsmith
BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution



bookhunter wrote:

I am living through this very same situation in our house.  I am about to have a child “go missing” from our family when she goes off to college.  The dependent, teenage daughter that I have now will never return, and I have been mourning that loss. 

.....

But reading, mulling over, and discussing this book has been very theraputic for me.  I realize that while I am mourning the loss of my relationship with my daughter, I am not LOSING that relationship.  It is changing and evolving, but not disappearing.   I needed to see pictures of Lindsey in the new "young adult" role that will be coming to our house, so I thank Mr. O'Nan for ending the book with Lindsey close to where Kim began.


Ann, I always enjoy your posts, and I remember well that time in life when the oldest kids were heading off to college.  I just wanted to tell you that the next 6 or 8 years were a really terrific time in our relationships!  It was much more fun to relate to young adults than to be the arbiter of teenage behavior  :-)    Watching them find themselves in school, and then in careers, relocate, enter and leave relationships, grow, grow, grow!  was exciting as a parent and we sure had some good times together.  Now everyone's married and while we still have lots of good times, it's a bit different.  They have more divided loyalties, as they should, they're raising children, they're in the midst of busy years.   So enjoy the next stage, meet their friends, take 'em out to dinner, go fishing or shopping or whatever is fun.  They're actually almost adults and they're going to like you again!   :-)
Contributor
Elmerfletch
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

Closure - we sure didn't get any in this book - which goes to show the artistry of Mr. ONan.  I suppose no one ever knows the whole truth and, as someone else posted, no one therefore has total closure.  I felt like such an outsider, not knowing what the heck happened with Wozniak, or the man who killed himself, the key that was sheered (sp?) off in the key hole... it all was unsettling for me.  Which must have been the point. 
Contributor
pjmanley41
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

No I don't think closure is possible with any sudden death, no matter what the situation.
Frequent Contributor
Bedelia
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎10-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I think there was closure for nearly everyone - maybe not the one each individual hoped for, but perhaps the one each needed. Their actions "told" their needs more than words. I think the parents probably will found the closure they got more of a "finish" than the young people. These kinds of happenings affect young people FAR more that can ever be told or understood by adults.
Wordsmith
Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

I don't think closure or acceptance is possible when dealing with the family and/or friends of a murdered person.  Time will always be measured by "before or after".  
 
How could you ever accept that someone you love was murdered or gone from you forever?  How does finding them result in closure?  Especially in a circumstance where you never knew exactly what happened and the person responsible is not punished, closure and/or acceptance would be almost impossible.  At least it would be for me. 
Wordsmith
BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Resolution

"Closure" is one of those words that we bandy about, and yet it has multiple dictionary definitions and undoubtedly means something different to anyone who uses it.   In most ways, this story doesn't have the traditional literary or film closure because it doesn't wrap up all the loose ends.    It's more like real life; we often don't know the complete story behind the things that happen to us.  Yet when they happen, we must eventually find, shall we say, resolution, or acceptance.   Which implies to me that we learn to live with the new truth in our lives, the new direction that we might be forced to take.  (Being a suddenly single parent, no longer being able to perform the job you once identified with, etc.) 
I think we were shown pretty clear resolution on the major points in this book.  Kim is dead (the search can be abandoned; she's not being held somewhere or suffereing amnesia.)  Her parents marriage, it appears, will survive - good news;  all too many fall apart with the loss of a child.   Her friends remember her, have grown, and have moved on, as they should.  Losing a friend is one of life's experiences that we will all encounter (unless our own friends encounter it first), and it isn't unusual that it happens in the first 18 or 20 years of life.  And Lindsay is content and apparently thriving in a great university.  She always had the strong possibility of an identity far beyond "little Larson'   and at nineteen, she is on her way. 
I've been intrigued for years by the idea of 'resiliency' - the way some people fold with life's challenges, or rant against them, vs. the people who rise to meet them and find a way to overcome.   I think all of these characters - including the former druggie bad-boy - were resilient enough to find a way to carry on and hopefully, maybe, triumph. 
 
Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 179 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: