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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: The Search



mwinasu wrote:
When I was a child one  of my friends went missing.  It was back when these things just did not happen.  No one really knew what to do.  The Police made a search through the neighbor hood and took the father and his brother into custody for a short while.  They took my father in for questioning.  They found a girl's body in a wooded area many years later  but that was before DNA . So my friend is still missing.
  I was struck by how things have changed.  The way people organized and the the way they knew what to do.  I guess practice makes perfect.


How awful, mwinasu -- I'm sorry to hear you have personal experience with this kind of situation.
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KxBurns
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Re: The Search

I agree with what many of you have stated, that O'Nan does a marvelous job of driving home just how excruciating it is for the family to have lost precious time due to bureaucratic red tape, as well as simply just not realizing right away when Kim had gone missing.
 
But another aspect I think is highlighted really effectively is the exploitative nature of the missing persons search. The media focuses on the sensational angle because that is what draws viewers and benefits them financially. And when Kim's story is played out and a newer, fresher story comes along, their interest will wane. This is a business.
 
But what I think surprises us -- and turns some people off? -- is how quickly Fran becomes adept at playing the game right back. She knows she must capitalize on media interest in any new development to hammer away at her message, getting Kim's name and face out there. Her ability to manipulate the media might be seen as too calculated to be the product of grief and desperation and love, but I think it is just that.
 
What do you guys think? Can you find examples of the family's intereaction with the media and its business-like tone?
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LucyintheOC
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Registered: ‎03-05-2008
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Re: The Search

I think O'Nan is amazing in how he captures situations and relays them to his readers so realistically. I could feel the frustration of the search, and then its futileness. Didn't you feel there was a turning point where you began to wonder why did they continue, especially locally? After 18 hours, I felt it was already too late--that she was already gone/out of the area and that the dogs came in too late. Canine search and rescue should have been brought in immediately, not that this would have made a difference in this situation, but the fact they weren't brought in until later really was dismaying. I don't know about other readers, but I had a hard time reading this book, especially at the beginning during the initial search period. I had to put it down for a couple of days and process the story/information. I think this is a credit to O'Nan's skill--but it didn't make it any easier to follow the search for Kim.
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KxBurns
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Re: The Search

Here's another question, the result of a conversation over on the Early Chapters thread, but I think it ties in to the idea of "the search." 
 
What does society and the public expect of a family in the Larsen's situation? How do various members of Kim's family fulfill or, conversely, fail to meet such expectations from the community?
 
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: The Search

what bothers me is the theater/circus aspect of the search. the media and the public force those involved to become actors. they play a role, do their part and almost appear to be outsiders looking in, appraising the situation, and deciding how to behave. often they appear rather removed because only certain types of behavior will continue to attract the attention they need to pursue and solve the case. it is awful to think that the help can evaporate because of a misstatement or an inappropriate response or the arrival of a "better story".

in some ways though, maybe the media serves a positive end. when natalie holloway disappeared in aruba, her family was constantly in the press to try and keep the public interested and make the wheels turn to find her. unfortunately, that didn't happen but maybe the attention focused their energy and gave them a purpose which helped them face every new day. maybe directing energy into solving the case rather than waiting by the sidelines for any help and information is the only way one can survive such a nightmare.

i think that the constant emotional drain and fear would be paralyzing after awhile for those immediately involved and for those who are to some degree voyeurs, the volunteers who give so freely of themselves and perhaps vicariously identify sometimes too closely with the incident.

however, in all things, time does alter our perception, even without the media focus waning. after a certain amount of time, interest lessens and people turn to other things and, if possible, they try to go on living after and with the most awful tragedies.


KxBurns wrote:
.....But another aspect I think is highlighted really effectively is the exploitative nature of the missing persons search. The media focuses on the sensational angle because that is what draws viewers and benefits them financially. And when Kim's story is played out and a newer, fresher story comes along, their interest will wane. This is a business.
 


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PattyJean
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Re: The Search



KxBurns wrote:
I agree with what many of you have stated, that O'Nan does a marvelous job of driving home just how excruciating it is for the family to have lost precious time due to bureaucratic red tape, as well as simply just not realizing right away when Kim had gone missing.
But another aspect I think is highlighted really effectively is the exploitative nature of the missing persons search. The media focuses on the sensational angle because that is what draws viewers and benefits them financially. And when Kim's story is played out and a newer, fresher story comes along, their interest will wane. This is a business.
But what I think surprises us -- and turns some people off? -- is how quickly Fran becomes adept at playing the game right back. She knows she must capitalize on media interest in any new development to hammer away at her message, getting Kim's name and face out there. Her ability to manipulate the media might be seen as too calculated to be the product of grief and desperation and love, but I think it is just that.
What do you guys think? Can you find examples of the family's intereaction with the media and its business-like tone?



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NYBri
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Re: The Search

Having witness this type of event in the news many times I think the level of emotional distress, or lack of it, is unbelievable without a good explanation - like family conflict.
The parents must be more distressed than that - or have a strong faith, or unwillingness to accept the possibility that she was in physical danger. This is no evidence of this in the story - everyone seems too composed.
I had a minor incident when my teenage son told me he was on his way to see me at about 10pm, which should take 1/2 hour. When he didn't show up after over an hour - traveling just the a few miles in Manhattan, I was beside myself with anxiety, I was out on the street pacing back and forth imaging all terrible things that might have happened - a mugging, an accident, - runaway was highly unlikely. Another hour or so later he showed up - he had "decided to take a walk".
Everyone is just too calm and collected - it is like a textbook case of what one "should" do - rather than what most of us would do - panic.
I've cannot image any younger sister who would not cry in this situation, even if just by herself, even a brainy kid has sibling bonds that would be unbearably tested.

- Brian
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PattyJean
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Re: The Search



KxBurns wrote:

I agree with what many of you have stated, that O'Nan does a marvelous job of driving home just how excruciating it is for the family to have lost precious time due to bureaucratic red tape, as well as simply just not realizing right away when Kim had gone missing.


But another aspect I think is highlighted really effectively is the exploitative nature of the missing persons search. The media focuses on the sensational angle because that is what draws viewers and benefits them financially. And when Kim's story is played out and a newer, fresher story comes along, their interest will wane. This is a business.


But what I think surprises us -- and turns some people off? -- is how quickly Fran becomes adept at playing the game right back. She knows she must capitalize on media interest in any new development to hammer away at her message, getting Kim's name and face out there. Her ability to manipulate the media might be seen as too calculated to be the product of grief and desperation and love, but I think it is just that.


What do you guys think? Can you find examples of the family's intereaction with the media and its business-like tone?





Read with interest the exchange between you and Vivico...my impression is that Mr. O'Nan is telling the tale in a detached manner as the family is "detached." True, they love their daughter and want her safe return more than anything...but Fran on pages 74-75 learning to speak of the tragedy in a business like manner - not to make others uncomfortable- Ed's co-workers who are just acquaintances - Lindsey who hides behind good grades. It truly seems to me he is telling the story as if he were a member of the family.
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bunny21
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-19-2008
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Re: The Search

[ Edited ]
O'nan did a great job making you wait until someone noticed she was actually missing. He made you think she probably skipped work when her friend Nina called and left Kim the voicemail. But then when Lindsay finds her towel and bathing suit at home and J.P. cant reach Kim you start wondering where she was. As each character tried to reach her I wanted to scream at them that something was wrong. If her dad wouldnt have left the lights on for her like he did every nigh, it would have been even longer before they realized she was missing. I agree O'Nan did a great job on what its like to wait. it was very frustrating waiting for someone to realize she was missing and very realistic that no one would realize she was missing until it was too late.


Message Edited by bunny21 on 06-04-2008 02:35 AM
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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: The Search

[ Edited ]
I agree entirely with you Librarian.  I think, in defense of the police, that from past experience, they must surmise that if all of someone's important belongings remain there must have been an abduction and they only have hours to locate that person before it is already too late.  Perhaps there is just a small window of time to find that person alive.  In Kim's case, 18 hours was probably well past that window.  The case almost becomes finding the body right from the start. In fact, when the car is found and the cops really begin to search with all of their technical gizmos, divers and trackers Ed thinks "Now that it was too late they had everything they needed." Ed was right in looking for her immediately and you can sense his hope and common sense reasoning when he thinks he sees Kim's car pulled over to the side of the road and then having his hopes crushed.

Librarian wrote:
        I really wish more could be done as soon as possible when someone is missing that is 18 ----adult age. I think the earlier hours are crucial. I give Ed credit for looking on his own before the police would.


Message Edited by Carmenere_lady on 06-04-2008 06:17 AM
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swapna1183
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Registered: ‎04-09-2008
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Re: The Search

This may have been said before, but what did you guys think of Lindsay's lack of participation, until her dad said that if it was Lindsay missing, Kim wouldn't just be sitting around?
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PattyJean
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Re: The Search



swapna1183 wrote:
This may have been said before, but what did you guys think of Lindsay's lack of participation, until her dad said that if it was Lindsay missing, Kim wouldn't just be sitting around?





I think the LAST thing Lindsay needed at that point was to be reminded she wasn't Kim. Have taught many siblings who already have issues with not being "as smart as" "as athletic as" "as mature as" etc, etc, etc. Know Ed is knee jerk reacting to a horrid situation, but not the best reaction for Lindsay.
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dhaupt
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Search

Well the first problem was that Nina thought she skipped work even though she never does, so why didn't she ask somebody like JP?

The second problem was that they didn't discover her disappearance until the next morning when she probably was abducted the day before probably either at home or on her way to work, so we have innumerable hours that she's already been gone.

The third problem being that the police thought she disappeared voluntarily and I don't think put enough effort into the search from the get go, perhaps if they had treated this as an abduction from the start they would have brought in dogs and perhaps the FBI. But I really don't know how those things work.

And then of course we have her friends who didn't tell all they knew from the start.

I think the efforts by both of Kim's parents were right on the money (saying that let me say that I don't know what I would do in the same situation and hope to never find out).
They did what they were both stronger at, Fran organized and Ed searched. Linsay's attitude bothered me at first, but then I stopped to think about her role in the family and as a result wasn't really allowed to do anything at first, plus not knowing how to deal with her parents and her fears about Kim she retreated to the sanctuary of her room.
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fordmg
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Re: The Search



swapna1183 wrote:
This may have been said before, but what did you guys think of Lindsay's lack of participation, until her dad said that if it was Lindsay missing, Kim wouldn't just be sitting around?



My impression is that Lindsay wanted to go out and help, but her mother would not let her go.  She was afraid to loose the one child that was left.  Eventually the parents relented and said she could go out and help search.  Searching was all Lindsay wanted to do.  Her  mother wouldn't let her make phone calls, and she didn't want to make posters or search the WEB.  \
MG
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bentley
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Re: The Search

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:

What are some of the different ways that various people in Kim's life approach the search for her, and to what degree are they influenced by each individual's particular emotions? What are some of the roadblocks -- personal and institutional -- that impede the search for Kim?

 

Did you feel frustrated by the progress of the search? Did it seem like the official police investigation was at odds with Fran and Ed's efforts at times?

 

-Karen






It was interesting how Kim's friends aided in the search differently and even her family. Fran becomes the media iconic symbol (the inside person) while Ed becomes the person who deals with the findings (the outside person). Ed realizes how screwed they are even before this registers with Fran.

The secret that Kim's friends keep to protect themselves ostensibly does not help the situation. And the police have their process and even though it may be your daughter or your son that they should be looking for; their approach may seem outrageously slow and underwhelming. In the case of this department, their attitudes seemed to defy any sense of urgency. The timing of Kim's disappearance and the fact that nobody realized she was even missing until 18 hours later sealed Kim's fate I fear. The fact that when Kim was present she moved in the shadows of the family's routine did not help her fate; how odd that when she became missing that this is when reality sets in and Fran and Ed then feel the missing part as if it were a needed appendage without which they can never now remain whole as individuals or as a family. They had lost a integral part of their set which could not be replaced and the effect of the loss was more profound than when it had been present. How incongruous! They had thought they had loss their family harmony; even though it had just been rediscovered after a coma like state of non living.

Everyone now noticed the missing part of the set even more clearly and felt or even smelled Kim's presence around them; more so or even now for the first time recognized what loss felt like. They seemed to try to fill the void with a sense of purpose in looking for what they had lost much like looking for a set of keys or a pair of glasses or some valuable item overlooked or misplaced due to carelessness or neglect. The loss jolted their equilibrium and forced their routine to break its monotonous sameness. Now her loss awakened them from the sentences that they had inflicted upon themselves which to each other and to themselves they had formerly called duty or family necessities. They had taken that recognition of presence for granted; now that their senses were awakened to the emptiness that had once been this person; they now gave it the present attention that they should have given "it" when Kim was actually tangible and a living/breathing intergral part of their household. I guess you do not know what you have got, until you lose it. Kim moved from being a living breathing part of their family to an object that you must find to remain complete. The intensity of keeping the course instills a purpose and a reason for living and going on with their lives which only occurred oddly enough because someone else may have lost theirs.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 06-04-2008 11:59 AM
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
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Re: The Search



bentley wrote:

KxBurns wrote:

What are some of the different ways that various people in Kim's life approach the search for her, and to what degree are they influenced by each individual's particular emotions? What are some of the roadblocks -- personal and institutional -- that impede the search for Kim?

 

Did you feel frustrated by the progress of the search? Did it seem like the official police investigation was at odds with Fran and Ed's efforts at times?

 

-Karen






It was interesting how Kim's friends aided in the search differently and even her family. Fran becomes the media iconic symbol (the inside person) while Ed becomes the person who deals with the findings (the outside person). Ed realizes how screwed they are even before this registers with Fran.

The secret that Kim's friends keep to protect themselves ostensibly does not help the situation. And the police have their process and even though it may be your daughter or your son that they should be looking for; their approach may seem outrageously slow and underwhelming. In the case of this department, their attitudes seemed to defy any sense of urgency. The timing of Kim's disappearance and the fact that nobody realized she was even missing until 18 hours later sealed Kim's fate I fear. The fact that when Kim was present she moved in the shadows of the family's routine did not help her fate; how odd that when she became missing that this is when reality sets in and Fran and Ed then feel the missing part as if it were a needed appendage without which they can never now remain whole as individuals or as a family. They had lost a integral part of their set which could not be replaced and the effect of the loss was more profound than when it had been present. How incongruous! They had thought they had loss their family harmony; even though it had just been rediscovered after a coma like state of non living.

Everyone now noticed the missing part of the set even more clearly and felt or even smelled Kim's presence around them; more so or even now for the first time recognized what loss felt like. They seemed to try to fill the void with a sense of purpose in looking for what they had lost much like looking for a set of keys or a pair of glasses or some valuable item overlooked or misplaced due to carelessness or neglect. The loss jolted their equilibrium and forced their routine to break its monotonous sameness. Now her loss awakened them from the sentences that they had inflicted upon themselves which to each other and to themselves they had formerly called duty or family necessities. They had taken that recognition of presence for granted; now that their senses were awakened to the emptiness that had once been this person; they now gave it the present attention that they should have given "it" when Kim was actually tangible and a living/breathing intergral part of their household. I guess you do not know what you have got, until you lose it. Kim moved from being a living breathing part of their family to an object that you must find to remain complete. The intensity of keeping the course instills a purpose and a reason for living and going on with their lives which only occurred oddly enough because someone else may have lost theirs.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 06-04-2008 11:59 AM


I felt that J.P. (kim's boyfriend) hope that is his name, feelins were greatly displayed when he began searching for Kim. He felt each step he took was either getting further away from her or near to finding her.It shown feelings even though I believe he stated he didn't know whether he loved her or not. But it was like a drama playing out in his mind while he was searching. I loved reading this part and think that O'Nan did a terrific job writing this part.
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bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: The Search



kiakar wrote:


bentley wrote:

KxBurns wrote:

What are some of the different ways that various people in Kim's life approach the search for her, and to what degree are they influenced by each individual's particular emotions? What are some of the roadblocks -- personal and institutional -- that impede the search for Kim?

 

Did you feel frustrated by the progress of the search? Did it seem like the official police investigation was at odds with Fran and Ed's efforts at times?

 

-Karen






It was interesting how Kim's friends aided in the search differently and even her family. Fran becomes the media iconic symbol (the inside person) while Ed becomes the person who deals with the findings (the outside person). Ed realizes how screwed they are even before this registers with Fran.

The secret that Kim's friends keep to protect themselves ostensibly does not help the situation. And the police have their process and even though it may be your daughter or your son that they should be looking for; their approach may seem outrageously slow and underwhelming. In the case of this department, their attitudes seemed to defy any sense of urgency. The timing of Kim's disappearance and the fact that nobody realized she was even missing until 18 hours later sealed Kim's fate I fear. The fact that when Kim was present she moved in the shadows of the family's routine did not help her fate; how odd that when she became missing that this is when reality sets in and Fran and Ed then feel the missing part as if it were a needed appendage without which they can never now remain whole as individuals or as a family. They had lost a integral part of their set which could not be replaced and the effect of the loss was more profound than when it had been present. How incongruous! They had thought they had loss their family harmony; even though it had just been rediscovered after a coma like state of non living.

Everyone now noticed the missing part of the set even more clearly and felt or even smelled Kim's presence around them; more so or even now for the first time recognized what loss felt like. They seemed to try to fill the void with a sense of purpose in looking for what they had lost much like looking for a set of keys or a pair of glasses or some valuable item overlooked or misplaced due to carelessness or neglect. The loss jolted their equilibrium and forced their routine to break its monotonous sameness. Now her loss awakened them from the sentences that they had inflicted upon themselves which to each other and to themselves they had formerly called duty or family necessities. They had taken that recognition of presence for granted; now that their senses were awakened to the emptiness that had once been this person; they now gave it the present attention that they should have given "it" when Kim was actually tangible and a living/breathing intergral part of their household. I guess you do not know what you have got, until you lose it. Kim moved from being a living breathing part of their family to an object that you must find to remain complete. The intensity of keeping the course instills a purpose and a reason for living and going on with their lives which only occurred oddly enough because someone else may have lost theirs.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 06-04-2008 11:59 AM


I felt that J.P. (kim's boyfriend) hope that is his name, feelins were greatly displayed when he began searching for Kim. He felt each step he took was either getting further away from her or near to finding her.It shown feelings even though I believe he stated he didn't know whether he loved her or not. But it was like a drama playing out in his mind while he was searching. I loved reading this part and think that O'Nan did a terrific job writing this part.





Kiakar,

I felt the same way about O'Nan. For me the writing style and approach to the novel seemed to be more cohesive. How each character evolved and came alive in Kim's absence became I think Kim's legacy.

Bentley
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pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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Re: The Search



KxBurns wrote:

What are some of the different ways that various people in Kim's life approach the search for her, and to what degree are they influenced by each individual's particular emotions? What are some of the roadblocks -- personal and institutional -- that impede the search for Kim?


Did you feel frustrated by the progress of the search? Did it seem like the official police investigation was at odds with Fran and Ed's efforts at times?


-Karen






No one has really mentioned this yet, but I thought it was an interesting twist that the two mass efforts (volunteer and police led) turned up nothing while a solitary individual was the one that eventually found Kim's body. It almost seemed a little too deus ex machina in my opinion.

Perhaps I've been watching Law & Order for way too long, but this just seemed a little to coincidental. Perhaps this is a tie in to the "small town" discussion, but I would have expected a better professional search to have been the source of answers.
-Philip
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krb2g
Posts: 289
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: The Search


pheath wrote:
No one has really mentioned this yet, but I thought it was an interesting twist that the two mass efforts (volunteer and police led) turned up nothing while a solitary individual was the one that eventually found Kim's body. It almost seemed a little too deus ex machina in my opinion.

Perhaps I've been watching Law & Order for way too long, but this just seemed a little to coincidental. Perhaps this is a tie in to the "small town" discussion, but I would have expected a better professional search to have been the source of answers.




I agree with this concern--although finding Kim's body was a great thing for her family, I think its discovery undermines part of how Fran, Ed, Lindsay, and Kim's friends grow throughout the course of the book. That is, the book from its very first chapter refuses to satisfy either its characters' or its readers' desire to know what happened to Kim. One of the story's great strengths is precisely that explores what happens to a family when they can't know what happened to their daughter. Finding the body, especially when there's been an unremarked by the text yet intensive search effort going on all along (something I would have liked to know more about...here's someone else profoundly effected by Kim's disappearance), feels too much to me like having your cake and eating it too.
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the_mad_chatter
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Search tools

I agree with you Ann.  I felt that the "getting the word out" was an incredible production.  If felt false.  I'm not saying that the word should have been gotten out.  But I got the sense that Fran was doing it all so that she would be perceived as a good mom.  But in the privacy of their own home,  I don't even remember a scene where Ed, Fran and Lindsey each shared their last moments with Kim together. 
 
_________________________________________________________________________


bookhunter wrote:


Everyman wrote:
This was much my same reaction. Of course I read about the Amber Alerts and see the photos on milk cartons and IRS leaflets, but I had never had any inkling that there were so many resources for families who find themselves in this terrible situation, nor that there was such a structured process that a family is recommended to follow. That, to me, was one of the most interesting parts of the book (I'm assuming that this was all factually based, not that O'Nan invented it). I love books that while entertaining me also teach me about somewhat arcane subjects that I would never think much about on my own.

ELee wrote:
Only because this is a subject I would not really think about (unless forced to!), I found the resource material available on the internet suprising. It is terrible that there should be the need for such a thing, but it must have made a very big difference to be able to quickly educate oneself about what to do in this situation, and have templates for fliers, etc. with which to move forward with some plan of action. How much worse it must have been prior to this when families of the missing were solely dependent upon law enforcement and could do nothing while they waited.





And I was struck how even with all the ways to "get the word out" and all the communication that is going on, all the resources, they were still stuck and frustrated with not finding Kim.  And it sometimes seemed that all of the business of the searches was really just a way to keep themselves occupied and to make them feel like they were accomplishing something.
 
Ann, bookhunter



And I was struck how even with all the ways to "get the word out" and all the communication that is going on, all the resources, they were still stuck and frustrated with not finding Kim.  And it sometimes seemed that all of the business of the searches was really just a way to keep themselves occupied and to make them feel like they were accomplishing something.
 
Ann, bookhunter



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