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fordmg
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Re: Tuesday and Today



bookhunter wrote:

I don't like the title, either, and since it is not the original title the author gave it, I am going to blame the publishers and editors for it!  :smileywink:  (Do I sound like Ginny--put the blame where *I* want it?)
 
 
Ann, bookhunter



It truly is a decision of the publishers.  I have read many author comments that they are unhappy when a publisher changes the name of a book, and we all know that they change the cover from country to country.
MG
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fordmg
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Re: Tuesday and Today



LeisaPS wrote:
And what happened to Simon, the dog....?  On Monday, just after 12:24 p.m. by her beside clock, Ginny heard a noise and went cautiously to investigate.  She was relieved to see that it was only Vivi's dog, plopped a piece of cheese and a heap of Shreddies on the floor for him to eat and went back to her bedroom....that's the last I read about him....??!



We don't get much on the dog.  Vivi comes home with it, but she doesn't interact with it after arriving.  I don't see the purpose for the dog as a character in the book.
MG
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Re: Tuesday and Today

All true, but they would still need a court actiona nd court order to take her out of her home and institutionalize her.


LizzieAnn wrote:
The thing is we don't know how well she was capable of taking care of herself in recent years. I would assume that she would be examined both physically & mentally, and perhaps was found to be in need. We don't know if she needed social services - just that she refused to have anything to do with "outsiders," with the exception of Michael, who probably provided her with things she needed. The authorities may have discovered her stash as well as, if I recall correctly, the broken window in her bedroom that had never been fixed. The house may have been in worse state than we know.
She didn't visit her father for several years before he died, and he's been dead for quite a while. Digital watches aren't that new that her having one means that she's gone out recently. She doesn't have a phone -so even if she had difficulty, she'd be unable to contact anyone. The authorities probably noticed that as well. She seems rather frail for 70 years - as she herself remarks on Vivi's abilities.
She has no family left, so isn't it possible that the state or whatever it is in England takes guardianship of her? It seemed to me that she hadn't been taking as good a care of herself in recent years as she'd done earlier. We do know she has money problems - she's been selling off furniture & stuff for an income. We know she's wearing older clothes (such as Clive's sweater), could it be because she can't afford new ones. The money she does get seems to go to the barest minimums.


Everyman wrote:

Not sure how that really changes the dynamic. She had been able to feed herself, clothe herself, house herself (not in conditions we would want, perhaps, but in conditions apparently acceptable to her) for many years. She had apparently not needed social services. If she had needed medical help, she had gotten it and recovered. (Did she never have a broken bone, a serious bout of flu, an infection needing antibiotics, a dental cleaning in all those years? How realistic, when we think about it carefully, was her lifestyle as implied in the book? If she had gone to a doctor or dentist at all in those years, and they had thought she needed services, wouldn't they have been legally obligated to report her need to social services?) Certainly she knew about doctors and their services -- she talks about Dr. Moyse treating the refugee children.

Since we know that the lights work, she had obviously been able to pay the electric bill, and whatever other bills she had a needed to pay. She had a digital watch, which must have been a reasonably recent purchase, and she was able to obtain batteries to keep it running.

Food, clothing, shelter -- the essentials of life, and she was handling them okay. She had been able (if we believe her) to travel with her father to a variety of places, and to visit him in his home (did she have a car and drive herself, or did Michael take her each time, or did she take taxis, or go some other way?)

It seems to me that there was no clear reason why she shouldn't be able to go on living on her own, other than her being confined as a result of the murder investigation and legal action (you can't just lock somebody up and keep them confined, even for their own good, without legal process).

Are picture of Ginny as she presents herself, and the realities we have to infer from the fact of her remaining alive and reasonably healthy in the house for many years, consistent?






_______________
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Everyman
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Re: Tuesday and Today

As long as we are going to be left with little but ambiguities, and we are pretty sure that Ginny is an unreliable narrator, maybe we need to go all the way and ask whether there is any truth to the story at all?

Did Ginny in fact push Vivi off the bell tower and was she in such bad mental shape that she was institutionalized then and has been since, she's been living in the locked room of Today for all her life, and all the events of the book are a "memory" she created out of her insanity? This would explain why she sometimes addresses the reader as "you;" in her more lucid moments she gets an inkling that she is just telling a story.

This explains why things drift into and out of the story (like Michael, like the dog).

Is there any objective evidence to challenge this possibility?
Is there
_______________
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bookhunter
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Re: Tuesday and Today



fordmg wrote:


LeisaPS wrote:
And what happened to Simon, the dog....?  On Monday, just after 12:24 p.m. by her beside clock, Ginny heard a noise and went cautiously to investigate.  She was relieved to see that it was only Vivi's dog, plopped a piece of cheese and a heap of Shreddies on the floor for him to eat and went back to her bedroom....that's the last I read about him....??!



We don't get much on the dog.  Vivi comes home with it, but she doesn't interact with it after arriving.  I don't see the purpose for the dog as a character in the book.
MG


I think the point of the dog was not to be a character but to "define" the characters.  We don't know what happened to Vivi's cell phone either.  The cell phone and the little toy sized dog are showing how "modern" and "normal" Vivi's life is as opposed to Ginny, who cares nothing for the dog.
 
Maybe Eileen took him home with her!
 
Ann, bookhunter
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Thayer
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Re: Tuesday and Today



KxBurns wrote:


Everyman wrote:
Maybe the problem is that we old fuddy-duddies were brogut up to believe that a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and that it should make sense.

In a way, this book seems sort of half way to Ulysses, a book that you aren't supposed to understand, but just to experience. Except that I know Ulysses, and sorry, Ms. Baron, but this book is no Ulysses.


jakeyc wrote:
I definitely agree with you Beth. I was also very disappointed in the book because there were too many ambiguities. The characters and the story just did not flow smoothly and were very confusing at times. Halfway through the book I was ready to put it down, but I wanted to see how it ended. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone.





I think this an unfair comparison -- nobody said it was Ulysses! And, frankly, most books would suffer by such a comparison.  :smileyhappy:


Karen, while I enjoyed this book and thought it extremely thought provoking, I think it is a definite "book club selection." Personally, I don't feel I would have gotten as much out of it or understood the myriad nuiances were it not for the insightful thoughts and comments of you and our fellow first look members.   Dawn
~~Dawn
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jholcomb
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I disagree with the readers who've said they feel that Ginny is such an unreliable narrator that it might all be made up. I don't have any evidence for that view, necessarily, I just don't get the impression that she's really psychotic.
 
On one of the earlier threads there was talk about Ginny as resembling a cannibal caterpillar who chews her family up. Obviously, there's something "off" about her, autism or some kind of personality disorder perhaps, but I think it's more that the family doesn't know how to cope. Vivien, especially, has never earned Ginny's trust. Instead, she chooses to taunt Ginny about her possibly flawed memories of the past, mostly her beliefs that Maud simply fell down the stairs and that she, Ginny, was a renowed scientist.
 
We can probably all agree that Vivien is a threat to Ginny's self-image; I suspect that's why Ginny eliminated her. There is the old wound: Ginny gave her sister a baby that Vivien rejected. Vivien wanted the joy of a baby, but when motherhood offered only grief, she left that to Ginny. Then, the more recent threats: Vivien wants to force knowledge on Ginny that Ginny does not want. Vivien knows that Ginny was not really a famous lepidopterist, and her surprise knowledge of Maud's alcoholism weakens Ginny's heroic view of herself as the keeper of family secrets, the martyr.
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bmbrennan
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Re: Tuesday and Today

It's funny but I thought the same thing.  I vacillated between Norman Bates and Betty Davis in Whatever happened to Baby Jane.  I kept wondering if Vivi walking past Samuel's grave was the catalyst for her death, that this is how Ginny rationalized killing her, that she had to be punished for her apathy, for forgetting
bmbrennan
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bmbrennan
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I don't know if Ginny thought it (the murder) completely through because she forgot about the dog, who was on his last legs according to Vivi.  She seemed surprised when she saw the dog in the kitchen.  Did she want Vivi dead or did she just want her to go away so her routine could return, Vivi's arrival disrupted her routine which she craves.  Even in the midst of the murder and its subsequent events, she keeps asking for the time so she can set her watch.
bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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bmbrennan
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I don't know that Ginny was criminally insane, however she could plead diminished capacity.  I can't see her charged with murder, where she is, is where she needs to be.
 
 Everyman wrote:

I'm unclear why Ginny was apparently put into a mental ward and not tried for murder. Based on what we've seen, she certainly doesn't seem to me to meet the legal standard of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The McNaughton standard used in England states that the accused 'must be laboring under such a defective reason from disease of the mind as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.'

bmbrennan
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bookhunter
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Re: Tuesday and Today



jholcomb wrote:
I disagree with the readers who've said they feel that Ginny is such an unreliable narrator that it might all be made up. I don't have any evidence for that view, necessarily, I just don't get the impression that she's really psychotic.
 
On one of the earlier threads there was talk about Ginny as resembling a cannibal caterpillar who chews her family up. Obviously, there's something "off" about her, autism or some kind of personality disorder perhaps, but I think it's more that the family doesn't know how to cope.
 
(snipped)

This is an interesting idea.  In the time frame of Ginny's life, views of people with differences or disabilities were very different than today.  Somewhere in the book is the comment that Maud didn't like the new fangled mental institutions.  That is the type place Ginny would have been sent to in other families--shipped off and forgotten about.
 
Ginny stays in her family, but they still don't know how to cope, as you say.  Clive wants to protect and shelter her, Vivi thinks she should know the truth about her peculiarities, and Maud wants to act like things are normal (in one breath, and blames Ginny that they are not in the next.)
 
The book in a way highlights how attitudes are different toward people with mental disabilities today as compared to the 1940s when Ginny was born.  I would like to think that we are a LITTLE bit further along!
 
Ann, bookhunter
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Re: Tuesday and Today



Everyman wrote:
As long as we are going to be left with little but ambiguities, and we are pretty sure that Ginny is an unreliable narrator, maybe we need to go all the way and ask whether there is any truth to the story at all?

Did Ginny in fact push Vivi off the bell tower and was she in such bad mental shape that she was institutionalized then and has been since, she's been living in the locked room of Today for all her life, and all the events of the book are a "memory" she created out of her insanity? This would explain why she sometimes addresses the reader as "you;" in her more lucid moments she gets an inkling that she is just telling a story.

This explains why things drift into and out of the story (like Michael, like the dog).

Is there any objective evidence to challenge this possibility?
Is there

Well, it IS a work of fiction.  :smileywink:
 
I think Ginny is unreliable in the sense that her capacity to understand the nuances of the conversations and actions of others is diminished, and that misleads the reader a bit.  In the beginning, the reader automatically is a bit sympathetic with her because she is our main character.  So we take her opinion as the reality.  For example, the first time we meet the doctor, we all think he is a creep because Ginny doesn't like him.  By the last chapters, when she recalls the card game while Eileen is there, we realize he was not a bad guy.  We are no longer trusting her opinion of him. 
 
But I don't see any reason to not trust the words and actions of others as she relates them. 
 
Ann, bookhunter
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bentley
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Re: Tuesday and Today

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:
Excellent comment.

Someone suggested, I think on this thread, that we can't know certain things (such as Ginny's mental diagnosis) because she didn't know herself and so couldn't tell us.

On reflection, I find this unsatisfying. There are many ways the author could have gotten around this easily enough. One would have been to have Ginny retreat into her away place after, not before, Vivian told her what the family though was wrong with her. Another would have been to have her overhear and report a conversation which doctors held outside her room discussing her condition. These are only two easy ways; there could be many others. It would have been an easy "barrier' to overcome if the author had chosen to; the apparent reality (a word I hesitate to use anywhere in connection with this book) is that Ms Adams doesn't want us to know. Or more accurately, perhaps, she doesn't us to know what she thinks; she wants us to decide for ourselves, and if some of us think bipolar and some thing autism and some think schizophrenia and some think OCD, we may all be equally right and equally wrong.



Oldesq wrote:
I saw the Met's production of Benjamin Britten's "Peter Grimes" this weekend - a work written in 1945, based on poems from the early 1800s. The opera leaves it to the audience to decide whether Peter Grimes is guilty of the crimes against children that the Borough gossips charge him with. So this is not a new literary technique, but a difficult and sophisticated path to walk the reader along without having them go over the edge of the bell tower.








I am one who appears to have had a similar reading experience to what you had Everyman. I sort of think of James Joyce's classic The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and of Stephen. Here was a novel which really depicted a story of the development of Stephen's mind. What was the consciousness of Stephen as he grew up and developed. I do not mean to compare Ginny to Stephen in any way; but we can only learn about her in this book and others once again through her thoughts (true or false)and her interpretation of reality. I wanted to have more answers about Ginny and about the others. But it didn't happen for me. The character of Ginny wasn't conscious enough to who she really was to give us any of those answers with any degree of reliability. I like a logical structure to any novel and even the most unconventional read can have an outline which can be followed and understood. I guess we all have our different tastes and we all read each book differently. I like a really good developed plot which flows and the pieces fit together. I like to really get to know my characters with a certain degree of familiarity and understanding. What probably rubbed me most was that I never understood the Ginny that I was supposed to understand. But every book is a learning experience for me and I gained a lot from this one as well. Take care.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 03-17-2008 11:31 PM
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bookhunter
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Re: Tuesday and Today



bentley wrote:
 snipped...
 
I sort of think of James Joyce's classic The Portrait of a Young Man and of Stephen. Here was a novel which really depicted a story of the development of Stephen's mind. What was the consciousness of Stephen as he grew up and developed. I do not mean to compare Ginny to Stephen in any way; but we can only learn about her in this book and others once again through her thoughts (true or false)and her interpretation of reality. I wanted to have more answers about Ginny and about the others. But it didn't happen for me. The character of Ginny wasn't conscious enough to who she really was to give us any of those answers with any degree of reliability. I like a logical structure to any novel and even the most unconventional read can have an outline which can be followed and understood. I guess we all have our different tastes and we all read each book differently. I like a really good developed plot which flows and the pieces fit together. I like to really get to know my characters with a certain degree of familiarity and understanding. What probably rubbed me most was that I never understood the Ginny that I was supposed to understand. But every book is a learning experience for me and I gained a lot from this one as well. Take care.

Bentley

I think that is part of the point--we are limited to Ginny's interpretation.  But for me, that enhanced my enjoyment of the book because I was getting to see the world through someone else's perspective which is vastly different from mine. 
 
I kept reading what Ginny was "reporting" and comparing what she interpreted to what *I* thought was going on.  Was my intuition making my interpretation more correct?  How much of what we perceive about the world is due to this interpretation?  And what does it mean that people can have such DIFFERENT perspectives on the same thing?  As Ginny tells us while answering the policeman, she was looking for the"right" answer not the "real" answer.  What is the difference?
 
Your point about Ginny not being conscious of who she was is a thought provoking point, as well.  Self awareness was the theme of Clive's research on the moths and Ginny represents that in human terms.  Are we aware of our actions and choices, or do we just float along on our biologically determined moth wings?  And so did Ginny choose to kill Vivi, or did her biology determine that she would?  If she wasn't aware of herself, could she distinguish between right and wrong?
 
Ann, bookhunter  (midnight mind at work)

 
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bentley
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Re: Tuesday and Today


bookhunter wrote:


bentley wrote:
 snipped...
 
I sort of think of James Joyce's classic The Portrait of a Young Man and of Stephen. Here was a novel which really depicted a story of the development of Stephen's mind. What was the consciousness of Stephen as he grew up and developed. I do not mean to compare Ginny to Stephen in any way; but we can only learn about her in this book and others once again through her thoughts (true or false)and her interpretation of reality. I wanted to have more answers about Ginny and about the others. But it didn't happen for me. The character of Ginny wasn't conscious enough to who she really was to give us any of those answers with any degree of reliability. I like a logical structure to any novel and even the most unconventional read can have an outline which can be followed and understood. I guess we all have our different tastes and we all read each book differently. I like a really good developed plot which flows and the pieces fit together. I like to really get to know my characters with a certain degree of familiarity and understanding. What probably rubbed me most was that I never understood the Ginny that I was supposed to understand. But every book is a learning experience for me and I gained a lot from this one as well. Take care.

Bentley

I think that is part of the point--we are limited to Ginny's interpretation.  But for me, that enhanced my enjoyment of the book because I was getting to see the world through someone else's perspective which is vastly different from mine. 
 
I kept reading what Ginny was "reporting" and comparing what she interpreted to what *I* thought was going on.  Was my intuition making my interpretation more correct?  How much of what we perceive about the world is due to this interpretation?  And what does it mean that people can have such DIFFERENT perspectives on the same thing?  As Ginny tells us while answering the policeman, she was looking for the"right" answer not the "real" answer.  What is the difference?
 
Your point about Ginny not being conscious of who she was is a thought provoking point, as well.  Self awareness was the theme of Clive's research on the moths and Ginny represents that in human terms.  Are we aware of our actions and choices, or do we just float along on our biologically determined moth wings?  And so did Ginny choose to kill Vivi, or did her biology determine that she would?  If she wasn't aware of herself, could she distinguish between right and wrong?
 
Ann, bookhunter  (midnight mind at work)

 





Thank you Bookhunter,

I suspect that is why she was in some sort of institution versus a different kind of prison environment; everyone must have determined that she was not aware of many things; including right from wrong. The book was like entering the mind of a person not in tune with reality and seeing the forms but not the structures of any logic. Trying to connect the dots proves futile; it becomes more of an exercise of observation and analysis: I guess not unlike studying moth behavior.

Bentley
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Which of course is possible.  Ginny just tells us where she is living "now" and not how she arrived there.  To her that may not be as important as how she's being treated there.


Everyman wrote:

All true, but they would still need a court action and court order to take her out of her home and institutionalize her.




Liz ♥ ♥


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bmbrennan
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Re: Tuesday and Today

How difficult would it be to get a court order in a circumstance where an individual is living in a home wiothout heat and that appears to be falling down(raining in the hallway) around her.  Eileen could verify her emotional state at this time as well, and she appears to be the one who phoned the police.

Everyman wrote:
All true, but they would still need a court actiona nd court order to take her out of her home and institutionalize her.


LizzieAnn wrote:
The thing is we don't know how well she was capable of taking care of herself in recent years. I would assume that she would be examined both physically & mentally, and perhaps was found to be in need. We don't know if she needed social services - just that she refused to have anything to do with "outsiders," with the exception of Michael, who probably provided her with things she needed. The authorities may have discovered her stash as well as, if I recall correctly, the broken window in her bedroom that had never been fixed. The house may have been in worse state than we know.
She didn't visit her father for several years before he died, and he's been dead for quite a while. Digital watches aren't that new that her having one means that she's gone out recently. She doesn't have a phone -so even if she had difficulty, she'd be unable to contact anyone. The authorities probably noticed that as well. She seems rather frail for 70 years - as she herself remarks on Vivi's abilities.
She has no family left, so isn't it possible that the state or whatever it is in England takes guardianship of her? It seemed to me that she hadn't been taking as good a care of herself in recent years as she'd done earlier. We do know she has money problems - she's been selling off furniture & stuff for an income. We know she's wearing older clothes (such as Clive's sweater), could it be because she can't afford new ones. The money she does get seems to go to the barest minimums.


Everyman wrote:

Not sure how that really changes the dynamic. She had been able to feed herself, clothe herself, house herself (not in conditions we would want, perhaps, but in conditions apparently acceptable to her) for many years. She had apparently not needed social services. If she had needed medical help, she had gotten it and recovered. (Did she never have a broken bone, a serious bout of flu, an infection needing antibiotics, a dental cleaning in all those years? How realistic, when we think about it carefully, was her lifestyle as implied in the book? If she had gone to a doctor or dentist at all in those years, and they had thought she needed services, wouldn't they have been legally obligated to report her need to social services?) Certainly she knew about doctors and their services -- she talks about Dr. Moyse treating the refugee children.

Since we know that the lights work, she had obviously been able to pay the electric bill, and whatever other bills she had a needed to pay. She had a digital watch, which must have been a reasonably recent purchase, and she was able to obtain batteries to keep it running.

Food, clothing, shelter -- the essentials of life, and she was handling them okay. She had been able (if we believe her) to travel with her father to a variety of places, and to visit him in his home (did she have a car and drive herself, or did Michael take her each time, or did she take taxis, or go some other way?)

It seems to me that there was no clear reason why she shouldn't be able to go on living on her own, other than her being confined as a result of the murder investigation and legal action (you can't just lock somebody up and keep them confined, even for their own good, without legal process).

Are picture of Ginny as she presents herself, and the realities we have to infer from the fact of her remaining alive and reasonably healthy in the house for many years, consistent?









bmbrennan
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
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grapes
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Re: Tuesday and Today



dhaupt wrote:
I have to say that I was disappointed in the ending, there were so many questions that I had throughout the book that I was hoping to have answered in the end and alas I know no more now than then. In a thread a bit farther back someone said that Ginny failed as a narrator I think I'll have to agree with them.

I think this book is true to life. Perhaps, in other novels we have been fed baby food. In "real" life we aren't given all the answers. Situations come about leaving us puzzled. We become angry and hurt because there is no solution. The Sister is written like real life happens. It's never a neatly wrapped gift.
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I think the ending of "The Sister" helped us to see how detached a mentally ill patient can become from reality. What would upset and frighten us doesn't do the same to Ginny. She is in another world. I think the best happened to her. She was finally institutionalized. There, she felt safe and relieved. I am only sorry it didn't happen earlier in her life.
 
I feel Dr. Moyse could see a detonating bomb living inside of Ginny. For whatever reasons, he couldn't take her away from the home. He might have thought his games and talks were a type of therapy. If he were just a General Practitioner, he wouldn't have known how to work with the mind.
 
And I doubt Clive would have ever allowed Ginny to be hospitalized. She was his best child, the one who liked what he liked, moths.
Grapes
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I think your assessment is spot on grapes.  Some of us are frustrated because we know there are answers.  We know Ginney has some kind of condition.  We know that it has a name and we want to be told.  Now, to truly get into the head of Ginney we can not be told any of this.  It would mess up what I feel Poppy wants us to imagine.  And to me at least it's being in someone elses shoes who doesn't know there is a problem, doesn't know that there is a name for what she doesn't know she has.  Maybe Ginney lacks the ability to reason. The cause and effect ability to diseminate a problem.  For instance, she knows that Maud drinks but she doesn't reason out why she drinks.  Could Maud be lonely, could she be sick, if her hands hurt we'll call the dr. etc etc.  The best way to enjoy this book, I feel, is to put all of our a priori knowledge aside and come to the book as a blank slate.  That's Ginney.

grapes wrote:
I think this book is true to life. Perhaps, in other novels we have been fed baby food. In "real" life we aren't given all the answers. Situations come about leaving us puzzled. We become angry and hurt because there is no solution. The Sister is written like real life happens. It's never a neatly wrapped gift.



Lynda

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