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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Beth

What are your thoughts about Beth? How do Beth's insecurity, difficulty attaining her educational and career goals, and struggle to come to terms with the end of her relationship with Dave provide the reader with insight into this character? How does her initial "encounter" and subsequent relationship with Will Chase change her? What is Beth's function as a member of the group?
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
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Re: Beth

I’m not sure how I feel about Beth. She seems so unsure of herself, so out of it most of the time. The whole relationship with Will is odd. I definitely believe it is connected to her relationship with Dave, but the idea of not caring about her own safety was disturbing. I’m not even sure why she is marrying him.  How could she keep this relationship from her friends? Why is she marrying him – security, love? I just don’t see the love, but rebound does seem to fit.

Beth seemed to be in another world when thinking about her education and job. Why didn’t she keep track of things so that she would get her degree in time, and why did she wait until the last minute to tell the school she couldn’t start in the fall?  Then, she still moved to NYC knowing that there was nothing set in place yet. She moved with no income. Beth has some scary habits.

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
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Vermontcozy
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Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Beth

I like Beth because of her difficulties.her goals are attainable,but she still doesn't know herself.She thinks everyone else has it all together.A reader of this book,like myself can relate and be sympathic.She has her secrets,and believes she is the only one that feels this way...Not sure about the Dave thing yet.
Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Shadowwolf36
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎09-16-2008
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Re: Beth

I honestly felt her to be the most real of all the characters.  We all make mistakes--who hasn't forgetten to log something in or keep track of something that affects them later on. Granted, something as important as a graduation requirement should be first on the list but still, I certainly find myself scatterbrained like she is. As for Will, I do believe she had this deep seeded need to feel loved and wanted and for now Will is the one giving that to her. She certainly still loves Dave but he is not the one giving her what she needs. It seems that they all seem to keep a part of themselves apart from their friends...Even Lil surprised everyone with the intensity of her relationship and subsequent marriage. Most had not even met him yet. We also have to remember that most of these friends have family money to fall back on in some form. I think that although it is scary that she moved without concrete plans, she also must have felt some strength or ability to get by which I hear alot from friends who move to the city. They just figure that they have to give it a shot and hope for the best.
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Grace2133
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Re: Beth

I like Beth, I think. She needs the most protection and guidance. She is the most vulnerable of the group because of her insecurity. She seems to be a little too nice and innocent. It makes it easier to overlook and short-change her. She is not confident enough in herself to be successful in either career or relationship. I think Will fills a specific role in her life. She needs to feel some sort of love from a man and she will take it where she can get it. I am not sure where this relationship is headed. I do like Will but he does not seem strong enough of a character to bring out the strength in Beth.

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kiakar
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Re: Beth

It was quite a surprise when the date or encounter between Beth and Will meandered into a close relationship. I totally thought it was a first one night stand that someway she would regret. But I didn't write the story.
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Grace2133
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Re: Beth

[ Edited ]

kiakar wrote:
It was quite a surprise when the date or encounter between Beth and Will meandered into a close relationship. I totally thought it was a first one night stand that someway she would regret. But I didn't write the story.

I think she will regret it someday when she is more mature. I think at this point in the story it is more of a curiousity. Also I think she is a bit too stupid to realize how dumb this "relationship"with Will is.

Message Edited by Grace2133 on 01-05-2009 02:48 PM
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Bonnie824
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Re: Beth

Beth seemed pretty typical to me of her generation- at least her college educated generation. They seem to go through the insecurity/carelessness about things you have had other people fix for you for too long later than prior generations did- or IMO that later ones will get the option of going through. She seems to see herself as a student in a group of students and not want to change that. Even her graduate studies seem like something to do for fun or a hobby.

 

I don't dislike her or like her at this point. She doesn't seem to really have a individual personality.

 

Bonnie

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JSS
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Re: Beth

Much of what you say just seems so natural and logical to me. Who among us (at that age or at any age for that matter) doesn't hold part(s) of themselves back, even from some of their closest friends. Your mention of money representing safety to most of the group is spot on. Pre 9/11, almost no one of the generation of this group really "experienced" any real harsh downturn in the economy. There were some short recessions but all of the core group in this book were in high school at the time. Most folks their age have known pretty much good solid economic times throughout their early adult years and, as a generation, seem much more likely to take risks that older generations might see as unwise. In short, if you have never experienced failure in anything, you are more willing to take risks.
"I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth." Ayn Rand
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nfam
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Re: Beth

I think Beth is a very difficult character to understand. She's insecure both about her job and her love life. Still she does dumb things, not getting her credits striaghtened out is one. She seems intent on destroying her chances. I found the first encounter with Will distasteful. Kinky sex is fine, but for me it was too early in the book.

 

Definitely her relationship with Dave is a problem for her. She wants him to want her. She's not sure about her feelings. Jumping on Will as a solution seems headed for disaster. I'll be interested to see how it resolves.

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liisa22
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Re: Beth

Beth must have some deeper reasons for allowing Will his way. I feel she is very insecure, about her life in general.  Dave definitely has scarred her in ways that we may find out later. She is also rather immature, I thought, for someone with her education.  Not having her credits straight- I never trusted an advisor to handle my credits!  
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krb2g
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Re: Beth

Dsaff,

 

I totally agree about the credits/grad school/moving thing. I am in grad school now, and I can sympathize with getting your credits confused (or what counts for a requirement, or filling in placeholder courses--I messed up my registration last semester through lack of attention), and I sympathize with not wanting to call NYU and tell them--but... I was really anxious, just reading about the whole incident (granted, the job market was not as bad in the late 90s as it is now). It was off-putting/alarming to me that she could mess that up so badly (and, as someone who's getting used to the other side of academia) not showing up to teach (and not giving them notice) is a pretty bad screw-up. There are tons of brilliant people who are not suited for academic life, and I think Beth may be one of them--it doesn't matter how good your ideas are; you have to be able to play within the system too. The most disturbing part to me was that she seemed to have no idea how disruptive (and disrespectful) her behavior was. 

 

The whole Will thing was also weird. I also found their first date off-putting, and then, as the wedding plans developed, I wanted more. Maybe I wasn't reading as closely as I could have been, but I didn't find an awful lot of resolution in the shopping day between Beth and her mother: I wasn't sure if she should marry Will or not at the end of it and I wasn't sure what she had decided either. 

 

Beth was definitely not my favorite character (nor was the Beth in Little Women, for that matter), but I will give her credit for sticking it out--by the end she was still teaching/trying to make it in academia which was more than Lil or Tuck could do.

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debbook
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Re: Beth

I really didn't like the first date between Will and Beth. And then to skip to their engagement with out seeing any development of their relationship and we really don't see much about the relationship at all in the book, at least nothing insightful. We see Beth torn between her love for an old boyfriend but she deals with it quickly and moves on. They get married and have a baby and then Beth seems to be at the peripheral for the rest of the story.

I'm not sure what she brought to the group. The first part where we are geting to know her was good, but once that thing with Will happened, we miss the rest of the story. i felt that she could have been an important character but she wasn't. I'm not sure of the point of the encounter between her and Will. It doesn't explain anything at all and seems unrelated to the rest of the story.

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Beth

Beth seems like she exists inside of the group but perhaps is not really of it, reinforced by where she lives. I do think that her relationship with Will makes her feel more as if she belongs and also makes her feel stronger in some ways because I think she feels responsible for him and his son and for making him emotionally healthy! I believe she feels important because she can fill that role of surrogate mother, wife and maybe even savior even if it is at her own expense.

I didn't think the relationship between Beth and Dave was developed well enough. Come to think of it, neither was the relationship between her and Will aside from the very graphic kinky sex scene.

At first, when she was introduced, I thought she was responsible and organized with a concrete plan for her life but then when I realize how she screwed up (regardless of whether or not it was accidental) I saw her as irresponsible, unrealistic, naive, and immature. With such important decisions on her plate she should have had all her ducks in row. I am interested to see how her character develops further.

You know, I just had a thought, at first all the girls expressed a feeling of kind of being betrayed when Lil decides to get married because they were going to be independent and not succumb to expected behavior by marrying and settliing down. They felt kind of glued together in that belief. Then after Lil paves the way, one by one they each seem to now want to "fit" into that world, perhaps so they could still stick together or perhaps not to be left behind, I am not sure.

I have a feeling I am not in a very forgiving mood tonight. "Tomorrow will be better!"

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

You are right, Grace. Did she think she couldn't do any better than someone weird and strange like Will? She did find out right away that he had a kid so he could have already been a jerk to someone else besides her.

 

 


Grace2133 wrote:

kiakar wrote:
It was quite a surprise when the date or encounter between Beth and Will meandered into a close relationship. I totally thought it was a first one night stand that someway she would regret. But I didn't write the story.

I think she will regret it someday when she is more mature. I think at this point in the story it is more of a curiousity. Also I think she is a bit too stupid to realize how dumb this "relationship"with Will is.

Message Edited by Grace2133 on 01-05-2009 02:48 PM

 

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debbook
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Re: Beth


thewanderingjew wrote:

Beth seems like she exists inside of the group but perhaps is not really of it, reinforced by where she lives. I do think that her relationship with Will makes her feel more as if she belongs and also makes her feel stronger in some ways because I think she feels responsible for him and his son and for making him emotionally healthy! I believe she feels important because she can fill that role of surrogate mother, wife and maybe even savior even if it is at her own expense.

I didn't think the relationship between Beth and Dave was developed well enough. Come to think of it, neither was the relationship between her and Will aside from the very graphic kinky sex scene.

At first, when she was introduced, I thought she was responsible and organized with a concrete plan for her life but then when I realize how she screwed up (regardless of whether or not it was accidental) I saw her as irresponsible, unrealistic, naive, and immature. With such important decisions on her plate she should have had all her ducks in row. I am interested to see how her character develops further.

You know, I just had a thought, at first all the girls expressed a feeling of kind of being betrayed when Lil decides to get married because they were going to be independent and not succumb to expected behavior by marrying and settliing down. They felt kind of glued together in that belief. Then after Lil paves the way, one by one they each seem to now want to "fit" into that world, perhaps so they could still stick together or perhaps not to be left behind, I am not sure.

I have a feeling I am not in a very forgiving mood tonight. "Tomorrow will be better!"


I think that's how it is in your 20's, at least that's how I remember it (not that long ago). you have these ideals and you feel like the world is your oyster and you want to be different. Then one person in the group does the "predictable thing", everyone else follows along. For some it works, for others, they end up in their 40's asking " whatever happened to the dreams I had? "

A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
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booksJT
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Re: Beth

The relationship Beth has with Will Chase shows  her lack of self respect. Had she talked to her friends first they would have advised her of such. But since I didn't write the book Beth would not have to worry about being raped or killed.  Beth had this one night stand in hopes of forgetting about Dave. Will Chase would be the man who understands her and gives her what she needs.  She had very little confidence in herself that is why she was willing to submit herself to every whim of  Chase's. As young people they  all made mistakes but it is a part of growing up. But this relationship was strange from the beginning. After finding out about him she still wanted him.  She probably thought she would be the one to make him happy. Her function in the group is hard to describe. If she had one it was to keep them all together. 
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Dances_through_Books
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Re: Beth

I like Beth as a character. She is the one character in the story who isn't perfect.  Yes, she made a dumb mistake with Will and their encounter, and she should have stayed on top of her credits, but I feel our book club is being a bit too harsh on her.  Who hasn't made mistakes?  Many of the other characters make huge ones later in the book.  Beth is just trying to find herself, and her place in the work world, and society.  She is also one of the characters who actually has to WORK for everything. Perhaps the immaturity, and self centeredness our book club is picking up on, is that of the priviledged classes. Those that have been given everything, and who then when sent out on their own, do not know how to "work" for what they want.

I blame the Paris Hilton's of the world for the overgeneralizations of Beth's and my own generation. 

Beth is a complicated, quiet character, I believe if given time she will "grow up" to become a fully developed adult.

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jpock
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Re: Beth


KxBurns wrote:
What are your thoughts about Beth? How do Beth's insecurity, difficulty attaining her educational and career goals, and struggle to come to terms with the end of her relationship with Dave provide the reader with insight into this character? How does her initial "encounter" and subsequent relationship with Will Chase change her? What is Beth's function as a member of the group?

 

I think Beth is the most "real" character in the book.  She makes mistakes, frightening ones sometimes, and she seems so insecure and lost.  She acts, I think, as an anchor for the rest of the group - up there on their platitudes - to the real world.
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onyx9
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Registered: ‎11-23-2008
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Re: Beth


jpock wrote:
I think Beth is the most "real" character in the book.  She makes mistakes, frightening ones sometimes, and she seems so insecure and lost.  She acts, I think, as an anchor for the rest of the group - up there on their platitudes - to the real world.

Thank you once again, I was thinking the exact same thing.  Beth may make mistakes like missing a credit, but not only does she go through to correct it, she actually admits that she didn't pay enough attention - she learned from the experience.  She is a constant friend even while she is having her own insecurities and troubles.  I think she is the character that keeps me reading this one (not quite finished yet).

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