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Inspired Correspondent
jclay26
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

The first chapter was hard for me to get through as well. As I began to read chapter two and the subsequent chapters it really started to take off. I kept getting lost in the dialogue and all the characters in chapter one and it got very confusing.
What you have to do...is trust your own story. Get the hell out of the way and let it tell itself. - Tim O'Brien; The Things They Carried
Inspired Correspondent
jclay26
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I definitely agree that we should have been shown how Will and Beth came to be engaged. It seemed really odd to me especially with the information we were given originally. It seems quite a leap in such a short amount of time. Will seemed extremely distant and a bit of an ass and I just don't see him as breaking down all his barriers in such a short amount of time. It just seems unlikely. He has been devastated for three years and just finally decides to break free and marry again??? Hmmm....
What you have to do...is trust your own story. Get the hell out of the way and let it tell itself. - Tim O'Brien; The Things They Carried
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five


jclay26 wrote:
I definitely agree that we should have been shown how Will and Beth came to be engaged. It seemed really odd to me especially with the information we were given originally. It seems quite a leap in such a short amount of time. Will seemed extremely distant and a bit of an ass and I just don't see him as breaking down all his barriers in such a short amount of time. It just seems unlikely. He has been devastated for three years and just finally decides to break free and marry again??? Hmmm....

I also found this a little confusing?  And what about the impotence?  Has that gone away?  Jo

Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five


C-c-a wrote:

 

 

I was very surprised with the sex scene between Beth and Will. It was totally unexpected.


I wasn't too sure where that was going!  Jo

New User
AmyAileen
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I can honestly say that I'm having a hard time with this book as well. I made it about half way through, then sort of fizzled out. I'm hoping giving it a bit of a break will help me finish it. I hate reading only half of a book! So far I really feel like this book has a Sex in the City feel, and I'm not sure if I'm that into it.

 

The sex scene really had me worried. I was wondering just what I was getting myself into when I read it. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one!

Contributor
CTMH_Amy
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Phew...I'm glad I'm not the only one who had trouble getting through the first chapter! I need to keep reminding myself that some of my favorite books started out difficult but then ended up pulling me in. I had to put this down but am planning on picking this up again tonight after I put the kids down. I am hoping to be able to get out of this funk. After reading everyone's comments, I think I'm going to really enjoy this book!!!
Frequent Contributor
ethel55
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎04-11-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I found the first couple chapters difficult to get into.  Between the caustic attitudes (jealously, wonder) at the wedding to the casual sex (and pretty well into the safe-sex era, but pre-Sex in the City), I wondered if this was even a book for me.  Just re-reading that first paragraph doesn't make me want to like those girls, but hopefully this "complex" novel will pan out as it goes along! 
Contributor
EJD0626
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-13-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

[ Edited ]
Message Edited by EJD0626 on 01-20-2009 01:39 AM
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EJD0626
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-13-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five


jclay26 wrote:
What I found in the first five chapters is that friends who seemed to be so close and know each other so well didn't really know each other. Also, there seems to be a loss of what they thought their lives were going to be like and they begin to settle into the life that they at once denounced but now feel like they have no other option. The first chapter was hard for me to get through because I kept losing track of the characters but as I began reading the second and subsequent chapters I could not put it down. I really like how we get an inside view of what the characters are thinking in their heads and how their outside persona is not who they really are. It seems like there is definitely some kind of disillusionment which how life is working out. I have so many questions, like why didn't Sadie pursue her talents more as Lil talked about. It is interesting, too, the Lil is so caught up woth Sadie parents and how perfect they are and yet they were not. It seems they would have talked about this along the way as their friendship developed. It is like they all have these secrets or they have these images to maintain even with their closest of friends that they just don't want to dispell.

I am also interesting how little these friends knew about each other's personal lives. What really struck me is how desperate these people are to maintain certain images of themselves to even their best friends. They all seem to hate the thought of appearing vulnerable at all, no matter what the cost is. It's really kind of sad that they are "best friends" yet seem to know so little about the interior lives of one another. However, I also wonder if these types of relationships & friendships are common. I know I have some friends who I have a lot of trouble opening up to.  

 

New User
Spidermom
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I'm sad to say that I'm giving up part way through the book and assuming that this book just isn't aimed at my demographic.  I'm 51 - a college professor in the humanities - and can't get past the petty interests and whining of the main characters. I don't find their issues compelling and don't much care about how the book unfolds.

 

As an academic, I thought I might relate to Beth.  But she seems unusually oblivious and lacking in insight, unlike the many successful academics I know who actually complete their Ph.D.s.  Moreover, it's wildly improbable that someone would pass each qualifying exam and write an entire disseratation without somebody noticing the missing credit, and bizarre that she would move to the new city without employment, fail to resolve whether or not the job will be held for her (not likely!) and take up with such a peculiar guy.  Yet even Beth's character isn't enough to make me want to keep reading about these self-centered, floundering people. 

 

Maybe the world has changed and I just can't identify with these characters or their predicaments. Perhaps a different piece by Ms. Rakoff might be more compelling to me. 

Spidermom
Bryn Mawr, PA
Inspired Correspondent
EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five


Spidermom wrote:

I'm sad to say that I'm giving up part way through the book and assuming that this book just isn't aimed at my demographic.  I'm 51 - a college professor in the humanities - and can't get past the petty interests and whining of the main characters. I don't find their issues compelling and don't much care about how the book unfolds.

 

As an academic, I thought I might relate to Beth.  But she seems unusually oblivious and lacking in insight, unlike the many successful academics I know who actually complete their Ph.D.s.  Moreover, it's wildly improbable that someone would pass each qualifying exam and write an entire disseratation without somebody noticing the missing credit, and bizarre that she would move to the new city without employment, fail to resolve whether or not the job will be held for her (not likely!) and take up with such a peculiar guy.  Yet even Beth's character isn't enough to make me want to keep reading about these self-centered, floundering people. 

 

Maybe the world has changed and I just can't identify with these characters or their predicaments. Perhaps a different piece by Ms. Rakoff might be more compelling to me. 


 

I know how you feel, I'm in my 50's also, but since I read almost everything, it didn't bother me much that it wasn't aimed at me.  I just took it as it is, a piece of fiction and a nice story.  By the way, I did manage to finish but it took me far longer than it normally would for a book of this size.
Wordsmith
marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I finally got the end of chapter one and now, the reading for me is much more fluid. Second chapter, though presents a very erotic scene - which I think is more than explicit, but very well described - is for me the key to understand the conflicts of Beth. Her insecurity makes her a real character, she's a bit of us and we are a bit of her. Beth's indecision in relation to Dave/Will, her unemployment, her constant questions about life, the voyage through her inner made her the most interesting character up to now.
Frequent Contributor
READERJANE
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎01-21-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

After reading many of the posts, I went back and re-read the first five chapters in a different light. I'm in my early 60's and I agree these characters are shallow. While the author gores to great detail to describe or set the scenes, she never hooks me into them. I re-read other parts of it and found that I stayed very detached from these people.

EbonyAngel wrote:

Spidermom wrote:

I'm sad to say that I'm giving up part way through the book and assuming that this book just isn't aimed at my demographic.  I'm 51 - a college professor in the humanities - and can't get past the petty interests and whining of the main characters. I don't find their issues compelling and don't much care about how the book unfolds.

 

As an academic, I thought I might relate to Beth.  But she seems unusually oblivious and lacking in insight, unlike the many successful academics I know who actually complete their Ph.D.s.  Moreover, it's wildly improbable that someone would pass each qualifying exam and write an entire disseratation without somebody noticing the missing credit, and bizarre that she would move to the new city without employment, fail to resolve whether or not the job will be held for her (not likely!) and take up with such a peculiar guy.  Yet even Beth's character isn't enough to make me want to keep reading about these self-centered, floundering people. 

 

Maybe the world has changed and I just can't identify with these characters or their predicaments. Perhaps a different piece by Ms. Rakoff might be more compelling to me. 


 

I know how you feel, I'm in my 50's also, but since I read almost everything, it didn't bother me much that it wasn't aimed at me.  I just took it as it is, a piece of fiction and a nice story.  By the way, I did manage to finish but it took me far longer than it normally would for a book of this size.

 

Wordsmith
marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

As an academic I have to relate how strange I felt when I read about the situation of Beth in her PhD. The true situation in most of academic PhD courses is that you can't qualify your dissertation before you have finished all of the credits. It's a demand of most of the PhD departments and courses. So, how could Beth have her dissertation qualified before she had finished the credits? Another thing that minds me and at the same time makes Beth very human is how insecure she is in relation to practically everything in her life, mainly about love. I don't think the emancipation, the high level course, the readings she has done all life have even changed her thoughts and may possibly put her to reflect about some childish attitudes she had taken.

Contributor
cindysloveofbooksarcCS
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎10-25-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Its nice to read that I wasn't the only one who was having a hard time at first with the book. Chapter one was the hardest. I wasn't sure when I was reading it if I would continue but I tread through and it got easier to get into. Looking foward to reading the next chapters.
New User
TJTJ
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-22-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I also had a very tough time getting into this book. I felt there were too many characters introduced too quickly - with nothing to make any one in particular memorable. It would have been nice if the first few chapters developed one or two specific characters more clearly before introducing so many blah others!
Reader 4
chris3177
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-01-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I completely agree... I had a tough time getting started also... in fact, I gave up on it all together.  But after reading some of the other posts, I'm thinking of picking it back up since after the first few chapters, it sounds like it gets better.
Inspired Contributor
drbjaded
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

You know I just realized from looking at the first question that Tuck didn't even wait a year to cheat on his wife.  It goes from his wedding to the party where Sadie sees Tuck and Caitlin coming out of the bedroom.  Such a loser this Tuck is.
"You cannot love life until you live the life you love."
Contributor
Jess_H
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎10-21-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I'm a little late to join the party... but I am anothe person who initially had a hard time getting into the book. After a few chapters it started to interest me a little more.

 

Beth was the character that stood out to me more in the opening chapters. She seemed so resigned to the fact of being second-best. Will originally seemed to be interested in Sadie, but when Sadie brushed him off and he turned his attentions to Beth she was willing to be the consolation prize.

 

I graduated from college in the 90's so these characters are about the same age as me. I saw bits of some people I know in the characters. I had the one friend in college who swore up & down she would never get married and have kids... and then a few short years out of college she was married and a mom.

gl
Distinguished Correspondent
gl
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I really enjoyed the way the novel began, too.  I had lived in the Upper East Side in the mid-2000s and felt the description of the neighborhood, of moving to NYC as a new graduate with limited funds, of finding an apartment and all of that were both hilarious and very accurate.
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