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Inspired Contributor
sgregg88
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five


quinncx wrote:

ccshealy wrote:

I kind of saw Lil's wedding as marking the transition of "the group" into mature adulthood.  It seems like Lil's wedding too acts as a catalyst for the rest of the group members to begin making that same transition - Sadie & Tal, Beth & Will, etc.  It seems like they are changing from people who are just getting by to people who are setting goals for themselves, such as marriage and professional jobs.

 


I had a really hard time with this book; the more I read, the less I liked it and the less connection I felt to the characters.  I believe that Lil's wedding should have marked the transition to maturity, but none of these characters ever seem to actually mature.  This is my generation, and I would hate to think that any of my friends resembled these folks...


 

The decision to get married is often not a mature one for people, nor does it make them more mature - just makes them face a different reality...

 

Shelby

Inspired Contributor
sgregg88
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I find it interesting that there have been a number of comments,thoughts and judgements about what kind of girl Beth must be in Chapter 2 to go to a guys apartment and have kinky sex on the first date, but no one has commented on what kind of guy Will is to bring a girl home on the first date and have kinky sex...

 

Just a discussion point...

 

Shelby

Frequent Contributor
AIRKNITTER
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Alas, as much as I enjoy reading and really wanted to enjoy this book, the author through her story has made me feel as though I am of an "unforturnate age". Apparently, given that I associate w/the parents of these troubled young, and quite immature woman, this will be one of three books that I chose not to read past the first five chapters. Strange, I feel quite let down.
Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.
Frequent Contributor
Readingrat
Posts: 72
Registered: ‎09-26-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I'm just catching up to everyone here; I got a slow start after the holidays. :smileyhappy:  I really don't have much to say about these chapters because seem to be mainly introductory/background material.  Now that we know the cast of characters, I suspect the remaining chapters will start to fill in the story.  Frankly however, I am glad to hear that many of the other readers are having trouble relating to the lives of these characters.  I was thinking it was just me.  I also want to mention that I was also a little surprised the the author didn't fill in the Will/Beth romance a little more.  First he wasn't her calling after a one-night-stand of sorts and the next thing we know they are getting married.  That's a lot of ground to cover in the turn of a page.

Inspired Contributor
gmfuhlman
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

So far I agree with everyone that this is not a book that I would have bought.  It a book hard to follow and to read.  I will try my best to finish this book but I just can't get into it.  And I really love to read and all of the books that I have read in the First Look have been good.  Maybe when I finish it I might have a diffence take.
Inspired Correspondent
bookloverjb85
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎10-12-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five


nikkid wrote:

 

After completing chapter 5, I now find Lil and Tuck's wedding to be more interesting and filled with pertinent information.  In retrospect, it really did set the stage for the novel.  It seems as if Lil and Tuck's wedding was a new beginning for an old group of friends...if only I could bring myself to reread it! LOL

 

Message Edited by nikkid on 01-07-2009 04:51 AM

I suggest reading chapter 1 again to anyone who is thinking about it.  I did and I understand more of what happens in the book now.  You can see the connections from the wedding to everything else that is happening.  I wouldn't do it until then end though, because then you have all the information from their lives and where they were led.

--Jen--

"A house without books is like a room without windows."--Horace Mann
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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five


bethany1966 wrote:

I have wanted to like this book for about 7 chapters now.  I don't dislike it per say, but I find that I am plodding through it with no real interest in what happens from one page to the next.  I cannot connect with the characters on any level and it just seems to ramble on and on.  I really want to get excited about A Fortunate Age, but I just can't muster the enthusiasm.  Darn it!  I am fighting picking up a more enjoyable book every night! 

 

Are there others who are just getting through it and not really finding the enjoyment they had hoped for?

 

Beth


This is remarkable, I felt exactly the same at exactly the same point in the book. But it started to turn for me in Chapter 8 (I'll post my comments in the next thread) and now I'm interested! Try at least a couple more chapters.

Reader
beetledriver2
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

It took my a long time to get through the first chapter.  I was a little bored.  But, I am truly enjoying the book.  It reminds me of my life.  That point in your life when you maybe can't believe your adolescence is gone.  Becoming an adults and one that you never thought you would become.  Noticing how your way of thinking and beliefs have changed. 

 

I grew very attached to Beth during the beginning chapters.  The sex scene, I thought was a little wierd.  It seemed out of character for Beth and "Beth" herself, probably felt that way too.  What I also wondered is, the story explains Will is broken hearted, impotent and has no interest in love.  Then all of the sudden, months later, he's engaged to Beth.  How did that happened?  Maybe, later in the book, we'll find out....

 

The conflicts I see are Sadie and Tal's relationship, Lil's and Tucks, of course.  Also, everyone's future careers (will they all succeed in their dreams??).  I do sense that even though they are all still friends, they're growing apart from one another.  This is due to what I mentioned up above.  Everything has dramatically changed from the time of Lil's wedding to Lil's party in the 5th chapter.

 

[url=http://www.imhaven.com/][img]http://www.imhaven.com/forumsigs/kitty.jpg[/img][/url]
Inspired Contributor
gringorn
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎12-26-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I also found it hard to keep reading after the first couple of chapters.  I find the character development spotty and inconsistent.....the author really works up a character and then they just disappear only to resurface in later chapters in a totally different state of life.  This is particularly the case with Beth and Dave.  I really want to like these people, but all I can think so far is these are a bunch of people refusing to grow up and face reality.  I know others have said that people they know never grew up, and of course I know people like that too.  But honestly......out of a group of 6 college educated friends, not ONE of them is a fully functional adult????  I am really hoping the next group of chapters resolves some of this. 

 

When Ms Rakoff concentrates on a character, I do get interested in what she is telling us, but then.....poof!!.....that character is gone and I feel frustrated.   

Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I have to agree with another reader and say that the first chapter left me feeling as if I had been dropped into the middle of the novel and I was reading about characters and plot lines that I should already know, however while the structure is not the way I would have done it myself perhaps...these characters did begin to grow on me as I settled into the book.

 

Joanna Smith Rakoff's voice has taken me a little while to get used to, but I have enjoyed it.  These first five chapters have been a nice opportunity for me to get to know the characters.  The sex scene didn't bother me, nor did the quick wedding.  It was all part of the story and I chose to accept it for face value, so to speak and wait to see what it will bring to the rest of the story.

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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jabrkeKB
Posts: 164
Registered: ‎11-15-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I feel that Lil's wedding made her friends examine their own lives and try to figure out what direction they show be headed.  It seemed like it was a "wake up call" for some of them.

 

The striking moments for me were Beth and Will's "encounter" in chap. 2 and then learning that they are getting married. How did they get from point A to point B?

 

I was also surprised by the change in Tuck after he gets married.

 

I agree with other readers that this is a hard book to enjoy.  I have really enjoyed the other First Look books, but this one I am struggling with.  I don't feel connected to any of the characters.

Inspired Correspondent
libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I am late getting in on the discussion of Chapters 1-5...but I am catching up on the posts as well as the chapters!  At the risk of sounding redundant, I too had a very hard time with Chapter 1.  In an earlier post, someone suggested reading the chapter over to get a better understanding.  I think I will do that.  I will admit that the book has picked up and I no longer feel that I have to push myself to get through each chapter anymore.  Another area that I am struggling with is the Beth/Will relationship thing.  I feel that Beth is very confused about what it is she really wants from life and may be trying to hang onto the past for a little bit longer. 
"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Contributor
colibrarian
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I, too, am only a few years younger than the characters and I was anxious to get started with this novel thinking it would take me back to my own college years.  I have yet to find a connection, though. Maybe my college and post-grad experiences were completely different.

 

I have to admit there are many passages in the first five chapters that had me rolling my eyes but I am eager to keep reading.

Distinguished Correspondent
Lil_Irish_Lass
Posts: 163
Registered: ‎11-21-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Like many of you, I am finding it hard to hit a reading stride with this book. The sentence structures are almost as awkward as the characters; but each chapter gets a little bit better so hopefully the trend continues through the rest of the novel.

I saw Beth and Will's sex scene as a great way to show the "real Beth". Sure it seemed out of character for a girl like her to go home with a guy she just met and then to go along with letting him touch her. But Beth is so unsure and awkward that her acceptance of the situation (even while in her head she was saying she needed to leave) is exactly why she let Will do what he wanted with her. She couldn't say no even if she wanted to just as she couldn't say yes either. While she did get naked she also did not participate, she allowed Will to use her body... in some sense Beth is just like a rag doll - she lets those around her drag her where they go, arrange her as they want, and while she hates it she never stands up for herself because she can't.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman." - The Woman in White
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EJD0626
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-13-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I really enjoyed chapters 1 through 5 but a few things stood out. I really feel for Lil--I think that Tuck may be the first man she loved & trusted and he's turning out to be such an **bleep** loser. I hope she wises up & leaves him soon.

 

I also was so conflicted about Beth. I felt so bad for her--I could tell that she really felt on the outs w/ her group & not at all over Dave & that is probably why she let Will do the things she let him do in that first encounter. However, I wish that the reader was given more of an idea of how her relationship w/ him progressed. One minute he's a married mess who is impotent & not calling her & the next they are engaged. I hope that their relationship is explored in more detail in the book.

Correspondent
detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five


Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:
[Beth] couldn't say no even if she wanted to just as she couldn't say yes either.

Great point. She doesn't realize that not making a decision results in a decision anyway ... one made by someone else. Some people waffle all their lives, but isn't indecision especially common in early adulthood -- a reluctance to rule out life possibilities?

Frequent Contributor
Aunt_Beth_64
Posts: 261
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five


lizabet1196 wrote:
The first chapter for me was really hard to get through.  After that it was alot easier. There seemed to be some jealousy at Lil getting married.  Maybe some uncertainity to some about how this would affect their relationships with her.

  I agree that there seemed to be some jealousy over Lil getting married. As I read the first chapter I drew parallels to my life and the first friend in my group to get married. In our case it wasn't as much jealousy, but more uncertainty. Her marriage signaled that all of our lives were changing. We were adults and had 'grown-up' responsibilites.  I don't think that I am much older than the characters in this book. I'd like to think that the wedding marked a similar milestone in their lives. 

Contributor
CDover1978
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I have to agree, this isn't the type of book that I would normally go for, but after I was able to identify the character and their own mind-boggling problems, it make the book flow a little easier... It has times when it becomes too wordy and I loose the whole point of the sentence or paragraph and find myself re-reading it just to keep the flow.
Courtney
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five


jeandew wrote:

From the start, I felt as if I were in the 60's (my generation coming of age!).  The biggest surprise was Lil getting married- even enjoying the event!  It brings out a host of differing feelings.  I sense regret in some and jealousy in others.  The mothers are an annoyance.


I felt the same way I wonder if everyone is reading this and relating it their coming of age as opposed to a particular Age in Time?  Jo

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

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.
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