01-05-2009 05:59 PM
I also went back and re-read the first chapter after reading one or two others, and got a lot more out of it the second time. As for Beth and Will, I personally need a lot of fill-in information between their first--admittedly very interesting!--date and their engagement. I find it difficult to jump from the former to an acceptance of the latter with no supporting "stuff" in between.
That said, I am enjoying the book and find myself being drawn into each character's situation and wondering how it will turn out. Too bad Lil and Tuck couldn't have had at least a year of bliss before he showed himself to be a jerk (hehe!). Or will he redeem himself somehow and prove that Lil was wise to choose him after all? Ah, I must read on!
01-05-2009 06:06 PM
01-05-2009 06:16 PM
In many ways I feel that most of the characters in A Fortunate Age are very self centered. The whole world should revolve around me attitude. I wonder if Lil married Tuck just to say look at me I'm married.
Beth was certainly in a big hurry to go to bed with Will. I agree there is not a lot of information on the growth of their relationship. Bed to marriage?
Lil seems rather naive about the kind of person she is marrying.
01-05-2009 06:21 PM
01-05-2009 06:57 PM
I felt the same way I thought, what are you thinking? Hello, what year is this, I just didn't get it, why would she (Beth) let him (Will)get away with that.
I also found the book very slow for me, I just could not really get into it, don't know if I will finish it or not. I use to always finish a book if I started it, but life is to short to read a book you don't really like that much.
01-05-2009 07:00 PM
When I first began to read this book I thought I must have read the date wrong and I went back to check the time frame in which it was placed. In my recollection, by the late 90's women felt much more freedom, were much more empowered, much more liberated and independent and far more sophisticated than Sadie, Beth, Lil or Emily. Even the men seemed like teenagers to me. I was surprised, frankly, at their shallowness and foolish behavior. They seemed more like frivolous girls who had been sheltered and over protected and were therefore irresponsble rather than mature women.
My kids and their friends, who were of that era, were so much more adult, grounded and level headed with a firm purpose and sense of direction, when they were that age. As a rule they did not lack substance and were not flighty. I felt as if the author reached into the bottom of the barrel to pick out the four weakest young women she could find for the book. I figured maybe one would be kind of a misfit, but why do all of them seem so dysfunctional and why do all of them come from homes they dislike and parents they don't respect?
All of the characters seem to be lacking direction and self confidence. I am hoping that as the book progresses, they change into more likeable adults who behave responsibly. I wouldn't want these four women, or the men they chose, to be indicative of the future generations.
I know the locale in which the book takes place very well. Brooklyn was up and coming, Queens was a geographically undesirable location and neither had the panache of Manhattan. Scarsdale residents in general have a stereotype of being rich snobs. However, the people I know were not those stereotypes at all. The young adults I knew who grew up and/or settled in these neighborhoods, were not like the characters in this book. They were more stable and self confident
I agree that the sex scene was a bit much but it sure pointed out how foolhardy these girls were with their haphazard and irresponsible behavior patterns. They seemed to make choices about men with less concern than one uses for picking a head of lettuce! Character played a very small role in their choices and image seemed more important, overall. I am afraid I didn't like them. I hope they develop more fully and I change my mind.
01-05-2009 07:17 PM
When I first started reading A Fortunate Age, I did not think I was going to like it. Chapter one was the hardest for me to get thru and then the story started to pick up. I am now liking this book more and more.
I was very surprised with the sex scene between Beth and Will. It was totally unexpected.
I agree with you entirely. The note I wrote to myself for the first chapter was drags on - tedious. After Chapter one I started really getting into the book. The sex scene did surprise me also - it came out of the blue for me. I couldn't believe she took her shirt off because he told her to and then from there I kind of remained shocked. I don't think it was too much for the book, just quite different from how the book had been going. I can't wait to see if we find out how Will and Beth got to the point of being engaged to be married!
01-05-2009 07:57 PM
I also agree. It took me a couple of times to complete the first chapter, in fact I wasn't sure that I would complete the first chapter. As far as the sex scene, I just don't know. Is there more to come to further explain? Makes me wonder about the both Beth and Will. I am glad that the book became more enjoyable after the first chapter.
01-05-2009 07:57 PM
I agree with other readers that I had trouble with chapter 1. For someone unsavvy with the NYC references, I had trouble following some of the characters commentaries regarding where they lived and stereotypes of those areas. At the very beginning, I felt the author was trying too hard to impress us with all the culture and learning of the main characters. Some of the sentence constructs were too complicated. I reference one entire paragraph on page 3 that consists of only one sentence! HOWEVER, I became happily surprised as I read on. The author seemed to settle into a more comfortable style, and I really started to connect withthe characters and become invested in them.
Someone commented on the lack of self-confidence in these characters for the time setting of the novel. I am only a few years older than these characters and had spent a good chunk of my life in school by my early thirties. I agree that "real life" is such a hard thing to deal with idea when you have been immersed in a world where all that matters is education and your circle of friends.
I don't buy the sex scene though. I found myself most drawn to Beth as a character not unlike myself. As hurt and vunerable as she felt, I do think she would have questioned this a little more. I'm glad this was the only "scene" of this type.
01-05-2009 08:09 PM
I was intrigued by the paragraph in Chapter 1 discussing hyphenation of last names. Isn't it ironic that this generation of young women raised to think of ourselves in this feminist age as women who can "do it all," find ourselves in these very human situations where we are so torn between old-fashioned comfort situations and this need to show how independent we are? In a way, I think our age of educated women demonstrate our independence by saying, it's just a name and it really doesn't change who I am.
Along that same vein, I was disappointed that Lil wasn't the independent woman that she seemed to be at the outset. Her whole acceptance of Tuck's nastiness/immaturity when he was fired made me realize very early just how weak a person she really was. She seems to only exist as she relates to other characters, not capable of standing on her own. It's as if she sees glimpses of Tuck's true persona, but she doesn't want to face or admit that the "fantasy Tuck" she has created isn't real.
01-05-2009 08:13 PM
I found the sex scene not only overdone but uncomfortable at times, although it manages to clearly define Beth's character in a few simple pages. Those first chapters, including the one holding the sex scene, contain a lot of unnessacary decription in my opinion; however, as i have yet to finish the novel, this description my prove important later on.
As for moments I found most striking--I'm curious as to what others thought of the sex scene. Altough it did establish Beth as pliable and foolish (atleast for me), did anyone else find it a bit much?
01-05-2009 08:45 PM - edited 01-05-2009 08:53 PM
Tht first chaper was a bit hard to follow there seems to be too much fluff there. Perhaps there are too many characters to follow. Parts of the story seem to appear out of nowhere.
I agree with the sex scene with Beth and Will that it went from what I thought was going to be a rape (willing at first but not willing booze involved judgement) that turned out to be just kinky sex thate seemed to be utimatly rewarding for Beth. All of a sudden there is an enganement. I really did not see any development on the relationship between them to lead to this.
~ Joseph Addison ~
"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
01-05-2009 08:53 PM
I agree esp about missing out on how Beth gets engaged to a man who states on the first date, that he doesn't "do" obligations. Maybe this is something we will get to learn more about in subsequent chapters...but I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to see that happen ourselves.
In general, I find the style of the book a bit choppy -- we are given so much back-story and interpolation, the conversations don't really flow the way it does when old friends get together, at least so far.
I'm glad a few of you brought up this topic, because I feel the same
way. I find that the detail in this book is very inconsistent. The
author can spend pages and pages describing a very short period of time
and covering the most trivial things in excruciating detail, and then glosses
over major life events that inexplicably occur during chapter breaks. We learn about every alcoholic beverage, book, author, trend, movie, and other preference of each group member. We dwell on every minor thought that crosses each character's mind. We even learn about Sadie's mother insistence on slant-tipped tweezers over square-tipped ones. And yet the description of Beth's developing relationship with Will is so abbreviated that our jaws drop when we suddenly find that Beth is engaged.
What's up with that? Do we need to know the most irrelevant minutiae of daily life of the group members and then not be apprised of how Beth and Will's awkward start bloomed into engagement? After a while this writing inconsistency and emphasis on trivial detail has begun to irritate me. I'm a bit more than halfway through the book now, and finding it harder and harder to dive back in after putting the book down.
01-05-2009 08:56 PM
01-05-2009 08:57 PM
01-05-2009 09:02 PM
Parts of the early chapters are loaded with extreme details while missing criticle information in other areas. I guess that the James Patterson affect is in play here where a chapter is complete in just a page or two while getting the point across making to want to continue to keep turning the pages.
I am getting into the story more the as I get to know the charaters better but do not want to have to re-read chapters to see if I missed anything.
~ Joseph Addison ~
"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
01-05-2009 09:07 PM
I'm with everyone else who had trouble getting through the first chapter. I think that a lot of the references made (to art, literature, and New York) were a little above and beyond what the average reader wants when sitting down to relax with a novel and my initial thought was pretentious (both the characters and the author). After the first couple of pages I didn't think I would be able to finish the book but once I got through to the actual wedding the book became more enjoyable. The characters are pretty annoying and even after five chapters I don't feel a connection with them at all. These are not people that I would want to associate with. I will continue on and who knows maybe they'll grow on me?
01-05-2009 09:18 PM
01-05-2009 09:21 PM