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Contributor
quinncx
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎07-21-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five


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...

Inspired Correspondent
mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I have several comments and notations in my book regarding these chapters.

The generation is obvious when Lil introduced Tuck as "her friend" and then eventually it was common knowledge this was her boyfriend. I found the humor in that because I have kids this age and they refer to it as "friend" or "friends with benefits."

I found it interesting that Beth saw the ring as a signal of a claim of "somebody's chattel, some man's prize." In addition, she saw the "gaudy" ring as a symbol of "somebody you're not" and Lil agreed. It gave her a sense of impowerment by just putting it on.

Absolutely loved the toast that Tal gave to Lil and Tuck about Tuck now being the lucky person to hear Lil's voice at 3am. Very touching moment.

In Chapter 2 was amused by Beth's idea that although she wasn't sure about Will yet when he asked her to come for a nightcap she figures "She wasn't necessarily enjoying herself, but she wasn't yet ready to give up on the possibility of enjoying herself."

And also during the sex scene I found it spoke volumes when during the time his hand cupped her nipple she described it as a "father's hand".  She couldn't get that thought out of her mind yet she still went along with him I think because of her self esteem issues and the fact that Dave dumped her.

Anxious to learn more about Emily and what the heck does she actually do?......

Really enjoyed when Beth made the silly to do list so that she could put off calling ail Bronfrman--------gosh I've been there as a procrastinator..........

I agree with posts on here that Lil and Tuck didn't really know each other when they got married and I'm wondering if that cycle could repeat itself with Beth and Will at some point.

 

New User
bonne_g4
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-29-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I found the first 2 chapters very difficult to finish.  I have enjoyed all subsequent chapters.  I think the first 2 obviously have some significance for the remainder of the book and perhaps we will understand the purpose of beginning the story with a wedding and a very weird sex scene. 

 

The characters are immature but interesting.  I find Caitlin weird but I enjoyed reading about her background.

 

I think we are reading about a bunch of condescending kids who think they are more intellectual than the general population.  However, reality is setting in --bills, mortgage, cheating, etc.

Frequent Contributor
Eckwell
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I have read the first three chapters of this book.  I have not enjoyed it thus far.  There has not been enough development in the characters to keep me reading.  I cringed while reading the sex scene with Beth, wondering how this young woman can allow herself to be blindfolded and gagged by a man who does not appear  to be emotionally stable, and now we have to deal with the problems of Lil's husband.  I hope that the book improves.
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katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Just a couple of thoughts stemming from my own reading and the posts that have appeared here so far.

 

These characters don't strike me as immature at all. They have been in college/grad school and are only now having to cope with "real" life.  Marriage does not confer sudden maturity on anyone, I'm afraid. I've been married happily with children for ages now, but I can remember some of the silly things I thought during our first 5 years or so. I think this book is capturing its characters right after their preparation for life has ended and as they are feeling their ways toward building the lives they think they want. As all of us must do, they will need to reassess and discard mistaken ideas along the way. 

 

That said, I agree that the prose is overly wordy and detailed. Sometimes less is more, but I'm waiting to finish the second half before deciding on its merits.

No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
Contributor
olivialove
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Like a lot of others, I also found the first chapter difficult to get through.  It took way to long just to get past 10 pages.  But after that the book really drew me in and got me hooked. 

 

I like how the character/perspective is changed with each chapter, and each character is described by other characters in the book, so you are getting all of these outside perceptions of these people.  I think it would be a different book entirely if they described themselves, since nobody sees themselves as they really are...

 

I am curious to see if anything will transpire between Lil and Ed, because she seems to be drawn to him.

 

It is also interesting how they are all supposed to be best friends, yet they keep so much from each other.  Why?   Why doesn't Lil open up more about Tuck and their problems, why doesn't Beth open up more about Will or Dave?  Even Sadie and Tal, after they've begun a relationship and after knowning each other for so long, they still don't just... i don't know.. let their guards down.  Something was clearly bothering Tal at the end of chapter 5, and she clearly noticed.  Why did niether say anything about it?

 

The sex scene...was unexpected, but I think it was important in that it showed Beth as unsure, insecure, and eager to please.  

Distinguished Correspondent
biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five


bonne_g4 wrote:

I found the first 2 chapters very difficult to finish.  I have enjoyed all subsequent chapters.  I think the first 2 obviously have some significance for the remainder of the book and perhaps we will understand the purpose of beginning the story with a wedding and a very weird sex scene. 

 

The characters are immature but interesting.  I find Caitlin weird but I enjoyed reading about her background.

 

I think we are reading about a bunch of condescending kids who think they are more intellectual than the general population.  However, reality is setting in --bills, mortgage, cheating, etc.


I agree that the first two chapters are hard to get through. I find that I am getting more interested in the later chapters. To me there is alot of information and character introductions along with the choppy timeline that make the begining of the book a slow read. I have read through chapter five so far and will read chapters 6-9 this weekend.

 

This is a very different type of book than the thrillers/mysteries that I usually read. I am enjoying this opportunity.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
Contributor
LibraryGirlReads
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Although I get the feeling that we are supposed to understand that the friends were close in college, they really do not seem to have strong relationships when we first meet them at Lil's wedding.  They seem to be a bit out of touch with each other, only brought together by the unexpected wedding.

 

Lil's wedding seems to be a major shift in the friends' lives signifying their increasing journey into adulthood.  Each person in attendence seems to have their own agenda and their is tension between the mothers and daughters.

 

The sex scene between Beth and Will bothered me quite a bit.  Seriously, who just takes off their blouse because some guy that she met twice told her to?  It was hard for me to understand why she would simply listen to his instructions and go along with that on their first date.  I was even more disturbed that she stayed with him after being so obviously upset with the situation.  Then to hear that they are engaged without understanding how their relationship developed past that situation was also unnerving.

 

I found some of the writing to be a bit choppy.  As an example, when the friends are sitting in the cafe and then Lil is remembering the day that Tuck lost his job.  The memory/flashback was so long that I got caught up in it and then felt wrenched back to the cafe scene, which I'd completely forgotten about.  The transitions between current scenes and the flashbacks were sometimes hard to follow when the flashback was too long or seemed to go too far off topic.

 

So far the book reminds me a bit of the Morningside Heights books by Cheryl Mendelson.

Contributor
boo27
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-27-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I am enjoying the book so far, that could be because this is my generation, but there are several things that are interesting to me here.  I find it ironic that Lil is spouting off about how marriage is an "outmoded institution" and then here she is, the first of her friends to get married.  And I also questioned how sure of her decision to get married she was, since it came as such a big shock to all her friends.  I think that if she was more secure in her decision, she probably would have been more open about it.  I get the impression that Sadie is sort of the center of all the friends' social circle, sort of the leader everyone looks to.  That could change later, I supposed, but that is just the impression I am getting right now. And she clearly doesn't approve of Tuck, in fact Emily goes so far to say that Sadie "hates him", but we don't find out why.  I am interested in that.  Is there more of a story there?  Or does she just not think that he's good enough for Lil?  Beth drove me nuts.  I get the feeling that she doesn't quite know who she is yet and is on a constant search for approval.  She has a hard time making decisions and that drove me crazy.  I wanted her to get a handle on her life already!  That being said, I do think that Beth is a genuine character, it reminds me of several friends that I had who took a long time getting things figured out.  However Beth's lack of good judgement horrified me.  How did she know that Will wasn't some sort of wackjob?  Just because he knew Tuck (who Beth barely knew herself) wasn't enough of a good character reference for her to make an informed decision.  Then when Beth was discussing Will and his past with Emily in the coffee shop it occured to me that maybe that was something Beth should have found out from Will, instead of second or even thirdhand from mutal friends.  I was dismayed to see Lil and Tuck having problems already.  It looks to me like Lil is slowly losing herself in her marriage and is practicing "peace at any price".  Tuck is immature, nothing is ever his fault, he is always the victim, extremely self-absorbed and doesn't seem to care much about Lil.  Lil's marriage isn't a partnership, she spends all her time and energy trying to make sure that Tuck is happy, meanwhile he doesn't seem to care about her well-being in the least.  I am interested in finding out more about these characters and see if Tuck can grow up or Lil will kick him to the curb, and how Beth and Will went from first date to engaged.  That was a big jump and I didn't like that.  I was emotionally invested in Beth and now I don't know how her and Will's relationship developed.

Frequent Contributor
Jennd1
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Hi,

 

I got the impression we were given and overview of the group in the opening chapter and I think the wedding and the group are symbolic of  a few things.  You have that first friend to move into adulthood thing going which usually bring fear of change and jelousy with it.  Then you have ther crazy sex thing going on which does not leave a good impression and you also see the women as girls getting together one last time for a big dance of sorts.

Contributor
Hillabeans69
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎10-02-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Opening with the wedding I found was a bit odd and it was a bit difficult to be hit with all the characters at once.  Found the first few chapters a bit slow and hard to figure out the group dynamics. 

 

Thought that the wedding showed how shot gun weddings change change more than just a person's dynamics, but an entire groups depending how how the marriage functions.

Hill-a-beans
Contributor
sam608
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I have read Circle of Friends, and you're right, it is similar somewhat.  And I loved Tara Road, actually, I loved all of Mauve Binchy's books, she's one of my favorite authors too.
Contributor
MaggieL54
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-23-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I am struggling with this one as well.  I was unsure if it is my age or my perspective on these people.  I don't like them very much and so I don't really care what happens to them.  Maybe I will do better after I slog through chapter 2. 
Contributor
sam608
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

This is a strange book to me, maybe because of what has been mentioned already, all the local descriptions that mean nothing to me.  And some of it is just boring to me.  The party that Lil throws for Tuck as a celebration seemed to go on forever....with strange conversations and almost babbling.  The only thing I got out of that scene was that Sadie's mother reads everything....maybe cause thats something I can relate to. 

 

The long conversation between Caitlin and Sadie frustrated me.  It seemed they jumped around too much, and Sadie had her day planned, didn't want to stay long, yet she did and it seemed so unpleasant.  I don't know, it seem like such a waste of time and then Sadie didn't do anything what she had just learned, like go and tell her friend Lil that her husband and friend are fooling around.

 

I'm in chapter 7 now, so I guess I better move on to the next discussion, but I have to say, sometimes I'm enjoying this book, and sometimes, I'm not....and right now, I'm not as much.

Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I think that the sex scene is indicative of the sixties.  Free Love(Sex) and anything goes. Now as the group reunites, they all want it to be the same, yet also want the best for eachother.  Maybe they wanted to believe that nothing had changed in thier lives and also knew that it had.

 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
Frequent Contributor
maryfrancesa
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I agree with what you wrote about the charcaters are seem to distance themselves from each other.  I wo9nder now how close they really were or connected in some way to each other by Lil or another character but not all that close.  I wonder hwat kind of relatiobnships were with the two guys Dave and Tal.

The first chapters  seem to show that the characters at least the females are becoming closer or at least talking more with each other but are they really sharing their lives, hopes and dreams

Wordsmith
maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters One through Five

Chapter one, the wedding, a great way to introduce all the main characters in the book. Chapter two, Beth and Will, what was she thinking. Yvonne
Frequent Contributor
Bedelia
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎10-20-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five

According to the author's letter included with the book, she wanted to write about her generation during economic and political change, but her generation impressed me as being about the same as all the generations in the past.  Except I think her generation is much less committed to any real ideals.  They were all very superficial and wishy-washy, easily changing themselves to fit the wind blowing at the time.

 Her writing is not to my taste either.  She starts a thought and then goes off on a long tangient of different thoughts (sometimes in a long drawn-out sentence) much like the mind of a person unable to focus.  The directions and descriptions of the various communities are confusing and not neccessary.

New User
booksandletters
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-08-2008
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I also went back to re-read chapter 1 and got a lot more out of it the second time.  Still, in t his first chapter it seems like too many people and too many situations are being introduced without much of a "base" description or background.  That said, as I continue to read the book the 'blanks' are 'filled-in' as I go along.

 

The book is keeping me very interested.  But as most have said already, the characters seem somewhat in perpetual adolescence.  Most probably due to their sheltered lives and family dynamics.

 

The one piece that seemed a little unreal to me was Beth's reaction to Will durint that first date.  I also would like to get more info on what happened between this first date and their engagement.

Correspondent
m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Chapters One through Five

I am plodding through the first five chapters - just finished up with ch 4 last night.

 

Chapter 3:  I think this is the best chapter sofar.  I liked the way that we (and Beth) got some information about this Will characte via conversation with Emily.  Will sounds like a guy to avoid if you ask me - but then if that is what Beth did - there might not be a story.

The call Beth makes to the woman about the job makes her sound like a blubbering idiot.  And perhaps she isn't the brightest -- I know she's nervous - but I would have prepared and practiced the call because of it's importance.  Maybe she belongs as an adjunct - not everyone can be the top dog.  My advice to Beth is to suck it up, get your research done, finish up that degree and get a job and a life. Have a backbone.

At the end of chapter three I found Beth to be quite annoying and I am not so sure I want to spend 400 pages with her...

 

Chapter 4:  I would think I would like a scene with the four women sitting around talking...but here's the thing about this scene - perspective hopping (aka head hopping) is done far too abruptly and frequently.  Perspective jumps between Beth and Lil - and although I am interested to learn more about Lil - I found that I lost the other two (Sadie and Emily) in all of the flashbacks.  It was as if they weren't even there.

Beth makes lots of comments - "Will said" - and I have friends that have gotten all involved in their boyfriends and their lives that they seem to lose themselves and guess that is what is happening with Beth.  She's weak....and perhaps the story will show us how she grows and becomes stronger and develops some self esteem.

Perspective dips into Sadie - for a sentence and then jumps back out to Lil - smoothing out the transitions between the perspectives would make this easier and more enjoyable to read.  But then also smoothing out the transitions between the present and the flashbacks would also improve the text.

I liked the dot com conversation - having lived in the Bay area from 95-02 and working in technology - it was entertaining to hear non-techies's view of what was happening out there in the 90s.

Tuck - might be an ass.  He definitely is showing a different side of himself post-termination.  I guess dating for a significant period of time and getting to know the other person well isn't a bad thing to do before your get married - duh.

 

That's it for now....onto chapter five.

 

Susan