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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Discuss the developments of the final three chapters. What did you make of Lil's decline and death? How does Chapter Fifteen parallel Chapter One?

 

Are any of the other main characters headed in directions that surprised you? What do you think will be the fate of "the group," as a unit, in the future?

 

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colibrarian
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I found these final chapters to be a bit anticlimactic although after reading the discussion question I caught the parallel to chapter one. The fact that the book started with the group gathering for Lil's wedding and ended with the group gathering again for her funeral went right by me initially.

 

Lil's death surprised me only in that she died from pneumonia and not suicide because I had wondered if that was where her character was heading. Lil was not one of my favorites - she seemed snide and jealous, not someone I would necessarily want to call a close friend. Because we never knew what happened to her after she left the hospital it was hard for me to feel anything when she died.

 

In the end I still have many unanswered questions: how did Will and Beth's relationship progress, why does Caitlin's character do such a 360, why does the group lose touch with one another so easily, was Sadie about to leave Ed, was she thinking about rekindling something with Tal?

 

I'm eager to see everyone's thoughts!

 

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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


KxBurns wrote:

Discuss the developments of the final three chapters. What did you make of Lil's decline and death? How does Chapter Fifteen parallel Chapter One?

 

Are any of the other main characters headed in directions that surprised you? What do you think will be the fate of "the group," as a unit, in the future?

 


Lil's death surprised me, but I liked the idea that the story started with a wedding and ended with a funeral.  I liked how they all came back together for both events and that nothing had really changed since school.  I found that to be a true depiction of what happens after school ends and work begins, for the most part.  

 

I was surprised that Tal chose the path he did, although I think the path was really chosen for him (fate).  Other than that, the characters seemed to just be living life.  

 

As to the fate of the group, I think they will continue to be friends and will drift into and out of each other's lives.   The women will continue to get together with their children for birthday parties and such, but I don't believe they will ever be as close as they were in school.  I think that is just the way relationships ebb and flow. 

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Guerneymember12
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-21-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Of course its a great parallel, as we started with the "group" gathered together for Lil and Tuck's wedding and we end with most of the "group" gathered together for Lil's funeral.  But other than the parallel I can't help but noting again that during these end chapters I felt as though I was being rushed through the book.  Yeah Yeah Lil got the cold or a flu she didn't have insurance, oh yeah and her and Tuck split up and he's successful now, and she died.  Didn't this deserve a chapter to wrap things up like the beginning chapter opened things up.  I thing that would have made a better parallel.  (I mean including details of that, not taking out the ride to the funeral or anything that was there)

 

 

Where will the roup go from here?  Again just like they ignored Emily during her time of crisis, and by ignored I mean not checking in andd being a friend enough to notice that she needed them, they did the same thing to Lil.  I don't know if I would even call them friends. 

 

Aquaintances who were once friends but were driven apart by their own lives.

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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I slogged through chapter thirteen yesterday.  Emily is now married and applying to med school.  I felt that was out of the blue and not very well explained or justified - therefore not very believable.

Dr. Josh was insisting that Clara get inpatient treatment but then settled on having her live upstairs and get some out patient treatment.  That's a big change - and makes me wonder if all of his concern (and perhaps even all of Clara's sickness) were overstated so that he could get to know Emily....I hope not because that would be terrible.  

No mention of Clara here - is she ok now?  

One thing I don't like about all of these large jumps in time and changes in character perspectives is that nothing seems to get resolved...and if it does - the resolution is just reported in narrative - never shown in a scene.

Running into Tuck at the hospital was convenient - he probably would never have called any of Lil's friends - not because he's a loser but because he's an **bleep**.

I hope Lil can get well and divorce him - let him fend for himself.  But I have accidently read some of the other threads and know that isn't going to happen.

 

Overall - I have to agree with many of the other comments here about the characters.  Perhaps trying to deal with so many characters, without pulling out a primary character and then trying to cover too much time is the reason why this isn't working as well as it could.  I think there is lots of potential with these characters - I just don't like all of the summarization and would rather see them work to resolution in a scene.

 

More later.

Susan 

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quinncx
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎07-21-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Yeah I too thought the ending was rushed despite my belief that the book is way too long.  My constant feeling while reading was that we were missing too much- to many decisions and actions without any explanations.  I think that helped contribute to my feelings of separation from the characters.  I couldn't even summon up any sympathy for Lil when she died, and can't see how these people can be considered a group of "friends" given how they act toward one another.
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BDonnelly
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎04-22-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

My preference is to discuss a book when you've read the whole thing and so I've read alot of the posts but not responded unless I felt I really had something to say.  I always feel you can't judge where an author is going until you see where he or she comes out in the end.  With that said - YUCK!!  What an ending or non-ending.  I appreciate the parallel between the wedding and the funeral but there was no resolution for most of the characters except Tal (who seemed to be a minor character anyway having spent most of the book acting and in Isreal).  I would have liked a real ending where we find out about each character.  I feel I was left hanging.
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lonelyfilly
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎09-17-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


quinncx wrote:
Yeah I too thought the ending was rushed despite my belief that the book is way too long.  My constant feeling while reading was that we were missing too much- to many decisions and actions without any explanations.  I think that helped contribute to my feelings of separation from the characters.  I couldn't even summon up any sympathy for Lil when she died, and can't see how these people can be considered a group of "friends" given how they act toward one another.

I could not have said this better myself!  I was so disappointed with the ending of this book.  And Sadie was way too self-absorbed at the funeral they held for Lil, going on and on in her mind about her breasts.  I just really had a hard time feeling anything but contempt for most of these characters.

Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway.
-John Wayne
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chris227
Posts: 111
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

These last few chapters held much of the same for me as the rest of the book - too much time going by between chapters, too much information about stthings that seemed unimportant and not enough info about the important things.  Usually I like open ended books because it allows the reader to imagine endless possibilities for the characters but this whole book seemed like it was open-ended.  There are so many loose ends throughout the book that the book just seems too fragmented to me.  The wedding and the funeral were the only points in the book where the entire group was together.  I think that the relationships between the members of the group will continue to disintegrate and they will continue to only get together for major life events such as weddings and funerals.

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biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

My first reaction when reading chapter 15 and finding out that Lil is dead in the first paragraph was: "here we go again". Where did this come from? I was not expecting a death but I jumped to the conclusion that she committed suicide. I did not expect death from the flu it happens but not often somebody of Lil's age which makes it a bit unbelievable in my book. At least we got a explanation this time. There still were many gaps that were not resolved.

 

Over all I found the book choppy and the story line not connected. I agree with others with there being to many charactors and none developed into a main one leaving me with detached feeling towards any of them. The group was more group of self centered individuals that happend to know each other but were not really there for each other when it was needed the most.

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

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
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mgorbatjuk
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I didn't understand what happened to Tal in Israel. I think I must have missed something.
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GSB65
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎12-06-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Chapter 15 parallels Chapter 1 in that the group had joined together because of a major life event surrounding Lil.  The first was for her wedding and the second was for her funeral.  It was interesting to see that this is really when the entire group is together.

 

I think for the future they will always be a part of each others lives, but not in the way they were in college.  As they all move into different areas of their lives they will have less and less in common.  Their similar college experience brought them all together, but now that that part of their lives is over they don't have quite the same connection.  As most college friends do they may continue to get together for the big events, but have much less daily contact.

 

I don't think I was totally surprised by Lil's death other than I thought it may have been suicide because while I expected her to be the strong independent one at the beginning of the book, I realized how weak she was as the book went on.

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jclay26
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

After finishing this book, I have to say that I really did not like it and that is rare for me. There were so many details missing and so many details that were unnecessary throughout. I am very frustrated with the ending. It seems that everyone is miserable. I did not like any of the characters in the end. I had no sympathy for any of them. Now I have to wonder if that is the point. I cannot believe that Sadie doesn't say something to Caitlin when she takes Ed's spot in the car or that she showed up at the memorial service. The supposedly strong independent characters end up being very dependent and living lives with no purpose except maybe Tal but we won't really find out about that.

 

All the women became dependent on men that they settled for and do not seem happy with. They are often left alone and yet they don't turn to each other for support. It all just didn't make sense to me. 

 

I cannot imagine that this "group" will continue. I don't even know why we would consider them a group because they are so superficial, so judgemental of each other, and they don't seem to really know anything about each other. This is especially evident with their perceptions of each others parents. 

 

Maybe this is the point of the whole book. I don't know. I believe the book could have been shorter and better understood if important events were not just mentioned in passing and irrelevant events were not drawn out in extreme detail. I found myself frustrated over and over again reading this book and being left hanging without answers to so many of what I thought were important events in these characters' lives.

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
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jclay26
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


mgorbatjuk wrote:
I didn't understand what happened to Tal in Israel. I think I must have missed something.

I am so with you on this! I was totally lost! Anyone want to enlighten us on what happened to him? Also, why would Sadie be so upset about his change???

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
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Jennie77
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎10-09-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


colibrarian wrote:

 

Lil's death surprised me only in that she died from pneumonia and not suicide because I had wondered if that was where her character was heading. Lil was not one of my favorites - she seemed snide and jealous, not someone I would necessarily want to call a close friend. Because we never knew what happened to her after she left the hospital it was hard for me to feel anything when she died.

 

 


Colibrarian,

 

I agree with you.  I wasn't surprised necessarily that Lil died, it was the manner in which she died that surprised me.  After the hospital episode, I incorrectly assumed that she never got over the last miscarriage and eventually committed suicide, which was much to her friends' surprise...since no one ever seems to know what is really going on in their friends' lives (in this book). 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Starting with Lil's wedding and ending with her funeral was a definite throw back to McCarthy's "The Group" However, I found the ending very unsatisifying. Why did Lil die Did she fail to take care of herself. Did she have more mental problems? You get the drift. The simple statement that she died wasn't particularly dramatic. It was more like here we go again. We don't know anything about her between the time she's admitted for psychiatric treatment. (We don't know a great deal about that either.) and her death. I have to admit skimming the inteveening chapters thinking I missed something. 

 

How do I sum up this book? The concept was great. However, the characters didn't support the idea. Other readers have objected to the jumping around in time. I have to agree. I know Karen and a few others are entranced with the use of time, but frankly I think the book suffers because of the time lapses. Things, important things, happen to the charaters when they're off stage and we're left saying "Huh? How did that happen?" Maybe we have all become too used to the story arc and the importance of a main character changing, for good or ill, but somehow even that being said, this book leaves me unsatisified. I very much wanted to like it. I thought the premise was terrific, but the time skips left me feeling cheated. 

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floreader
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎09-15-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I liked that the book ended with a funeral.  Since the book started with a wedding, it all came full circle with the friends coming together at the end for Lil's funeral.  I think most of the characters evolved during the book on a traditional path of getting married, having children, etc.  Each of the characters matured as a result of getting older and getting married.  Little by little they each drifted a little away as the result of being married, different careers, and maturing.  I think that the group, as a unit, will probably continue to drift away from each other a little due to the normal process of marriage, children, and career pulling people in different directions.
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jabrkeKB
Posts: 164
Registered: ‎11-15-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I wasn't  surprised by Lil's death.  I felt like something was going to happen to her.

 

Chapter One has all the friends meet for the wedding and chapter fifteen has them meet for the funeral--I guess that is the parallel.

 

This story did not play out the way I expected it to.  The women seemed to be very dependent on the men in their lives.  The men were self absorbed and complainers.

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ilenekm
Posts: 71
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I did like the framing that occured in the book with the wedding at the beginning and the funeral at the end.  I do, however, think that there were too many questions left unanswered in the book and that was dissatisfying for me.  I wish that I knew more about what happened to Lil between the time when she was having marital problems until her death. I think that Tal reappearing religious was an interesting turn but you really didnt know a lot about him from earlier in the book to know whether this was surprising.  All in all, I did enjoy the book. I just wish that there were more development of the characters later in the book
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aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I agree with many of the readers who were not surprised so much by Lil's death but the way she died. I too, thought it was a suicide, not the flu. This was very shocking.

After much thought, I realized I could relate to the nature of this groups' friendships. I have friends I was friends with in high school, but over the years everyone moved on going to college, getting married, having kids. We went from talking all the time, to every few weeks, to once a month. It's been twelve years now, and though we still love each other and want the best for each other, everyone has their own lives and busy schedules. We, like the characters in this book, keep each other up to date on the big picture of our lives not so much on the minutiae of every day life. We see each other on holidays, weddings, babies being born, etc. We know we're there for each other if we're needed, but don't necessarily feel the need to communicate on the small things.

April
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