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detailmuse
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


dhaupt wrote:

I was terribly saddened by Lil's decline, but it mirrors what is going on in this country for those who cannot afford health insurance.  [...] I still think she would have gotten medical attention if it had been more available to her. 


I missed all that, and am fuzzy on the details of the individual characters now, but do we know medical attention wasn't available to her? I have such a different overall impression of Lil/Tuck: laziness (they didn't take care of themselves) and pride (they didn't reach out for help). Rather than victims, I saw them unwilling to make the tough choices of adulthood. In retrospect, I saw Lil's decline as mostly poor self-care, not pathology.

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maude40
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I can see how the first chapter links to the last but it seemed that everything ended so abruptly. I especially didn't like the breast milk situation with Sadie. It seemed out of place in an  ending to a long book.  Yvonne
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booksJT
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Chapter 15 parallel with chaper 1 was excellent, you have a group of friends who come together to help celebrate a friend getting married. In the end the same friends come together to mourn the losing of friend. This is a complete circle of life. They were there in the beginning and they return for her untimely death. The group as whole was selfish. I think in the future they will all go there separate ways never to hear from each other again. But maybe they might bump into each other by chance. Tal seems to be  missing in action. What happens to him? 
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nikkid
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I was really looking forward to finishing the book and getting some of my questions anwered but after completing the final chapters I am even more confused!

 

I had so many questions concerning the characters and their lives but most of them were left unanswered. 

 

What happed to Lil? Yes, she died but from what?  And how tragic to say that she was better of as a single person?  I personally believe that when you are with the right parter they help you to become a better person.

 

What is the deal with Tal?  His character remained such a mystery throughout the novel but even in the end I was wanting to learn more about his character.  I felt that the scene with Tal, Tuck and Sadie in the car was such a tease!  I wanted to know what his big secret was that Tuck was trying to ask him...and why did Sadie keep interupting them?  I don't get it. 

 

Concering the fate of the group, I don't think that anything is going to change.  They will continue living seperate lives and meet up again when another wedding or funeral comes along.

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kiakar
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Yes, JT. Yes, I like the way you summed the book up. Very Accurate!

This is just one of life stories, you go to school, you work, you get married, you work, have kids and then you die. Hopely not until you are ancient but still that is life. I liked this story of friends from College on into their lives.

 

 

 


booksJT wrote:
Chapter 15 parallel with chaper 1 was excellent, you have a group of friends who come together to help celebrate a friend getting married. In the end the same friends come together to mourn the losing of friend. This is a complete circle of life. They were there in the beginning and they return for her untimely death. The group as whole was selfish. I think in the future they will all go there separate ways never to hear from each other again. But maybe they might bump into each other by chance. Tal seems to be  missing in action. What happens to him? 

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


detailmuse wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

I was terribly saddened by Lil's decline, but it mirrors what is going on in this country for those who cannot afford health insurance.  [...] I still think she would have gotten medical attention if it had been more available to her. 


I missed all that, and am fuzzy on the details of the individual characters now, but do we know medical attention wasn't available to her? I have such a different overall impression of Lil/Tuck: laziness (they didn't take care of themselves) and pride (they didn't reach out for help). Rather than victims, I saw them unwilling to make the tough choices of adulthood. In retrospect, I saw Lil's decline as mostly poor self-care, not pathology.


You're so right about them not taking care of themselves, but when I think of myself at that age I thought I was indestructible and if I thought I had the flu or any other type of virus I would have to be pretty sick to see a doctor.
But in response to your reply, on page 375 when Emily was telling Sadie about Lil's death Emily tells her that Lil had asked for a recommendation of a doctor because she wasn't feeling well and that Emily gave her some choices of doctors who charged on a sliding scale for people who didn't have insurance, but in the end Lil asked a neighbor of hers who was a doctor and that doctor told her not to worry about it, that it was just the flu and she didn't need antibiotics just rest and vitamin C and echinacea. And that when Lil started having trouble breathing she got scared and  that's when she called Emily. 

 

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HannibalCat
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


detailmuse wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

I was terribly saddened by Lil's decline, but it mirrors what is going on in this country for those who cannot afford health insurance.  [...] I still think she would have gotten medical attention if it had been more available to her. 


I missed all that, and am fuzzy on the details of the individual characters now, but do we know medical attention wasn't available to her? I have such a different overall impression of Lil/Tuck: laziness (they didn't take care of themselves) and pride (they didn't reach out for help). Rather than victims, I saw them unwilling to make the tough choices of adulthood. In retrospect, I saw Lil's decline as mostly poor self-care, not pathology.


 

I have to agree with you on this issue. I work in the healthcare industry and know that there are major problems. However, Lil was an educated woman, with family and friends that cared and could have received adequate attention had she made the move. It was perhaps her own way of commiting suicide. She just didn't bother, in the same way that she didn't bother about so many other things in her life.
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mgorbatjuk
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I agree with Hannibal Cat. Lil was already lazy and wouldn't have tried very hard to get medical attention-I think it was her way of commiting suicide. I doubt she knew that's what she was doing. After breaking up with Tuck I can see her thinking her life was over-and then it really was.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

This character does leave alot of questions in my mind to ponder on. Why was her character so needy? Why would she choose a mate who didn't respect her and never treated her very kindly. She seemed to be a very unfortunate person that couldn't decide what she really wanted out of life and the life she had settled for didn't work out for her of course. I think also, she became depressed and didn't try to substain her life after she was dumped by Tuck.

 

 

 

 


mgorbatjuk wrote:
I agree with Hannibal Cat. Lil was already lazy and wouldn't have tried very hard to get medical attention-I think it was her way of commiting suicide. I doubt she knew that's what she was doing. After breaking up with Tuck I can see her thinking her life was over-and then it really was.

 

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blkeyesuzi
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


HannibalCat wrote:

detailmuse wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

I was terribly saddened by Lil's decline, but it mirrors what is going on in this country for those who cannot afford health insurance.  [...] I still think she would have gotten medical attention if it had been more available to her. 


I missed all that, and am fuzzy on the details of the individual characters now, but do we know medical attention wasn't available to her? I have such a different overall impression of Lil/Tuck: laziness (they didn't take care of themselves) and pride (they didn't reach out for help). Rather than victims, I saw them unwilling to make the tough choices of adulthood. In retrospect, I saw Lil's decline as mostly poor self-care, not pathology.


 

I have to agree with you on this issue. I work in the healthcare industry and know that there are major problems. However, Lil was an educated woman, with family and friends that cared and could have received adequate attention had she made the move. It was perhaps her own way of commiting suicide. She just didn't bother, in the same way that she didn't bother about so many other things in her life.

I tend to perhaps agree with all of you, but all of this information was brought in way too late in the novel.  In my opinion, Lil's character should have been developed more in order to support this. At this stage, it's been thrown out there as an afterthought for each reader to do with it what they will. 

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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Grace2133
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


mgorbatjuk wrote:
I agree with Hannibal Cat. Lil was already lazy and wouldn't have tried very hard to get medical attention-I think it was her way of commiting suicide. I doubt she knew that's what she was doing. After breaking up with Tuck I can see her thinking her life was over-and then it really was.

I agree. She jut gave up, I think. I think she was dependent on her relationship with Tuck. It gave her an identity. When that was gone everything else disappeared. She could not find her own identity outside of that marriage. I don't think she commited suicide on purpose but maybe this was her way of escaping a life without any identity or purpose. 

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Dances_through_Books
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

Overall I enjoyed Emily and Sadie's characters best, and we know the most about them. IN Chapter 15 I would love to know if the symbolism was purposely written, or just an afterthought I'm picking up on.  The final chapter were Sadie's husband Ed lets her go with Tal to the funeral, and Tuck tags along.  The symbolism I am referring to, is the ONLY NY Acronmyn I understood: Long Island Expressway (LIE).

 

I'm questioning if the funeral was in Long Island, just to use that acronym.  Throughtout the book, the characters (like all of us) continue to adapt and change their ideas of life, and what they want from it.  The LIE, could just be literally the Long Island Expressway which has bad traffic at the moment in time they want to use it-to get to a funeral. It infers the Uneasiness of making it to Lil's funeral. I'm wondering if the author is infering that their lives are "Lies" and that only Tal is living in TRUTH- by finding the truth and God.

 

Lil was living a lie with Tuck, in a unhappy violent marriage that ulimate kills her.

Sadie is living a lie with Ed, she loves her children but never sees Ed. She's on her own.

Tal lived a lie of being an Actor, his ulimate goal and career aspiration, but he left his dream at the top of his game to seek something more, to seek the truth, which led him to God.

Tuck is living a lie- that Lil's death wasn't his fault.  He drove her crazy, and her health suffered for it.

 

I felt Sadie's uneasiness and her unability to look Tal in the eyes or speak to him, reflected her deep unhappiness with her life and situation. Her husband leaves her in her time of need, when she is mourning a friend; to ride in a car with an ex-boyfriend, and the ex husband of her late friend.  I think Sadie kept stopping Tal, because she thought he was going to tell her, that he had always been in love with her-and that it took him finding the truth, to realize what was really important in life- and who was important to him.  The way he reaches his hand out to her and advises her everything will be okay. 

 

I think Sadie contemplates running away with him; but ultimately her duty to her children will not allow her to run off with Tal.

 

Overall I think the book had some great chapters, Emily's chapter, chapter 15 with Sadie, Emily, the funeral. However I too, enjoy closed endings to books. I get anxious when a story just ends, and my questions aren't answered. This was a very ambitious first work, and overall I enjoyed it. 

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Jess_H
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

I will echo other's thoughts that I've read...

 

Lil's death didn't suprise me,but it didn't really sadden me either. I never really connected to Lil as a character. She seemed very needy and as if she didn't know how to define herself as an individual and could only think of herself as part of a group or part of a couple.

 

I think in the future the group of friends will drift apart as time goes on. Each will go about in their own relationships, build their own families and only see their Oberlin friends for major life events such as weddings and funerals.

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EbonyAngel
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


Grace2133 wrote:

mgorbatjuk wrote:
I agree with Hannibal Cat. Lil was already lazy and wouldn't have tried very hard to get medical attention-I think it was her way of commiting suicide. I doubt she knew that's what she was doing. After breaking up with Tuck I can see her thinking her life was over-and then it really was.

I agree. She jut gave up, I think. I think she was dependent on her relationship with Tuck. It gave her an identity. When that was gone everything else disappeared. She could not find her own identity outside of that marriage. I don't think she commited suicide on purpose but maybe this was her way of escaping a life without any identity or purpose. 


I agree with the statement, she did commit sucide by not seeking medical attention.  I don't think that it was all because of Tuck though.  I think it was that fact that she "lost" herself in people and now with everyone doing their own thing, so to speak, there was no one for her to take care of and lose herself in.  In the end, all she had was herself.

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Readingrat
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

There were quite a few parallels between chapters 1 and 15 and Sadie kindly pointed most of them out to us just in case we missed it.  I can't see the group sticking together as a group much longer, simply because they are going too many directions at once.  I can see those people who are at the same place in their lives staying in contact (Sadie, Emily, and Beth) but I think both Dave and Tal will slowly slip away (as they have already been doing before Lil's death).
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jclay26
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


KxBurns wrote:

biljounc63 wrote:

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.


 

Valid comments, definitely. I know many of you are having trouble with the choppiness of the plot developments. To my reading, Lil's poor psychological health somewhat explains how she could so unexpectedly die of the flu -- the two not being entirely unconnected in terms of immune functioning, but also as a measure of how well this individual was able to protect herself, take care of herself, etc. In that respect, I rather appreciated the less expected -- perhaps less cliched? -- nature of her death.

 

Similarly, Tal is presented throughout the novel as somewhat mysterious but more centered than the others, which didn't make it entirely out of context for him to have some spiritual evolution that would utterly surprise his friends. I think his turn toward faith surprises Sadie because theirs is a very secular group. But really, it's not all that different from her own choice to become a stay-at-home mother. Both, in my opinion, represent a search for meaning outside of oneself. Now, we can compare/contrast that with Lil I suppose...

 

But I like that you've brought up the word detachment. Let's look at detachment -- the character's detachment from each other, our detachment from them. Is this a comment on modern life? Or on the universal process of growing up? I know some of you have had trouble connecting with the characters and seeing anything of yourselves in them, but is there anything in the detachment of the group that speaks to you, but that maybe you've managed to navigate more successfully in your own life?...

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-28-2009 01:32 PM
Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-28-2009 01:34 PM

After reading what you have posted I did have to take a moment and reflect. Maybe our inability to connect with the characters is part of what the author intended. Many of us are disconnected now even if we are in some ways connected. Technology has allowed us to carry on many superficial relationships without having many, if any, truly meaningful, deep relationships. My struggle originally was how little each of them really knew about each other. They all had different viewpoints on the other's parents and it seemed odd that they would be presented as close long-time friends and yet it seemed they didn't know anything about each other.

 

I do agree that Tal was different than the other characters, but I can only say that because I know so little about him. I felt that Sadie's reaction to him on the drive to the funeral was a bit bizarre. Maybe it is her inability to deal with all the changes going on around her and her belief that she knew Tal so well that it would not be something he would do. Maybe she is realizing just how little she knows about her friends.

 

Lil's death did not really surprise me, though I thought it would be something different. However, we have seen so much of this lately. Someone goes into the hospital for pneumonia or the flu and dies. It is not unheard of and especially when Lil may not have been taking the best care of herself because of an unhealthy psychological state. However, we are not given much information about her psychological state. We didn't get to see her when she left her husband and what toll that took on her. Wouldn't this have been an empowering experience for her? If not, why would she leave him? Why wouldn't she just stay and endure? 

 

I think most of the frustration stems from so many unanswered questions for so many of the characters. I was left feeling disappointed at how much I didn't know. I felt that there were many details that could have been left out and so many more that could have been included. 

 

I wasn't necessarily bothered by the breast milk incident until Sadie mentioned she had stains because of the leaking milk but then runs around, including sitting in a bar, with Tal and Tuck. Wouldn't she have been embarrassed by the stains or at least have found a way to cover them up? Wouldn't she have mentioned it or Tal have asked her? It all seemed strange to me. I also didn't like that at the memorial service she is drinking alcohol but the focus is on her breast feeding. She at least doesn't drink at the bar but she orders decaf coffee. Wouldn't alcohol be more dangerous in breast milk than caffeine from coffee? I also thought it strange that she would consider leaving her children and running off with Tal. What does that say about her committment to her children even if she is unhappy with husband? Maybe she wants to go back to the way things were in more ways than one and her shock with Tal's transformation is her realizing that it will never be possible for her to go back. I just don't know. Everything seemed so confusing, but then again life is 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
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fordmg
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen

So I finally got to the end of the book.  It started with Lil's wedding to Tuck and ended with Lil's funeral and her friends memorial -and even Tuck shows up.  What do I get from this?

I am not sure.  I am trying to find the story line.  At the end I feel that I have met a few people and then life goes on and who cares.  Saddie apparently doesn't even get to the funeral after Lil's father relents and says all her friends can go and orders cars.  Does he not order enough that Saddie doesn't get in?  Saddie left me empty at the end.  Does she care about her children, Ed, or will she take off with Tal?  Tuck finally says that he doesn't feel he could live up to Lil's friends expectations.  It seems like a lot of failed expectations.  Is this suppose to emulate real life? 
I am disappointed in this book.  I don't know what Joanna was trying to say.

MG

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KristaT
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Re: Chapters Thirteen through Fifteen


fordmg wrote:


I am disappointed in this book.  I don't know what Joanna was trying to say.

MG


My sentiments exactly. It took me forever to finally get into the book and the end was disappointing. I'm just not sure what the point was. I picked up the parallels between the beginning and the end, but I must have missed the overall message. As for the writing, I liked that it switched perspectives between the different chapters and the characters were well-detailed. I had high hopes after reading the synopsis, but by the time I finished the book I was just .... blank, really. It just kind of left me wondering what the point was.