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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Lil

Share your thoughts about Lil. What would you say is Lil's function, as a member of the group and as a character in the novel? What are her strengths and weaknesses? What are some of the pivotal moments for Lil throughout the novel?

 

I'd like to highlight author Joanna Smith Rakoff's wonderfully insightful comments about Lil from the Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff thread (if you haven't visited this thread yet, be sure to check it out!):

"There were definitely points, in the writing of the novel, when I considered not having Lil die, but ultimately I always returned to death as her end. The reason, I think, is because she's the one character who can't truly live in the world, who can't compromise in the way her friends do. She also, for all her bluster, can't really take care of herself (and this is part of the problem with her marriage, that while she can't take care of herself, she also can't allow Tuck to take care of her, and it kind of drives them both mad). But I also wanted to show that the stigma of divorce still exists for members of a certain generation and class; and that it's still difficult to be a single woman alone in a large city, particularly when all your friends are married and occupied with their own families. There is, literally, no place for Lil in their lives after a certain point."

Discuss!

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Guerneymember12
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-21-2008
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Re: Lil

As to Joanna's above comment , it seems different than one of he own character's comments, I think it was Sadie's mom who had said that Lil needed a man who could take care of her like emily had and like Sadie had.  I agreed with that comment!!  I felt that LIL not only wanted but needed someone to take care of her. I never saw any examples of that after they were married.  She needed someone to show her attention.  Tuck couldn't take care of her financially (her parents sending them money) and I think that really bothered him.  I think he was scared of how much Lil needed from him.  She may have been an independent person before she was married, but as we hear from others in the story, she loses herself to someone like Tuck. 
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quinncx
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎07-21-2008
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Re: Lil

Lil was the character I felt the least empathy for throughout the novel.  She seemed like an unhappy unpleasant person and had she been my friend, I would have cut ties years ago.  I don't know- I didn't really like any of the characters, but Lil actively annoyed me every time she appeared. 
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aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
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Re: Lil

At the beginning of the novel, I expected to Lil to be the most independent of all the girls. We didn't get to read much about her until Chapter 13 when Lil is in the hospital. I couldn't believe Lil had started to miscarry (apparently not for the first time) and Tuck left her to go partying or that she had threatened him with a pair of scissors! I felt really bad for her. It seemed she really wanted to get away from Tuck but couldn't figure out how. On page 336, when Lil wakes up to find Emily had been to see her, but not Tuck, it's written, "She shivered a little in her sweater-she'd already begun to think of it as hers, rather than Emily's-and realized that she felt something akin to relief. He was gone, finally." 
April
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debbook
Posts: 1,823
Registered: ‎05-03-2008
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Re: Lil

I really did not like Lil. Reading about her made me cringe, as I have known girls like her and do not like them.They are dfraining with their neediness. Her blindness toward her marriage was annoying, though very real. She did need to be taken care of, which also bothered me as there was no reason she couldn't take care of herself, but Tuck was definitely not the guy to do it. I cringed at her unwavering support of Tuck, while he was being such a slacker and whiner after he lost his job. She should have chucked him.

In the hospital, though I felt sorry for her as she really did want a baby, I feel like we see the real her, so selfish and immature. She would not have made a good mother.

I did not think it was important to the story that she die. I don't really understand why she "had" to die, other than to follow the plot of the related book.

A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
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mgorbatjuk
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
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Re: Lil

I feel bad for Lil. And I know a lot of people who have a little Lil in them. I think she died of a broken heart. And maybe not that she missed Tuck so much as she really wanted a story book marriage with love that lasts forever and the house and kids.
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liisa22
Posts: 606
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Lil

Lil was one character that I really did not like ( along with Tuck). However, I did feel sorry for her, even empathized with her, because of the way Tuck treated her.  Why she stayed with him all that time, I don't know. I wanted Lil to be more strong.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
-Sir Richard Steele

http://bookreviewsbyliisa.blogspot.com/
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bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Lil

I thought Lil was immature and needy.  Still, I think a lot of women of a certain generation become a little too needy after they get married.  I think Lil had an idealistic view of marriage, the whole white picket fence scenario.  I thought that the author was realistic in showing that women of a certain generation have some parts of their personality that cling to the old, traditional ways.  However, I don't agree with the author's comments that it's difficult to be a single woman in a large city.  It's true that it's hard if you are single when your friends are married and busy with their families.  Still. I would think it's harder to be single in a small town where most people marry young and there is probably less opportunity for single women to socialize without the whole town knowing their every move.
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olivialove
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
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Re: Lil

I have mixed feelings about Lil.  It was aggravating to watch her stay with a man who was so blatantly selfish and cruel.  I also didn't like when she ponders what will keep her in New York (while she is in the hospital), she says she has her friends and job, but what is that compared to a marriage.  She put Tuck and her marriage on this enormously high pedestal, when she really should have saw it for what it was and got out to save herself.  I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her. 

 

I also think that bit about her friends being married with kids, led them to drift apart and isolated her.  I think she isolated herself from them due to envy/jealousy.  She was jealous of their seemingly happy lives and children and that out weighed the value of their friendship.  If you really care for someone, you are happy when they are happy.  Not envious and bitter.

 

So it was hard to sympathize with Lil, I think maybe if more were told about her, if there was more from her view, maybe I could understand her actions better..

 

 

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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Lil

We only really see Lil at the beginning and then in the hospital.  Everything else is a summary of or interpretation of her life.

She made a big mistake marrying Tuck - and should have cut her losses earlier than when she did.  Did she really love him that much?  I don't know.

She seemed to experience the biggest change after college and perhaps got lost along the way.

She was eager to have children (with Tuck - oh my).  Perhaps it was a blessing that she didn't.

When I heard that she died from the flu - I was disappointed.  I knew she was going to die because I read one of the posts before I should have...  I almost hoped she would have comitted suicide - not that i wish that on anyone - because that would have made more sense and might have had more of an inpact on the story and the characters.

I wish Sadie would have told her about Tuck and Caitlin the day Caitlin told her - that might have been a story line - and one that might have interested some of the readers.

I didn't get attached to Lil - and therefore found it difficult to sympathisize for her and also difficult to care much when she died.

 

susan

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Lil

I was sad because Lil was so unfulfilled and when she died she had not found peace. Even when she was sick, she was a victim.

twj 

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Lil

Lil was my least favorite character in the book followed by Tuck. She was this very needy person trying to put on the persona of being self reliant, in fact if Tuck hadn't paired with Lil I might have liked him better because I felt that Lil herself made the problems between her and Tuck, I'm not excusing him for his infidelity, but because I felt he truly loved Lil, he just didn't like her.
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booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
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Re: Lil

I thought Lil got married to become independent of her parents. She thought that Tuck would take care of her every need. But she was wrong because she had to rely on her parents money to get them through the hard times. She wasn't interested in contributing her fair share to the marriage. She wanted someone else to take  responsiblity for care. Tuck was not much help to her. He didn't support her when she needed him the most. He was more concerned about someone taking care of him. When she lost her baby he didn't have time to hang around and support her. He was too busy trying to find the next party to go to.Lil had no clue that her marriage was about to end. She thought that if she had a child this might work  but it didn't. They just drifted more apart. Eventually Lil felt out place with her friends because they had nothing in common. Lil had failed at having a family whereas all her friends succeeded in having families and careers. Lil's breakdown also caused Tuck to want to distance himself from her. I kind of understand why she died in the end because she didn't fit in any longer with her friends. She lost everything her husband and child that miscarried.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
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Re: Lil

Some of you have expressed that Lil was looking for someone to take care of her -- do mean financially or emotionally? And, if emotionally, is this such a bad thing, in general, and in what ways does Lil take it to the extreme?

 

Personally, I saw Lil as fragile rather than immature. Her thoughts when in the hospital reveal her to be very lonely and lost and gave me a lot of empathy for Lil. How do you think the group changes (or will change) as a result of the loss of their friend, however close or not close they were to her at the end of her life? How does this mirror the changes prompted in them by Lil's wedding?

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krb2g
Posts: 289
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Lil

The frustrating part about Lil, for me, was how little we got. She reminded me of Caddy in The Sound and the Fury: an absent center--we never heard how she reacted/where she was when Tuck was jailed for being in the protest, we never found how much she knew about Tuck's affairs, we just got the wedding, the scene in the hospital (which was shocking to me: I knew Tuck was a jerk, but I hadn't realized how far things had gone. I think if we had even seen more of Lil [lots of times when the characters get together, even if we're not in someone's head, we see where they are, what's going on] I might not have been so surprised), and then the funeral. 

 

I think Lil was isolated from everyone--lots of people talk about the way she threw herself into her marriage, and I think she did, in a way, but I also think that she was holding back (at least, that's the sense I get from some of the angry dialogue around the hospital scene, and also the day Tuck lost his job). So her funeral was ironic in a sad way: all sorts of people there who had loved her, and she hadn't been able to use that positive energy to rebuild.

sjj
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sjj
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎11-28-2008
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Re: Lil

[ Edited ]
Lill was not a strong individual and her character in the story simply made me angry because she tolerated Tuck's behavior and never seemed to take care of herself and her needs - she is a highly educated women.  She was a pleaser and she took more abuse than she should have.  In the end, it weakened her and she never was able to regain herself preserverance to survive in the world.  I agree with the author that perhaps in this story, this should have been her demise.  So many times, fully capable women lose themselves to strong willed men.
Message Edited by sjj on 01-30-2009 08:10 PM
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Lil


krb2g wrote:

The frustrating part about Lil, for me, was how little we got. She reminded me of Caddy in The Sound and the Fury: an absent center--we never heard how she reacted/where she was when Tuck was jailed for being in the protest, we never found how much she knew about Tuck's affairs, we just got the wedding, the scene in the hospital (which was shocking to me: I knew Tuck was a jerk, but I hadn't realized how far things had gone. I think if we had even seen more of Lil [lots of times when the characters get together, even if we're not in someone's head, we see where they are, what's going on] I might not have been so surprised), and then the funeral. 

 

I think Lil was isolated from everyone--lots of people talk about the way she threw herself into her marriage, and I think she did, in a way, but I also think that she was holding back (at least, that's the sense I get from some of the angry dialogue around the hospital scene, and also the day Tuck lost his job). So her funeral was ironic in a sad way: all sorts of people there who had loved her, and she hadn't been able to use that positive energy to rebuild.


 

I like your idea of Lil drawing on the energy of others. I can see what you mean about Lil holding back in her marriage -- I got the sense that she tended to consume the other people in her life, to draw energy from them in a way that caused them to pull away. It was as if she was trying to fill up a void inside herself. Maybe with Tuck she resisted the urge to throw herself too fully into it, out of fear he would pull away? Which of course happened anyway. To me, the saddest thing was Lil's thought (on page 337) that "...nothing, Lil supposed, compared to marrying for love, only to wake one morning and find it vanished. Or, she thought, to wake and find it had never existed."
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Grace2133
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎03-14-2008
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Re: Lil


KxBurns wrote:

krb2g wrote:

The frustrating part about Lil, for me, was how little we got. She reminded me of Caddy in The Sound and the Fury: an absent center--we never heard how she reacted/where she was when Tuck was jailed for being in the protest, we never found how much she knew about Tuck's affairs, we just got the wedding, the scene in the hospital (which was shocking to me: I knew Tuck was a jerk, but I hadn't realized how far things had gone. I think if we had even seen more of Lil [lots of times when the characters get together, even if we're not in someone's head, we see where they are, what's going on] I might not have been so surprised), and then the funeral. 

 

I think Lil was isolated from everyone--lots of people talk about the way she threw herself into her marriage, and I think she did, in a way, but I also think that she was holding back (at least, that's the sense I get from some of the angry dialogue around the hospital scene, and also the day Tuck lost his job). So her funeral was ironic in a sad way: all sorts of people there who had loved her, and she hadn't been able to use that positive energy to rebuild.


 

I like your idea of Lil drawing on the energy of others. I can see what you mean about Lil holding back in her marriage -- I got the sense that she tended to consume the other people in her life, to draw energy from them in a way that caused them to pull away. It was as if she was trying to fill up a void inside herself. Maybe with Tuck she resisted the urge to throw herself too fully into it, out of fear he would pull away? Which of course happened anyway. To me, the saddest thing was Lil's thought (on page 337) that "...nothing, Lil supposed, compared to marrying for love, only to wake one morning and find it vanished. Or, she thought, to wake and find it had never existed."

I completely agree. Lil seems like the type of person that keeps people around her simply so she could draw energy from them. Eventually those people run out of energy to give and bail out from the friendship. I think that is why Sadie didn't seem to care much when she learned about Tuck's duplicity. Lil seems to be searching for something missing in herself in other people and never seems to find it. 

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Dances_through_Books
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Lil

Although Lil was not my favorite character, I did empathize with her character's story and struggle.  She really did lose herself completely in Tuck, and when she "woke up" from it, realized just how far she let herself go. At this point she has no support, none from her family, she feels as though she can't go to her happy married friends, WITH children.  I'm not sure if she could have mustered the courage to ask for help, if she would have known how.  Her story is so sad, in that she thought she was marrying for love, only to find out that love can leave, and so can your husband. I was suprised that she didn't die from suicide, it would have been a dramatic way for her character to exit- and place her back in the center of attention among the group. (please do not misinterpret- suicide is a horrible thing, that I hope everyone who's in that spot can overcome and not attempt- it just would have been more climatic-more expected from her character). It's horrible that in pursuit of her "perfect life," her soul is destroyed, and ultimately she is destroyed.
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