Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Contributor
jpock
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi, Joanna,

 

Thanks for answering my question.  I can understand your point and I agree that it is absolutely wonderful to experience other cultures through books.  I guess my point was whether the references are so obscure, especially within the context of a rather complicated read, as to be somewhat alienating.  Didn't mean to offend...

 

Jpock

 


Joanna_Smith_Rakoff wrote:

Hi jpock,

You know, I wasn’t actually concerned that the novel was too Jewish, mainly because to me, it doesn’t seem terribly Jewish (or particularly heavy on the Jewish references). The main characters, yes, are Jewish, but they’re highly assimilated and not particularly religious. Their Jewishness informs their identity but it’s not at the forefront of the novel’s plot; nor is it at the forefront of their minds.

That said, I feel like I have to point out that many of the more popular (and well-received) literary novels of the past, say, sixty years have either featured characters who are much more defined by their Jewishness (for instance, the works of Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Cynthia Ozick, and younger writers like Jonathan Safran Foer, Gary Shteyngart, Tova Mirvis, Myla Goldberg, and many, many others) or are straightforwardly about Judaism (like, Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season or Tova Mirvis’ The Ladies’ Auxiliary or pretty much all of Michael Chabon’s novels). Such works—and many, many others—have found huge audiences. So even if my novel were more Jewishly inclined, I’m not sure I’d worry too much about alienating those who aren’t Jewishly literate.

I’d also say that just as many of the best novels of recent years have chronicled very discreet and specific communities or cultures. The book that comes to mind, at the moment, is Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, which just won the Booker and is climbing up the New York Times’ bestseller list. It’s set in India—in Delhi—though it was written in English and originally published in England. Would you ask Adiga if he was worried about British readers not getting a novel set in Delhi, because they’re not familiar with the culture?

All my best,
Joanna

jpock wrote:

Hi, Joanna,

 

Are you concerned at all that the heavy Judaic references will be confusing to readers who live between the coasts where the Jewish population is less?  I am a lucky woman and am married to a Jewish man who has been helpful with the references that I didn't know and then there is also Google. :smileyhappy:  Being bilingual in German has gotten me through the Yiddish.  Will your book be published as Judaic fiction or will there be any help for those who are not familiar with the culture to not feel lost in the terminology?  Thanks for all your hard work and for answering all of our questions!

 

jpock


 



 

 
Reader
Suzed
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Chris,

 

 You have encouraged me to try again. I got stuck in the first chapter, and stopped reading the book. It just didn't hold my attention and I couldn't identify with the characters.As you have commented that it gets better, I will try to get through more of the book.

  I really disliked the use of common vernacular, as in putting the word 'like' in nearly every sentence.

  However, I'll try again!

 

 Suze

A day without reading is a day best forgotten for me! Reading and enjoying books is part of who I am, and I'd be lost without books (and newspapers).

I enjoy well researched historical fiction, especially the type that educates while entertaining. I love mysteries (Nelson DeMille is a favorite) and a good weepy chick book.

I'm a member of a community book club and our choices vary widely. Our discussions can be lots of fun and invigorating!
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi,

I just wanted to tell you that I read the book and I did enjoy it. I passed it to my daughter this morning. I know she will love it because it is right up her alley and generation. I hope she chooses it for her book group. I think they could have a field day discussing it.
I belong to a group in FL that brings in authors to discuss their books and I would like to pass along your name and title to them as a suggestion. The author has to be female and Jewish so you are perfect! Perhaps they will choose you for next year. It is called Conversations and it is part of Brandeis. I really think your book lends itself to an author discussion with questions and answers.
Regarding the book, at first, I did have some problems with the book as I explained to you, because some of the characters seemed to have exaggerated character traits. Actually, though, as I continued to read, I enjoyed being exposed to all the idiosyncracies of the different generations. Still, I wanted more information about each character, their family and their reasons for making some of their choices. Perhaps you could write a sequel which would provide more in depth information about them.
thank you,

twj

Frequent Contributor
Darbys_Closet
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi Joanna,

Thank you for answering my question!  Now that I am much further into the book than I was when I asked my question I can see your  answer plainly.  My gosh, I must tell you that I'm not sure when it happened yet I can't seem to put the book down now! 

I do find it interesting how the group members meet someone and then get married so quickly, I take it that you had so much to tell you decided to leave the details of the individual weddings up to the reader, so you could focus on the bigger picture/story.

I do love the way these friends have stayed together thru time and circumstances!

That's all for now, best of luck to you!!

Darby

Frequent Contributor
Chatterbox
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎11-28-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Joanna & JPock,

 

I wasn't at all worried by the Jewish references, etc. and don't think they are particularly obscure. The plot devices don't hinge on the occasional reference to wedding canopies, etc.

 

But I do think that Joanna's response raises an interesting point. Is it realistic that all the main characters -- every member of this close-knit group of friends in the 90s -- is Jewish, when, as she points out, its members are assimilated and not very religious? I live in NYC, my circle(s) of friends include media, literary, artistic and some dramatic folks, and I can't think of a parallel. How probable is it that such a large group of friends at an Ohio liberal arts college would be solely Jewish? It's not an issue that affects my reading of the book or thoughts about its themes/characters, etc, just an incidental reflection. If being Jewish is not a theme of the book (this is NOT The White Tiger, or any one of a number of other books written and published in England by members of the Indian/Pakistani diaspora where plots & character hinge on cultural identity), then I'm left wondering why not have a slightly more realistic mix? I'm not talking about one character per census grouping or anything of that nature, but since it's not a book about being Jewish in the 1990s, but being in your 20s at this turning point in our society... Well, I guess I'm just scratching my head. But, as I said, just an incidental thought. 

Contributor
jpock
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Dear Chatterbox,

 

I think you make a very valid point.  I guess I thought that because all of the characters are Jewish, from an Ohio liberal arts college, as you said, that being Jewish played a significant role in the story just as the New York setting did. 

 

Jpock

 


Chatterbox wrote:

Joanna & JPock,

 

I wasn't at all worried by the Jewish references, etc. and don't think they are particularly obscure. The plot devices don't hinge on the occasional reference to wedding canopies, etc.

 

But I do think that Joanna's response raises an interesting point. Is it realistic that all the main characters -- every member of this close-knit group of friends in the 90s -- is Jewish, when, as she points out, its members are assimilated and not very religious? I live in NYC, my circle(s) of friends include media, literary, artistic and some dramatic folks, and I can't think of a parallel. How probable is it that such a large group of friends at an Ohio liberal arts college would be solely Jewish? It's not an issue that affects my reading of the book or thoughts about its themes/characters, etc, just an incidental reflection. If being Jewish is not a theme of the book (this is NOT The White Tiger, or any one of a number of other books written and published in England by members of the Indian/Pakistani diaspora where plots & character hinge on cultural identity), then I'm left wondering why not have a slightly more realistic mix? I'm not talking about one character per census grouping or anything of that nature, but since it's not a book about being Jewish in the 1990s, but being in your 20s at this turning point in our society... Well, I guess I'm just scratching my head. But, as I said, just an incidental thought. 


 

Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi jpock, thanks for clarifying. I guess I'd say, again, that I simply wrote the novel I wanted to write without worrying about a readership. But, again, to me, the novel doesn't seem rife with references to arcane religious ideas (or suchlike). I suppose I also feel that every novel isn't for every reader. So if a reader is bothered by the fact that the characters are Jewish, then that's fine -- there's plenty of other stuff out there for that reader!

 

All my best,

Joanna 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Distinguished Correspondent
ClaudiaLuce
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi Joanna!:smileyvery-happy:

Thank you for letting us read your book in advance and for taking time out of your busy schedule to discuss it with us!!

 

I have been slow to read this novel, mainly because of a heavy workload at the middle school where I teach 7th grade literature.  I, like others, had a hard time getting interested in the first few pages of the book, but once into it, began to love the story!  If only there was time to just sit and read and read and read this time of year!

 

My question for you is this:  did you attempt to make this story ageless?  I know that you meant for it to be a coming of age novel of the 1990's and there are subtle references to such in the book.  However, many times, I lose track of just when the story takes place and imagine it to be taking place in eras gone by.  The flow of the storyline just lends itself to this and the fashions described in the book are not particularly defined by an era.  I love this book for that reason!

 

Congratulations on a wonderful first novel.  May you do well with it!

 

ClaudiaLuce:smileywink:

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." -
-- Sir Richard Steele
Contributor
jpock
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

[ Edited ]

Joanna,

 

I never said that I was bothered by it and I feel as though you are taking this as some type of prejudice on my part, which is absolutely not the case.  I did apologize earlier for having offended you, but I never went so far as indirectly accusing you of being a bigot.  Your characters being Jewish had nothing to do with my dislike for your book. 

 

 

Message Edited by jpock on 01-27-2009 07:09 PM
Correspondent
HannibalCat
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎10-25-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi Joanna, 

I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed this book. While I did have a difficult time getting into the first couple of chapters, I was completely enthralled after that. I finished the book last night and reread your letter. After reading your letter I have to tell you that I was able to understand your book to a greater degree. My children grew up in the era you are referencing and I can connect, through their experiences, with your group's experiences. You accomplished what you set out to do. Congratulations and best wishes on your future writings. I will keep my eyes open for your books.

 

Cathy 

Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff


thewanderingjew wrote:

Hi,

I just wanted to tell you that I read the book and I did enjoy it. I passed it to my daughter this morning. I know she will love it because it is right up her alley and generation. I hope she chooses it for her book group. I think they could have a field day discussing it.
I belong to a group in FL that brings in authors to discuss their books and I would like to pass along your name and title to them as a suggestion. The author has to be female and Jewish so you are perfect! Perhaps they will choose you for next year. It is called Conversations and it is part of Brandeis. I really think your book lends itself to an author discussion with questions and answers.
Regarding the book, at first, I did have some problems with the book as I explained to you, because some of the characters seemed to have exaggerated character traits. Actually, though, as I continued to read, I enjoyed being exposed to all the idiosyncracies of the different generations. Still, I wanted more information about each character, their family and their reasons for making some of their choices. Perhaps you could write a sequel which would provide more in depth information about them.
thank you,

twj


Hi TWJ, thanks so much for your note. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it -- and hope your daughter does as well. It's been interesting to me, over recent months, how readers of different generations have responded to it...

 

I'd love to come down to Florida to meet with your book group, which sounds really interesting, and, hmmmm, a sequel -- I'll think about it! It's interesting: The novel was, at first, somewhat longer and contained more of the information you mention (particularly with regard to Tal and Lil), but it kept getting shorter and shorter, and I have indeed wondered at times if that was necessarily a good thing. 

 

Anyway, thanks again for your smart thoughts and questions, and for taking the time to read the novel and engage me in dialogue.

 

All my best,

Joanna 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Darby, yes, it's funny, I didn't originally intend to have so many hasty marriages, but somehow it ended up that way, and I did wonder, at times, if it would stretch readers' credibility. Though the fact is that a number of my friends have met and married their spouses within the space of a year or so, including one person who "met" her husband online -- and had only met him in person twice when he proposed (soon after, she packed up her things and moved across the Atlantic to be with him; five years later, they have two children and are incredibly happy). So, for me, the plethora of quick marriages is somewhat realistic. I wonder if there's something about New York that leads to such scenarios?

 

Regardless, I'm glad you're enjoying the novel! Thanks so much for posting and,

all my best,

Joanna


Darbys_Closet wrote:

Hi Joanna,

Thank you for answering my question!  Now that I am much further into the book than I was when I asked my question I can see your  answer plainly.  My gosh, I must tell you that I'm not sure when it happened yet I can't seem to put the book down now! 

I do find it interesting how the group members meet someone and then get married so quickly, I take it that you had so much to tell you decided to leave the details of the individual weddings up to the reader, so you could focus on the bigger picture/story.

I do love the way these friends have stayed together thru time and circumstances!

That's all for now, best of luck to you!!

Darby


 

 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Chatterbox, your question is interesting, and, as you've probably guessed, one that I've considered myself (pondered while writing the novel, certainly). The fact is that Oberlin's student body is 25 percent Jewish -- and 25 percent from the New York area (with much overlap) -- so if you actually went to Oberlin, the idea of five close friends who all happen to be Jewish is pretty realistic. And, yes, many of my closest friends were Jewish or half-Jewish, so the novel pretty accurately reflects my experience, in that (very general) regard. For me, though, your question raises a larger, more troubling question, which is: Is Oberlin more socially/economically/culturally segregated than one imagines? Probably, yes.

 

The other thing to bear in mind, though, is that this novel is, in part, based on -- or a contemporary retelling of -- The Group, in which all the characters were supremely WASPy, and part of my decision to make my characters Jewish is a political one. Much contemporary "Jewish fiction" is straightforwardly concerned with *straightforwardly* Jewish ideas and questions: the Holocaust, ties to Eastern Europe, conflicts regarding identity, making Aliyah (or not), spirituality. These are all important and rich subjects, of course, but I was interested in writing a novel that represented a very different aspect of contemporary Jewish life -- that is, the lives of assimilated, secular Jews. So, in a sense, the lack of Jewish subject matter -- which conflicts, in the minds of some readers on these boards (or so it seems), with the Jewish identity of the characters -- *is* my subject matter, if that makes sense.

 

Anyway, thanks so much for raising these interesting questions,

and all my best,

Joanna


Chatterbox wrote:

Joanna & JPock,

 

I wasn't at all worried by the Jewish references, etc. and don't think they are particularly obscure. The plot devices don't hinge on the occasional reference to wedding canopies, etc.

 

But I do think that Joanna's response raises an interesting point. Is it realistic that all the main characters -- every member of this close-knit group of friends in the 90s -- is Jewish, when, as she points out, its members are assimilated and not very religious? I live in NYC, my circle(s) of friends include media, literary, artistic and some dramatic folks, and I can't think of a parallel. How probable is it that such a large group of friends at an Ohio liberal arts college would be solely Jewish? It's not an issue that affects my reading of the book or thoughts about its themes/characters, etc, just an incidental reflection. If being Jewish is not a theme of the book (this is NOT The White Tiger, or any one of a number of other books written and published in England by members of the Indian/Pakistani diaspora where plots & character hinge on cultural identity), then I'm left wondering why not have a slightly more realistic mix? I'm not talking about one character per census grouping or anything of that nature, but since it's not a book about being Jewish in the 1990s, but being in your 20s at this turning point in our society... Well, I guess I'm just scratching my head. But, as I said, just an incidental thought. 


 

 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Jpock, take a look at my answer to Chatterbox, above, as you're right -- for me, it does.

 

All my best,

Joanna


jpock wrote:

Dear Chatterbox,

 

I think you make a very valid point.  I guess I thought that because all of the characters are Jewish, from an Ohio liberal arts college, as you said, that being Jewish played a significant role in the story just as the New York setting did. 

 

Jpock

 


Chatterbox wrote:

Joanna & JPock,

 

I wasn't at all worried by the Jewish references, etc. and don't think they are particularly obscure. The plot devices don't hinge on the occasional reference to wedding canopies, etc.

 

But I do think that Joanna's response raises an interesting point. Is it realistic that all the main characters -- every member of this close-knit group of friends in the 90s -- is Jewish, when, as she points out, its members are assimilated and not very religious? I live in NYC, my circle(s) of friends include media, literary, artistic and some dramatic folks, and I can't think of a parallel. How probable is it that such a large group of friends at an Ohio liberal arts college would be solely Jewish? It's not an issue that affects my reading of the book or thoughts about its themes/characters, etc, just an incidental reflection. If being Jewish is not a theme of the book (this is NOT The White Tiger, or any one of a number of other books written and published in England by members of the Indian/Pakistani diaspora where plots & character hinge on cultural identity), then I'm left wondering why not have a slightly more realistic mix? I'm not talking about one character per census grouping or anything of that nature, but since it's not a book about being Jewish in the 1990s, but being in your 20s at this turning point in our society... Well, I guess I'm just scratching my head. But, as I said, just an incidental thought. 


 


 

 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

ClaudiaLuce, hello, and thanks so much for posting. It's great to hear that you love the story!  But it's even more of a relief to hear that the story seems timeless, rather than completely mired in the culture and history of the late 1990s. I've spoken much, on these boards and elsewhere, about my desire to chronicle the economic and political changes of that era, but at the same time I felt very certain that ultimately the stories chronicled in the novel -- what happens, in particular, to the women (but Dave, too, actually) -- are somewhat timeless. As I think you know, the novel is very loosely based on Mary McCarthy's 1963 novel The Group -- which is about a group of Vassar grads who move to Manhattan in the 1930s -- and part of what struck me about The Group, when I first read it, was the similarities between the lives of McCarthy's characters and those of my friends. (It was enough to make me think feminism had, perhaps, never happened!) So, yes, you're right; that was definitely my intent!

 

Thanks again, and all my best,

Joanna 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Cathy, thanks so much for telling me all this -- it's made my day!

 

I wonder: Did you see your children in the book? Or did my characters seem very different from them?

 

Thank you, again, for taking the time to post these kind words.

 

And all my best,

Joanna


HannibalCat wrote:

Hi Joanna, 

I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed this book. While I did have a difficult time getting into the first couple of chapters, I was completely enthralled after that. I finished the book last night and reread your letter. After reading your letter I have to tell you that I was able to understand your book to a greater degree. My children grew up in the era you are referencing and I can connect, through their experiences, with your group's experiences. You accomplished what you set out to do. Congratulations and best wishes on your future writings. I will keep my eyes open for your books.

 

Cathy 


 

 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Author
Joanna_Smith_Rakoff
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi jpock,

 

I wasn't at all trying to peg you as prejudiced! I was just, rather strenuously, trying to make my point clear: That I wasn't, in writing the novel, worried about readers not liking it or not getting it. But that if I think about it now, with the novel coming out, I'm *still* not worried about it, as there are books out there for everyone. Does that make sense?

 

All my best,

Joanna


jpock wrote:

Joanna,

 

I never said that I was bothered by it and I feel as though you are taking this as some type of prejudice on my part, which is absolutely not the case.  I did apologize earlier for having offended you, but I never went so far as indirectly accusing you of being a bigot.  Your characters being Jewish had nothing to do with my dislike for your book. 

 

 

Message Edited by jpock on 01-27-2009 07:09 PM

 

 


Learn more about A Fortunate Age.
Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,279
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Hi Joanna...I am finished with your book and I must say,all of you references about Ny,relationships,and most definately the Characters,Beth especially and of course Sadie,reminded me of my days in the city,on the edge a bit,met my Husband a Fordham Grad 2 degrees,and myself a Visual Arts and lots of classes at The New School..we met on the upper westside..married one month later...have a great 24yr old Daughter..The relationship between being jewish and enjoying the book,was important to me,but not the core of the story....You so have an audience for  A Fortunate Age....Remember:Northshire Books Manchester Center,Vt 05255..a great venue for you when u have time...we have your generation here,and mostly from,Ny,Ct,Boston I wish you well..and Visit Vt..good place to unwind...The Best to you.. Because we all explore worlds that might not be familiar to us,so glad you opened the minds.of so many...Very Diplomatic of you.......
Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Frequent Contributor
Dances_through_Books
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff

Thanks Joanna for answering my questions!!  After reading your book a second time, I did pick up on Tal's relgiousness and search for the TRUTH/God.  Great job! I feel as though I understand your story more completely after your answers, and after the discussion we all have had.  Good luck on your book promotion and I can't wait to read more of your work!

 

~Kati

Correspondent
HannibalCat
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎10-25-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Joanna Smith Rakoff


Joanna_Smith_Rakoff wrote:

Cathy, thanks so much for telling me all this -- it's made my day!

 

I wonder: Did you see your children in the book? Or did my characters seem very different from them?

 

Thank you, again, for taking the time to post these kind words.

 

And all my best,

Joanna


HannibalCat wrote:

Hi Joanna, 

I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed this book. While I did have a difficult time getting into the first couple of chapters, I was completely enthralled after that. I finished the book last night and reread your letter. After reading your letter I have to tell you that I was able to understand your book to a greater degree. My children grew up in the era you are referencing and I can connect, through their experiences, with your group's experiences. You accomplished what you set out to do. Congratulations and best wishes on your future writings. I will keep my eyes open for your books.

 

Cathy 


Joanna, Yes I certainly did see my children in the book. My oldest son moved in with his girlfriend after two weeks of knowing her. Yikes!! He wound up marrying someone else, but that quick, jump right in with two feet - I know best - I won't make the same mistakes you made - attitude was very clearly in play. He has turned out to be a wonderful husband and father and always was a nice son. I'm very proud of him. He is soooo traditional now.

 

My other sons were not so much examples, as were their friends. But they, too, were slower to committments. Everyone seemed to be waiting for the perfect partner to come along. They still keep in touch, but don't really know the truth of each other's existence. But I wouldn't really call them uncaring. They are, like your characters, there for each other, but very seldom there. If you know what I mean.

 

You did a better job explaining than I can. But I could certainly related to the characters. 

 

Take care,

Cathy