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Wordsmith
literature
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8


dhaupt wrote:

 


literature wrote:

 


 


 

 

Dear All,

Cobb was very nice, agreeable, easy sort of guy, came across to me as a sort of sensual type and I adore him.  But...from the very beginning what bothered me most was the reason for his sabbatical.  I know he wanted to write about Thoreau and live the same existence that he had lived on the Allagash, but when does he write this paper?  Did he even take notes?  Maybe he did but it just wasn't important to the story or for the readers to know.  Like Thoreau, he wanted to live life simply.  No mention of any of this.  Cobb does mention his motto a couple of times "Hurry gradually" but how gradually before the paper is written?  Yes, there were references to Thoreau but that was it.  On page 28 Cobb said "But I think mostly because he sought something important.  He probably failed at it, but it never deterred him."  I think that Cobb was in a rut and just had to get away and a sabbatical and a Thoreau paper was the ticket. Mr. Monninger staged everything perfectly.  Cobb was on sabbatical, was going to follow Thoreau's life on the Allegash, Cobb was looking for a buddy to do this with but his friends were teachers and the semester had begun and along comes Mary, a perfect traveling buddy.  Cobb had no experience with camping, he had his doubts and even thought he might be out of his element..  He practiced setting up camp in his living room and kept repeating the basics to himself:  travel early, camp early, learn to pace yourself, think ahead.  Mary was an experienced camper, quite the outdoor person, and an environmentalist to boot.  Now he had his buddy.  How else would they get paired up?  Don't get me wrong, if Cobb showed up at my front door, I would take him in without hesitation!

 

 


 

 

Yeah I'd take him too, but on the sabbatical part I respectfully disagree with you.

I think that Cobb had every intention of stepping in Thoreau's footsteps, and like you I'm not sure if he did finish the paper, but I disagree about the rut. If he did finish the paper then the author just didn't think it's completion wasn't an important part of the story line, but if he didn't I don't think it was because of boredom etc.. it was simply that life got in the way. He never saw Mary coming and she hit him like a ton of bricks and that's what waylaid the Thoreau paper. In fact I think that's the whole point of the book that life interrupts life.


In retrospect, especially after finishing the book last night, it really didn't make a difference whether or not Cobb did the paper.  He met Mary and gave us the story.  I agree with you that "life interrupts life".

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SapphicKris
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

So far I haven't found anything I don't like about this book. The beginning warned me that there were going to be sad times ahead, but I think the story is ultimately one of love and joy. I do believe in the kind of instant connection that is written about in the story here. I have felt it once before, briefly. It is amazing and Mr. Monninger captures it so beautifully. The backdrop of New England, the place I call home, adds a touch of magic for me. I also love Mr. Monninger's use of dialog. It's all very natural and none of it feels forced. I can't wait to travel along this journey with these characters for a while longer. - Kris
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blue2280
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

First off I will say that I read this book in two days, even being on a cruise, I could not put it down, that is how drawn in I was to the story and the characters.

 

I found both the story and the characters to be immediatley engaging and it was easy to want to know more about both. I think that beginning the book with the ending, as in, we know what happens to Mary, but not why, is a powerful draw to the story. I do not believe the story would have been so strong had it not started this way. If the beginning had not been about Mary's death, and we just met Cobb and Mary starting out on the river, not knowing that Mary will die in the end, I believe I would have developed a different relatopnship with the characters at that point. Starting with Mary's death, we know there is tragedy in their future, but it also says there is something really special here, and it is worth telling about.

 

Mary and Cobb's relationship developing so quickly is both disarming and disconerning to me. But, I think in the end, it is very simple. Their are moments in life, brief, flittering moments, that you either take advantage of or you don't. And you never know if you missed out on something great if you don't take advantage. Mary and Cobb meeting on that river, just like she explains the series of coincidences that had to occur to get them there together, at that moment, is one of those moments in life for both of them that could have gone either way. Cobb could have chosen not to camp near her, or chosen not to share her fire, and maybe in the end, he would have been saved from the tradegy of Mary's death, but in life, you never know what will be missed in between, and that is what will mean more in the end. We all die eventually, but both Mary and Cobb's life, even though he loses her, was much more enriched while they were together, more so than it would have been if they had never met. That is my opinion.

 

The Chungamunga girls are awesome! I totally love their parts in the book. I absolutely think that they considered the wedding "real". To me, they are a spirit of the story, all of them representing lives that will be cut short due to illness, and many of them will not be able to have what Mary and Cobb found in each other. If anything they are a reinforcement for Mary and Cobb to be together. Life is too short, and the girls lives, even shorter...so take what you have and run with it...and never stop till the end.

 

I can appreciate Mary's conditions for her and Cobb being together in that, I think it is truly unselfish of her to let him walk away if he choses to, based on what he finds out. But I am a little torn, because I feel like Cobb should be willing to go forward without knowing as well. I don't know why I feel like that, but I think that you either chose to be with someone or you don't because you WANT to be with them, not because there is something that may stop them from being together in the future. Cobb could have died on his way home on the river, or in a car accident before going to Indonesia, and if Mary had know that, would it have made a difference?  The thing is, you never know...ever... AND, for all we know at this point in the book, Mary just died in a rafting accident. I dunno...just something I am not settled with yet.

 

 

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sailorreader
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

In reference to the question, "What effect does it have on your reading to open a novel with Mary's death"  Did it capture your attention or repel you.

 

My attention was captured.  With my initial read I felt as though Cobb was telling me the story.  His description of Mary, how he met her, their adventures, etc. felt very real to me.

 

Often times when you read a "romance" story it is very "sappy" and filled with extra special nicety's that really don't happen in real life.

 

This novel did not due that and spoke to me in a way a lot of books have not.

 

Quite frankly, it surprised me.

 

 

The wedding and the Chungamuga girls held was cute, not really serious to me.  Although I have been to summer camp, I could not relate to the premise of this camp and found myself wondering if people were really this nice in Maine or were camps like this even around.

 

As far as the wedding, I have just a few captures to finish and find myself relating the "lack" of marriage to the first pages of the book.  I keep wondering, did they marry?  Will they marry?  What about the house they bought and the finances associated with it.  Was it part of the marriage?  I am hoping before the ending that they do marry.  It would close some captures for me.

 

I am enjoying the book and find it to be an easy read that makes me remember good times in Maine. 

sailorreader
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lovetoreadLW
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Really?! You can read the last few pages and still read the book? I always WANT to do that, but really restrain myself because I'm afraid it will ruin the story. I have to admit that I did read the end of the last two Harry Potter books before I was supposed to, but then I felt bad knowing how it ended.
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hsb7766
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?

 

Loved knowing the ending.  Now it's all about the journey and I think that was the author's intention.

"It is well to read everything of something and something of everything." -Lord Henry P. Brougham
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Sherry_Young
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending: What effect does it have on your reading to open the novel with Mary's death presented to us first, and Cobb beginning to tell a ranger about her? Did this capture your attention or repel you, or both?

My first thought on the opening of the book was "Wow, this is going to be a depressing book!" I wasn't sure I was ready to read it, but I pushed ahead. Now that I'm further along I like knowing just how precious their time really is together. It helps the reader understand the decision of whether he would go to Indonesia.

 

Most love stories begin with complications and reversals, but the love story between Mary and Cobb is absolutely passionate and --relatively--psychologically uncomplicated from the first page. What effect does this have on  you? Do you believe in immediate true love like this one?

I think I found it odd that they were immediately so trusting of each other and that things seemed so easy and natural to them. In my experience I've always found an excited nervousness about the relationship as it started and a natural curiosity to whether it would work. I think that most people don't experience immediate true love, but I do believe that it can exist.

 

What do you make of Mary's nightmares?

I was surprised by Mary's reaction to Cobb asking if she'd had a nightmare. At that point in the story we are as in the dark as Cobb about the possible conditions she could develop. 

 

 

What do you make of the wedding that the Chungamunga girls arrange for them? How seriously do all of them take it?

I love the wedding that the Chungamunga girls create for Mary & Cobb. It is a beautiful scene which is so different from church weddings. Since the Chungamunga Girls are discovering the beauty of nature, I find this ceremony very similar to a Pagan Hand-fasting ritual. The girls bind their hands together with twine in the same way the bride and grooms hands are bound together in the Pagan ritual - truly tying the knot. I find this use of Paganism interesting since it is a religion that reveres nature and also honors the goddess. In this sense the Chungamunga are honored girls who revere nature through their own journey. 

 

So often in wedding traditions, couples will light a candle or some tradition to honor and remember family members who have died. In a way, the author has included this tradition of remembrance with the second verse of the chant. The girls are asking for remembrance in advance through the chant because of their short life expectancies.

 

What do you make of Mary's conditions for Cobb for continuing to be together? Could you know the test results without telling her?

 At the time Mary sets these conditions, Cobb understands that he is truly in love with her and will do anything to be with her. I don't think he truly understood how difficult knowing without telling would be for him. I would not tell with my words, but how difficult I would find it to not tell with my actions.

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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Buffie24
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

 

I usually don't have any problems with books that starts with the ending.  Because then it really peeks my interest and I want to know how they got to that point.  So with this book and because it was a love story, I really did want to know how Cobb and Mary feel in love and what made her did that.

 

I am really surprised so far at Mary and Cobb's love for each other.  Okay, considering it is true love.  But I guess just drawing from my own life experience, their love just seems so fairy tale-ish.  It is beautiful none-the-less.  I love how Cobb does not rush Mary and he just takes it at her own time.  And I love that Mary is not fighting their love, knowing she might not live long. 

 

So far I'm thinking that Mary's nightmares have to do with the disease that she has.  Though I'm sure it has more meaning than that.  I'm still trying to figure it out.

 

I really loved their wedding.  I think they all took it seriously only because Mary is a Chungamunga girl too.

 

Cobb is really in love with Mary, so I think even if she was not seriously ill, he still would stay with her.  Me personally, I don't think I would be able to not tell her.  If it were bad, my actions would tell.  And if it were good, my actions still would tell.

 

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Sherry_Young
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I read a quote that called Thoreau "A restless river that ran deep." How interestingly that quote fits this book as they journey along the Allagash.

 

I find Mary a similar personality to what Thoreau might have been. Is there any correlation to the fact that Mary studies crows and Thoreau was an anti-slavery activist? Doesn't Mary tell a story of the crow becoming black and all the other birds laugh at it's ugliness until they are able to see the bird's colors in the sunlight as beautiful. Thoreau also loved science and nature, but cared for his community. Mary has such a caring aspect during her time in Indonesia. I felt at first like Cobb didn't really get to experience Thoreau, but I think that Mary lives her life much in a way that Thoreau did.

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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floreader
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Beginning the book with Mary's death really captured my attention.  All stories need something to make the reader want to continue reading and this was a good wat to do it.

 

Mary and Cobb were attracted to each other right from the start.  I do believe in true love.  However, I think Mary and Cobb's attraction initially seemed to be lust, especially on his part.  Also, Cobb seemed to be attracted to her outgoing personality.  I think it as a case of opposites attract.

 

I didn't make too much of Mary's nightmares, except that Cobb was so concerned about it.

 

I think Cobb was very attracted to Mary's embodiment of all the things he liked about Thoreau.  IT was as if Thoreau came to life in the form of a contemporary woman.

 

 

 

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debbaker
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Mary doesn't want to know if she has the disease but it still governs her life.  She keeps counts of things--how many days since kissed, how many days she's lived (12,680 days).  She likes things that are seasonal--teaching.  That's how she measures out her life.  When Cobb asked her what she would do if she had 10 minutes to live, she said she would do pushups, then time would go slowly.  On page 103, she says "That's another old-lady thing I do, by the way.  Yard sales." Her every day life seems to be measured in time frames.  But once she is outside, especially back at the Chungamunga camp, the emphasis is not on counting time but living time.

You stated this so perfectly. I agree. It does seem that so many of the habits she has developed are just marking time instead of living time.

Deb
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hookedonbooks09
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Hi Blue! 

I kind of felt a little off tilt about the quickness of the relationship between Mary and Cobb, too.  While I do believe in love at first sight (or close to it!), they jumped from that to talk of the future, children, etc. rather quickly, I thought.  Perhaps it had something to do with both of them being cut loose from their everyday selves while out on the water?

 

In Mary's case, she had nothing to lose, but Cobb was coming from a totally different perspective in his life.

 

anyway...

 

I love Mary's stories!  I think they reflect her in many ways---her desire for something she can't have, as in Madrid's tale, for instance.

 

Again, I'm totally enjoying this book!

**Barb

 

 

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx
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JacCait
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I absolutely love this book!!!!  I was not appalled at all about Mary's death being in the beginning.  I was hooked from the very beginning.  I do think that Mary and Cobb will take their marriage from the Chungamunga girls very seriously.  You can tell how Mary feels about the girls and I have no doubt it will be real to them. 

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BookBobBP
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I too was hooked by the first chapter.  I wanted to know all about Cobb's and Mary's relations.  I am enjoying the New England setting in the Fall.  I have always wanted to see New England in the Fall.  I am enjoying the people Cobb and Mary meet as they go down the river.  I am enjoying how their relationship is developing.   This book reminds me alot of The Notebook in the sense we start from something tragic and go back to see what made these two people so commited to each other. 

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fronkster
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

What do you make of the wedding that the Chungamunga girls arrange for them? How seriously do all of them take it?

 

I loved the wedding that the girls arranged for them. I thought it was simple and romantic in so many ways. You don't need a huge wedding for it to mean something. And I believe everyone took it very seriously, The Chungamungas thought about what they should do for Mary and Cobb, it wasn't a joke for them. And Mary and Cobb had the amazing gift of love that didn't take years to appear, why should they wait then. 

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kbtt9811
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

I found it interesting that the book started with Mary's death. It gets the inevitable question out of the way so I can focus on the relationship and how it developed. From the beginning I liked Cobb's character so did not get any ominous feelings that he killed her, I automatically assumed it was an accident thus when I hit the part that explains her condition, it clarified that it was most likely Mary making a decision on how she wanted to pass away.

 

I loved the easy chemistry between the characters, like two halves coming together as a whole. I personally don't think that type of chemistry realistically happens and if it does it's a very rare thing. People tend to allow personal uncertainties,  and societal pressures add complications to a growing relationship.

 

I think Cobb has a respect for Thoreau's ability to shut out the problems and pressures of society and focus on the beauty of nature and living simplistically. People tend to fill their lives with unnecessary pressures, typically of an emotional/psychological nature. I think Mary respects Cobb's desire to try to recreate Thoreau's life experiences, because she tries to live her life as uncomplicated as possible.

 

I think they take the wedding very seriously and it's a prediction of the path Mary and Cobb will take. It's obvious that they are meant to be together, no matter how short that time might be.

 

I respect Mary's desire to decide when she will go based on what she saw her father go through. She wants her life to be remember for the person she was and the things she did, not the person the disease will make her become. I think it's a difficult decision on Cobbs part whether to know the results or not because it's a heavy burden to bear not letting on what the results are.

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starie_nite
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Knowing the ending: I have to admit, I am concerned about the recent trend of endings spelled out before the novel even starts.  Even though the book jacket blurb advises that there is sadness to occur, I think something gets lost when the ending is given away before the novel even starts.   It is somewhat akin to skipping to the last couple of chapters to find out what happens.  I prefer to wait until the end to reach the climax of the story.  By giving away the ending, there is no way to build up to that through the story.  I think even leaving a little bit of mystery gives the story somewhere to go.  Since the ending is given at the start, I am worried about the build through the novel.

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ReadingPatti
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Registered: ‎10-24-2008

Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

dhaupt, I like you take on this book. I am enjoying this very much. I am love the relationship between Mary and Cobb. I love the instant connection. I know the end but I am anxious to see how things goes with this book.

 

I love the picks that Paul makes. THey are great books.

 

I am going to spend some time on reading so more and anxious to see how Mary and Cobb relationship develops.

 

I got in on the next Teen read. It sounds good.

 

ReadingPatti

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LISA-BRYAN
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

Intoducing the book with her death grabbed my attention right away -- I needed to find out "the why".  The first 8 chapters introduces us to a very powerful love story that only a few of us are ever destined to experience.  I loved the descriptions about the animals - crows, bears, moose .... being a biology teacher I connected with the natural elements in this book.  I loved the references to Thoreau.  I am looking forward to reading the next section.  This book is a breath of fresh air!

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dhaupt
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Re: Eternal on the Water: Chapters 1-8

 


ReadingPatti wrote:

dhaupt, I like you take on this book. I am enjoying this very much. I am love the relationship between Mary and Cobb. I love the instant connection. I know the end but I am anxious to see how things goes with this book.

 

I love the picks that Paul makes. THey are great books.

 

I am going to spend some time on reading so more and anxious to see how Mary and Cobb relationship develops.

 

I got in on the next Teen read. It sounds good.

 

ReadingPatti


 

 

Hi Patti, glad you like the book too. I didn't make it for the teen read, alas I was on vacation and didn't check the boards at all while I was home.

Talk to you later.