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Sheltiemama
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Re: The Great Outdoors

I am sooo not an outdoorsy girl. If there isn't indoor plumbing, I'm not going. Having most of the first part of the book take place outdoors puts the story on a different, much more vast kind of stage, when we know Mary's life increasingly will shrink. The natural world is what brings them together, and the different stages of the river is an apt metaphor for what I expect the characters to go through as they confront Mary's illness. Some smooth sailing, but some very rough waters, too, that they can't entirely control. They'll have to find a way to maneuver through them as best they can. 

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MegD427
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Re: The Great Outdoors

I started to read some of the posts and I'm struck by how similarly we all feel about the river.  I, too, feel that the river alludes to the different paces and challenges in our journey of life, just like Mary and Cobb.

 

I lived about an hour south of Baxter State Park in central Maine for 5 years and I have rafted down the Kennebec River (just south of the Allagash). Reading the descriptions of the area immediately brought me back to hiking and camping in that area.  It is INCREDIBLY remote and even more beautiful.  The views from Mount Katahdin are unlike anything I've ever seen (not having climbed any of the mountains out west).  These rivers can be unpredictable... calm and peaceful for a stretch, a little bumpy in other places, and then, at times, outright wild.

 

I do love the outdoors, and I miss it now that I have moved away.  My son is a little too young for that kind of trip, but I am looking forward to bringing him out to these areas and helping him develop a love for the outdoor and nature!

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GreenFairyLV
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Re: The Great Outdoors

How is the natural world a character in the story?

It's what brings Mary and Cobb together.  I think its more a background while the river is a character.

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?

It seems like a third main character in this book so far to me.  They bond, marry and Mary dies on this river in the first 8 chapters of the book.

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Nelsmom
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Re: The Great Outdoors

How is the natural world a character in the story?  I too was glad to see how much the outdoors played in thier relationship because I know that nature played a big part in the relationship that I had with my husbund.  You can learn a lot from nature and watching the wildlife that can be used in human relationships.

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?  I think that it was as important as both Mary and Cobb but it did not take take over what was happening between Mary and Cobb.

 

Toni

Toni L. Chapman
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shelley727
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Re: The Great Outdoors

Unfortunately, I am not familiar with this river.  The say the author describes it makes we want to go there just to see it for myself.

 

The river plays a big role.  The river has twist and turns smooth water and rapid--so does life.  The two character are traveling down their river of life.  At some point the river will end and something new will begin.  Happens to all of us. 

I love the fact that we spend almost no time indoors in this story.  The author has painted us such a beautiful picture with his words that I want to get out there on the Allagash and spend all my time outdoors.  It seems we almost never have that luxury anymore.  Everything is so fact paced and high tech.  It seems you can't get away from a phone or computer anymore. 

I didn't feel as if Mary & Cobb were playing house.  I feel they had just met and were excited about their new found relationship.  They left and went to be at their campsite so they could have privacy and spend time together.  I think John & Annie could see that this relationship between Mary & Cobb was something special too.   

Shelley
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KateBrianIsAwesome
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Re: The Great Outdoors

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship?

Both Mary and Cobb share a love of the outdoors. Nature brought them both together.

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?

The river brings most of the characters together.

Reading can only make you more happy and smarter. :smileyhappy:

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shelley727
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Re: The Great Outdoors

Love the maps and the website.  Thanks for sharing!:smileyhappy:

 

Shelley
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girlie0620
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Re: The Great Outdoors

 I am looking forward to checking out the site on the river.....

 

Anyhow- I think others have stated this but the river is not just a place but for me, a character. In it, is life and death, twists and turns, calm steady waters and then roaring rapids. This brings Mary and Cobb together because they were both on/ looking for this journey. In the beginning for different reasons but then they became "twisted together" changing and growing.

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McWarren
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Registered: ‎10-25-2009
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Re: The Great Outdoors


thewanderingjew wrote:

 

To me the river, as a character, represents life, with its twists and turns, unexpected surprises and gifts. It seemed to be the road Mary and Cobb would travel together. All roads do eventually come to an end where another begins.

 

 


I think this says it exactly. (I promise to write an original thought soon. I've been out of town and I'm playing catch up!)

 

I traveled to Maine about 12 years ago. A group of teachers went to visit a school in a town north of Portland. I'm sad to say, I don't remember the name of the town. There was an "LA" involved somehow, whether in the name of the school district, or if it was a twin-town thing, I don't remember.

 

One of the coolest things was the flight from Boston to Portland. We looked outside the windows that entire leg of the trip. (Hey - we live in central Oklahoma - the land of red dirt!)

 

I also remember driving to Kennebunk and Freeport, if that helps any. We also drove by Kennebunkport. No Bush sightings, however!

 

We went during "muddy season" as they informed us. I remember seeing a "genuine live" moose walking along side of the interstate. I was the one driving and it was snowing, so I didn't get much of a glimpse of it, but it excited me nonetheless.

 

I always wanted to go back, but I've never had the chance.

 

This book renews my desire to return.

 

Sydney

 

 

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Tarri
Posts: 457
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Re: The Great Outdoors

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life?

 

How is the natural world a character in the story?

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?


 

I am not a camper nor an outdoors person, my idea of roughing it is Motel 6.  But Mary and Cobb set out on camping trips and so it was natural that they should sleep outdoors, under the starry sky.  In retrospect, it seems as if they were playing a couple, as opposed to people who had just met. 

 

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CJINCA
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Re: The Great Outdoors

 


What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?


The emphasis on being outside always, sleeping under the stars -- this is how Mary sustains her strong bond with nature and her sense of the real, or eternal, aspects of life.

 

With John and Annie, Mary gives herself an evening of escapism or fantasy, of who-we-could-have-been.  She says of them,  "I want them to have the best fishing camp in North America...We'll go there every year and catch enormous fish and all of our children will work for them."  and "They will be Uncle John and Aunt Annie, and they will spend every Christmas with us for the next thirty years."  (p54)

 

But, we soon find out that this cannot be.  I think this is tied to Mary's nightmare -- guilt at being in denial (she is a realist otherwise), or maybe for indulging in "playing house" or misleading Cobb. 

 

-- C.

 

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lrloveless71
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Re: The Great Outdoors

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited? It seems to me that the outdoor setting is an important aspect of their relationship. I cannot imagine that Mary or Cobb would probably fall so immediately in love with people who could not share and participate in their passion. Mary's passion for the Allagash River and her relationship with the Chumunga Girls becomes the highlight of Cobb's adventure. Although it appears he may not have focused as much on his Thoreau's travels once he began his own I think that he was able to draw certain parallel to Thoreau and his passion for the outdoors. If not for his interest in Thoreau he may not have been led to Mary and would have certainly missed out on some excellent adventure.  I think that it was important for Mary and Cobb to return to their camp because it allowed them the space and common ground that their budding romance needed. Their first connection was the Allagasha and the kayak and camping adventure, it was an essential part of their relationship in the beginning.

 

 

How is the natural world a character in the story? (See above)

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far? (See above)

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JuneC
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Re: The Great Outdoors

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?

 

Since I'm not the camping type I enjoyed the setting. It's differennt then the way I live and it reminds me of why I'm NOT the camping type! The outdoors are a comfort to Mary and Cob. Here they are able to  relax and be free.  Star gazing as they do allows for escape, and under the circumstances they both need avenues for escaping.

 

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kboston
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Re: The Great Outdoors

I am more of an indoors person, but I don't think it makes a difference the setting adds more to thMary's and Cobb's characters.  I think the river plays a role in the novel because it shows the characters fear (for Cobb starting a new journey and Mary when she flips it's her first time fearing the river after being part of it so many times she has to think about what may be) and strength (Mary gets back on the river after her scare)

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sarah_in_ca
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Re: The Great Outdoors

Mary and Cobb spend as much time outdoors as they can because they feel comfortable with nature, as if it's their friend.  They can talk to each other and communicate with nature and no one will reveal their secrets.  I think Mary and Cobb wish to be outdoors for the privacy it provides them.  It's also where Mary reveals herself openly and tells her story.

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Buffie24
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Re: The Great Outdoors

What do you make of the fact that so far, we spend almost no time indoors? Even when Mary and Cobb make friends and visit a lodge for a small dinner party, they head back outside as soon as they possibly can. How does this play a part in their brand new relationship? Did it feel to you as if they were "playing house" while they visited?

 

At first I thought it weird that they were not invited to stay in the cabin.  But in feeling what the whole story is about and realizing the magic that Mary and Cobb are experiencing in the outdoors, I think that if they had stayed indoors, it would bring them back to reality.  The things that they will have to go through once they leave the river and the outdoors.  And the knowing that they might not have a long period of time to spend with one another.  And yes, it did feel as if they were "playing house".

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CEGS
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Re: The Great Outdoors

The characters make the outdoors seem so comfortable and so natural - very appealing, even though I am not the camping and hiking type.  It makes their relationship seem all that more natural as well. 

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mediamissy
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Re: The Great Outdoors


I am not really an outdoors person but reading the book has made me consider it more.  I didn't feel they were "Playing" house really, I just thought there was this open space that they could really enjoy.  They seemed to be intimate quickly in the book so I thought the air, cold weather, expanse of the sky gave us a feeling of freedom, movement, air, breath in their relationship.  There was a freedom in my mind that they had because they didn't confine themselves.  They explored everything freely, live, nature, the river, love. 

 

Are any readers familiar with this river in real life?  I wasn't but I actually looked up the site and started an inquiry into what a river trip might include.  There is some great information at the site. 

 

How is the natural world a character in the story?  I find it is a compliment to the characters.  I like how Mary ties the world of animals into ours as if they were characters but I didn't think of the natural world as a character until you said it.  I guess I had always thought of it as a living, breathing, setting.  

 

How does the river play a role in the novel so far?  The river is this incredible journey.  I have never kayaked so the idea of this beautiful serene moment and then turn a corner and your in the midst of rapid paced, potentially deadly rapids was a little unnerving mentally.  But as I read and Cobb became invigorated by the river I found myself holding my breath and bit and at the end feeling a similar release for his making it through.


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mrsareads
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Re: The Great Outdoors

The setting of the outdoors is significant because these characters are open and willing - something that needs space. Inside you are more closed in and uptight.

 

The natural world is a character in the fact that all other characters are influenced by it and react to it. It makes a difference in who they are will become. You can't have an adventure in the house (unless it is in a book!)

 

Rivers are always a great symbol in any book. They represent the flow of life and the ever changing world we all experience. They are also made up of all that has come before - that is why I think the concept of the Girls being 'eternal on the water' is wonderful. What a great concept for them keep in mind. They will always be a part of the world and influence all that they encounter (much like the river) even after they have gone.

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Susan57
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Re: The Great Outdoors

Even though I'm a New Englander, I am not familiar with the Alagash River.  Although I do have a neighbor who was raised in Maine and told me some things I found interesting.  When you picture Maine, picture the top part.  The Alagash River is up there.  She also told me that the entire region is called, The Alagash and that people don't live there.  It's basically an area used by hunters, timber people, and fishermen.