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Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Girls

Although skating with Emily Dofmann was a surprising turn in Benji's tween years, Erica is a full blown adolescent attraction. What does Benji like about her? How do the friends relationships change with each other once girls enter the picture? Do you  get a different sense of who each of them are as individuals from how the interact with girls?

 

What does Benji learn from his father's back porch advice about women, and what is Benji learning about relationships from watching his parents?

 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006

Re: Girls

Although skating with Emily Dofmann was a surprising turn in Benji's tween years, Erica is a full blown adolescent attraction. What does Benji like about her?What does Benji like about Erica?....................on page 185 Benji tells us that he is bonded to her permanently to her because she laughed at his joke....(IMO It's a good starting point but in my experience it really doesn't lead to much.)

 

How do the friends relationships change with each other once girls enter the picture? In Sag Harbor it is a case of the haves and the have nots.  Benji is pushed to the side because Bobby's got the car, NP's got his "wad".  Benji's told if the girls are home he's got to walk home, at the show Bobby and NP are only concerned that Devon and Erica get into the show but Benji wisely takes matters into his own hands and buys himself a ticket.

Do you  get a different sense of who each of them are as individuals from how the interact with girls?  Knowing what I've learned thus far about Benji and his thoughts, he's looking for a long term relationship, something meaningful.  Bobby on the other hand thinks the girls "have to give it up after" being taken to the U.T.F.O show...nothing long term there.

What does Benji learn from his father's back porch advice about women, and what is Benji learning about relationships from watching his parents?

Benji learns that it's all in the DNA..."if you want to know what a woman is going to look like in thirty years, look at her mother.  It's all passed down." 

Well, Benji's probably learning that it's ok to treat your wife like a servant, talk to her as if she's trash and she'll do what ever you ask her to do and she'll still love you.  However, Benji seems too sensible and respectful to take what his father says and does as the way things should be in a marriage. At least I hope so.  I'm wondering if what James' acts around his wife is in his DNA too.  Could his father have been abusive - will Benji?


 

 


 

Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
Distinguished Correspondent
Shadowwolf36
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎09-16-2008
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Re: Girls

I agree, right now there really is no really understanding of girls and how they work.....they are very quick to blow off their friends for the chance that they might get some.....the friendships come secondary. As for Dad, he is definitely getting the wrong idea about how to treat women.
Frequent Contributor
booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
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Re: Girls

When the girls enter the picture the friends become somewhat distant. Benji is looking for a long term relationshsip. While the other boys are looking for one night stands.  In Sag Harbor if  you have a car your chances of meeting a girl goes up. But unlike Benji who doesn't have a car his chances are slim when it comes to keeping a girl. The boys are out to have fun for the summer and when it is over so  are the relationships until next summer. As for the father, he shouldn't be giving advice on women. Benji's father doesn't respect his own wife, how can he tell someone about relationships.
Inspired Contributor
canterbear
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Girls

Sometimes what we learn about relationships from our parents can really mess us up.

 Benji's dad reminds me alot of my grandfather, who was also an alcoholic.

And the more he drank the less he respected women.

His view of men was, that they only wanted one thing. 

 

Young people like the ones in this novel, think they know so much about love and sex at an early age. They leave out the romance part and the lasting relationship part.

Like NP they tend to flaunt their relationship and not be respectful.

I get the feeling that Benji thought there should be more depth to a relationship.

 

 

Frequent Contributor
artist4nature
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎09-02-2007
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Re: Girls

Emily Dorfman was a new experience with a girl - she chose Benji as a skating partner - the one experience and then he was back with his friends. 

 

With Erika this is the test to see how the attraction between the boy and the girl work out.  Now Benji has to try to figure out what is the male role in the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

 

I would hope that there would be other role models beside his father.  The abusive nature of the father with Benji and with his wife are not something you hope boys will think is the norm.   The Dad slaps Benji  - and I can only imagine that the mother has been physically abused.  The verbal abuse of both boys and the mother is another aspect of the father that shouldn't be emulated.  The issue where the father freaks out about the paper plates really made me angry.

Contributor
sailorreader
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎02-08-2008
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Re: Girls

I think Benji's view of "girls" was different from his father's.  He was learning to respect himself and in that vain he respected others.

 

He stood back and thought things through, including his interaction with the girls.

 

I think deep down in side Benji is lonely and longing for someone to care for him, make him feel secure or special.  I don't think he really wanted a "long term relationship" just something that would make him feel good about himself and get him into a Cosby state of mind rather than the home influence he is really dealing with. 

sailorreader
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Girls


sailorreader wrote:

I think Benji's view of "girls" was different from his father's.  He was learning to respect himself and in that vain he respected others.

 

He stood back and thought things through, including his interaction with the girls.

 

I think deep down in side Benji is lonely and longing for someone to care for him, make him feel secure or special.  I don't think he really wanted a "long term relationship" just something that would make him feel good about himself and get him into a Cosby state of mind rather than the home influence he is really dealing with. 


 

 I feel it certainly is true!  A teenage boy especially a boy is taught the actions of love and girls from their father early on. Ben is not really telling us how he feels when his father acts like a moran or if he thinks its normal behavior or if his mother deserved it. So we really do not know how it affects him or how it will effect him later. He does say he went to his room quickly when his father was yelling for his Mom to come off the beach.  But studies have proven that boys to act out the role the father plays good or bad. Sometimes other things will influence the thoughts and actions of a tween and teen that will help with the development of his concepts of love and relationship young and old.  But Ben's father really had a temper. He flew off at the least affliction that flashed by him. Yes, the paper plates, my goodness, I just use three or four together if that is all I have. It seems nothing to get so bothered about. But if his father being a dr. was probably always overly stressed and pissed off at the world. 

 

As far as the girls go, Ben seemed to be the stand back guy and see what happens. Bobby had alot of character to build up before he became an adult and hope he accomplished that.The way he treated Ben was disgusting indeed. Bobby wanted to make sure that Ben would go if he couldn't get the other guy. Ben was so disappointed that Erica was matched in with the other guy, you could just feel his distaste for this guy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired Contributor
fifenhorn
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-26-2009
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Re: Girls

I think Ben likes Erica because she pays attention to him. While she's "with" one of the other boys, she still seems to take an interest in what Benji says and does. He treats her with respect, and she probably appreciates that more than she lets on.

 

Benji didn't learn much from his dad, except that he should look to the girls' moms to see what they'll be like in 30 years. But what he DID learn wasn't from anything verbal, that's for sure. He took the non-verbal cues here...he saw the disrespect that his dad heaped upon his mom. He saw that if you treat a woman poorly, she will be beaten down.  When he mentions how he sees the younger version of his mom disappear as his dad verbally abuses her, he, being the kind of serious kid he was, takes MENTAL NOTES.  I'm willing to bet he said, "I will NEVER treat a woman like that...EVER."

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Girls

I agree that Benji probably liked Erica so much because she paid attention to him and seemed sincerely interested in him.

 

What his father tried to teach him was that women are objects for men to acquire - and that men should make sure they get the best deal they can when it comes to women - they should check out their mothers to judge how the woman will age - also his father advises him to marry a virgin because he (Benji) wouldn't want other men to reminisce forevermore about the great time they had with his wife ..... he is, of course, abusive to his wife (as wel as his sons).

 

I feel that Benji was well aware that his father's advice about women and treatment of his own wife were completely wrong. I feel that Benji will learn from his father's example - he will learn not to treat women in the same way.

Frequent Contributor
Sassy398
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎11-03-2008
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Re: Girls

 In Sag Harbor the girls of summer are just that...there is no permanate relationships

 just alot of fun in the sun.  Benji's father is not the kind of person to give advice, if anything

 he should clean up his backyard before speaking.

Distinguished Correspondent
biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
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Re: Girls


Sassy398 wrote:

 In Sag Harbor the girls of summer are just that...there is no permanate relationships

 just alot of fun in the sun.  Benji's father is not the kind of person to give advice, if anything

 he should clean up his backyard before speaking.


I would say that Benji's father sees nothing wrong in his family. So there is nothing to clean up. he is right and everbody else is wrong!

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
Contributor
KimberlyH
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎12-24-2008

Re: Girls

Erica provided Benji with not only something nice to look at but also gave him a smile.  She was the girl that listened to his request to change his name to Ben.  She was the one to laugh at his jokes.  You could see his heart light up "In my book, we'd been married for years" on page 185.  She seemed to take the time to make him her focus point ~ truly listening to him ~ something so rare in the world of the teen.   So rare that it can be more exciting then the brush of my (some body part) and your (some body part). 

 

Girls bring secrets.  The world of shared knowledge between friends becomes pick and choose when it comes to relationships.  Benji's example of this is "NP'd stopped giving us updates on whether he had touched her tit or whatever, adopting a reserve and circumspection we'd never seen in him before." 

 

But as Benji's dad pointed out in his back porch chat these secrets can be brought out years later.  Page 179 - "That is why you should marry a virgin," he said.  "People talk about you .  You want to be out with your wife and have some fool whistling about what he used to do."  This statement stood out as I was reading the book.  I wondered if some of the anger that Benji's dad had was from the cracks in the "Cosby" perfection that others were able to find.  One or more being from his wife's days before they were together.

Distinguished Correspondent
emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
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Re: Girls

When the girls come into the picture, the boys start to distance themselves from each other. The girls become the focal point of their daily lives.

 

Benji is learning from his father that you go for looks when choosing a girlfriend. By watching his parents, he is learning how to disrespect women.

Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006

Re: Girls

Benji's approach to understanding teenage girls has a push-pull tentativeness to it... he knows certain things about girls, but like most teenage boys, he isn't quite sure HOW he should feel about his own feelings. Or even  what it means to behave appropriately. This whole new world of girls is filled with landmines. So he has to tread lightly.

 

In the skating rink, he bumped into the concept of girls as "OTHER"... as human beings exactly like him in some ways, but unlike him in some other very important ways. 

 

This newfound enlightenment is kind of scary, so he shies away from it with other girls... for example, his terrifyingly yet  simultaneously hilarious "feeling up" the breasts of his co-worker at Jonni Waffle. 

 

He likes Erica because of how she makes him feel... She appreciates his humor, which is a major component of his personality. So that emboldens him and he moves with more assurance; he actively seeks out her company.

 

When Melissa comes along, he shies away... She is a bit aggressive and his mind was more on the house and his memories.

 

It's a fascinating back-and-forth, push-pull tentativeness... shying away, then boldly moving forward, then backing off again...... 

 

It's probably a revealing indicator of the adult he will eventually become. 

 

I don't know that his father's negative behavior will necessarily color Ben's future treatment of women... sometimes bad role models can be useful because of the negative messages they impart. 

IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Contributor
JAmber
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎02-07-2009
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Re: Girls

Benji's father explains a lot about his behavior towards girls. He is very standoffish. I think this is because he knows he wants a woman and also knows he shouldn't treat her like his father treats his mother. So, what's he to do? He becomes preoccupied with other interests and puts girls on hold. He is still interested but not secure enough to initiate anything. He follows everyone, except his father. The other boys are bold and grab any girl that comes their way. Benji is a thinker, he seems to know what he is doing (even if right now, it is only knowing what he shouldn't do.)