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KxBurns
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Part III (Ch. 9-18)

 

In the chapters of Part III, each of the Litvinoffs faces some turning point in their personal struggles. Can you pinpoint various crises of faith or moments of doubt that the characters confront in this section of the novel?

 

I thought the dinner party scene (Chapter 13), during which the simmering resentments within the family burst forth, was brilliantly written. What were some moments in this group of chapters that you found provocative, humorous, or meaningful?
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Guerneymember12
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

I loved the part where karla is watching Khaled get out of the bed after they have made love and she realizes that he is shy.She finally feels free and realizes that adult love is about being kind and forgiving of one another, they could do anything in bed that they wanted to ( without her self loathing of course).  It's a shame her husband could not awaken her to that - and remind her that its making love and not just sex or many of its other terms.

 

Its sad when Audrey when Audrey has to take the tough love approach with lenny at this time in her life.  He appears to be the child that she gets along with the most and she is being strong and sending him away when she doesn't have Joel and probably wants him there with her the most.  but she realizes that if she doesn't do this she could lose Lenny forever and she probably has lost Joel.

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KxBurns
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

I agree, Guerneymember -- I think Karla's transformation over this group of chapters is really poignant.

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dhaupt
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

In part three I thought Rosa's struggle with her "faith" became more real to her. In the first parts of the book she was just getting to the first base so to speak of her religion, but in this part she realizes that to live the way of the Orthodox faith she would have to sacrifice things and I think this repels her individualist belief that she inherited from her parents. So I think she did some real soul searching in these chapters.

 

Karla also is going through a change in her life, she's spent so long trying to have a child and now all of a sudden her and Mike are going to adopt a child and I think it's apparent that she really doesn't want to have a child period, and I think she might be coming to realize that the reason is Mike.

Also the love scene between Karla and Khaled is very touching and even though I don't approve of extra-marital affairs I think I'd even do it if I was married to someone who never saw ME. 

 

And of course Audrey continues to repulse me, in particular at the dinner party and her attitude toward everyone but especially Lenny, and in particular the conversation about heroine. How could a mother who loves her son act so deadpan about the subject of Lenny's drug use. In this part of the novel I began to see where Lenny's problems arose from, I mean did he ever have a chance at being normal. He would have been better off raised by wolves.

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fordmg
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

In this section we see more of Rosa investigating Orthodox Jewdaism.  She gives it a hard try before starting to get disillusioned.  We see how irresponsible Lenny is.  Even having a one night stand with Rosa's roommate.   Rosa has a one night stand with Chris.  Does she do this because of her disillusion with Orthodoxy,  or because Jane called her frigid.  She really isn't into the relationship at all - just going through the motions. 

 

Audrey now confronts Joel's "other woman" and does not do well.  She becomes her most insulting.  I'm not sure I blame her on this front.  I would be upset to find out Joel had a child with Berenice.  Berenice really forces herself on Audrey with her demands to be part of the extended family.  That is a little much to swallow, especially when Joel's former associates are the ones trying to barter the arrangement.  

 

Audrey goes balistic in the hospital room.  Karla is discovering love - at least as well as she can deal with it.  Karla knows what she is doing is wrong, but no one else has ever been nice to her.  Also, she doesn't like to hurt people or make a stand on principle.  I wonder if Khaled is playing her or if he is just as inept with personal relationships.

 

I'm not too crazy about Mike - a real hippocrite.  Rosa is feeling regrets about unsettled affairs, and the revelation that Joel has had many.  I don't think she saw her parents in a sexual way (what child does see their parents in that light.)

 

This is a dysfunctional family, and I wonder why Berenice would want to be a part of it.  Joel's other children are adults - hers is a baby.  What is to gain except to display a "one upence".  Lots going on in this section.

 

MG

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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  I see little evidence of it in the Litvinoff family get together.  Mike especially is so disrespectful of what Karla wants regarding the adoption announcement.  It's all about him and what he wants. 

 

Audrey is totally disrespectful to Rosa and her pursuit of Judiasm.  She made me want to scream!  She offers no encouragement only mockery.  It's no wonder that her children and perhaps Joel look to food, religion, affairs and drugs to find an escape from her.

 

Surprisingly, Tanya is the voice of reason in chapter 13.  This interaction is priceless:  Tanya - "I think it's important to be tolerant of other people's faiths."  Audrey - "Why is it important?  Why should I respect a point of view that I think is crap?"  Tanya - "Well, you want other people to respect your beliefs, don't you?"

Audrey - "Yeah, well, that's a bit different, love.  My beliefs are based on observable fact and scientific deduction."  Audrey is so brainwashed and stringent in her beliefs that there is no room for anything else.  This woman is a piece of work!

Lynda

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kiakar
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

 

 

 

 

Yes, it was bad that Audrey didn't focus more on disciplining Lenny when he was younger and maybe this wouldnt have been so heartbreaking for them both.


Guerneymember12 wrote:

I loved the part where karla is watching Khaled get out of the bed after they have made love and she realizes that he is shy.She finally feels free and realizes that adult love is about being kind and forgiving of one another, they could do anything in bed that they wanted to ( without her self loathing of course).  It's a shame her husband could not awaken her to that - and remind her that its making love and not just sex or many of its other terms.

 

Its sad when Audrey when Audrey has to take the tough love approach with lenny at this time in her life.  He appears to be the child that she gets along with the most and she is being strong and sending him away when she doesn't have Joel and probably wants him there with her the most.  but she realizes that if she doesn't do this she could lose Lenny forever and she probably has lost Joel.


 

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mommydragonz
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Re: Part III (couciling. 9-18)

This family is in need of some sort of counseling or something they are all intolerable of each other.  I wonder how they have survived as a family like this.  Why is Audrey so attached to Lenny as appose to her daughters?  Is there love in this family not the way most of us feel it.
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BookWoman718
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

fordmg wrote:

    Audrey now confronts Joel's "other woman" and does not do well.  She becomes her most insulting.  I'm not sure I blame her on this front.  I would be upset to find out Joel had a child with Berenice.  Berenice really forces herself on Audrey with her demands to be part of the extended family.  That is a little much to swallow, especially when Joel's former associates are the ones trying to barter the arrangement


 

Bereniece would probably have liked to remain well away from Audrey, but the fact is that she has a minor son, a small child, for whom Joel is responsible.   Audrey, as his wife and presumably his executor, has to face this reality and deal with it responsibly.   It is fairly understandable to me that Joel's adult children should be told about this half-brother, surely they were at least suspicious about their father's ongoing infidelities.  Especially with their outspoken mother having been aware of Joel's behavior, I can't imagine it was a very well kept secret or that they would have been so naiive.  At any rate, they are adults and it should be their decision, not Audrey's, as to how much interaction they want with their new brother.  If she were pained by it, then they don't have to rub her nose in it, but they do need to be responsible for their own relationships.   One of the benchmarks of being an adult is that you don't have to have your mom's approval for whom you love and/or hang out with.   Not that these kids seem to have ever had a chance to learn anything like reasonable boundaries in their screwed-up family.    Joel's former associates were acting responsibly when they tried to help Bereniece;  they are lawyers and know very well that such a circumstance is much better negotiated out of court and public view.  Such a circus - inevitable if Audrey doesn't do the right thing - would be even more painful for her.  In the end, her solution of publicly bringing Bereniece and her child into the extended family fold, is the best outcome.   One can only hope that Bereniece will be able to guide her son through the minefield that these new relatives inhabit. 

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lamorgan
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

As this part of the book opens, I find myself feeling very sad for Rosa. She's so absolutely lost and needs something to make her life seem worthwhile and she truly hopes that religion is the answer. She's trying so hard to understand her (religious) roots, yet they conflict with the values and beliefs she was raised with. It's not an easy transition to make for her. She finds so many issues that she doesn't agree with, while at the same time, realizes what she learned as a child wasn't necessarily the truth, either. Perhaps if she had turned to the Christian faith instead, she may have found more of what she was looking for. But her heritage is Jewish, so that's where she turns for answers. Unfortunately, it's creating more confusion for her. A part of me likes Rosa and I hope she can come to some sort of terms before the end of the book.
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CDover1978
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

I really enjoyed Rosa’s slap of reality.  You could always tell that she was the child that needed to stand out the most, always feeling that she couldn’t be perfect enough.  But her trip to the mikvah was a realization that Judaism (Orthodox) isn’t this mystical religion where they have cool spas and big dinners, but instead is a religion with more rules than she wants to follow as a woman.

 

Instead of Karla getting a backbone and standing up to Mike, she goes and sleeps with Khaled.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a start in a long journey of finally following her heart and doing what SHE wants to do and not what Mike tells her to do.

 

Lenny’s bratty side really came out when Audrey decided that he should go to Bucks County w/ Jean.  Audrey has always been the one to cave-in and coddle Lenny and now that she’s standing up to him and not giving him the option to back down, he’s been resentful and hurtful towards her. 

I think that deep down all of this is tearing Audrey apart and she’s not sure how to handle this, Joel being in a coma, and Joel’s former lover & child.  My heart really goes out to Audrey, this is a lot for one person to deal with all at one time.

Courtney
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Sassy398
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

Karla does not really want a baby with Mike...can't blame her...Mike is for Mike...In reality maybe Karla

would consider a child with Khaled???   Rosa is realizing the Orthodox the Jewish follow is something

that she really can not relate to...I think she used trying to be Jewish as away to either hide or find herself

in a real light of truth. Audrey tries to deal with the fact she won't have Lenny to lean on...so she is going to

go through a depression spell. Bernice picked a awful time to make an announcment...in fact, this

character really has no place in the family.

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KxBurns
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

One thing many of you have picked up on is Rosa's incipient disillusionment with Orthodox Judaism, which mirrors what happened to her in Cuba. I think the question is how Rosa will react to the aspects of this culture she finds objectionable. Will she be able to integrate them into her own beliefs or will she reject the religion outright?
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maude40
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

As I Read I get more and more angry with Audrey. She may be one of my least favorite characters of all the books I've read. I'm sure she's having a hard time because of Joel's condition but she could treat her children with a little more respect. Yvonne
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maude40
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

The dinner scene in chapter 13 was certainly a fiasco. What a dysfunctional family due in part to Audrey's parenting skills. Yvonne
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CDover1978
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

Not that I'm defending Audrey and her parenting skills or lack thereof, but what about Joel?  Audrey wasn't a single parent, he had as much influence on their kids as she did.
Courtney
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KxBurns
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)


CDover1978 wrote:
Not that I'm defending Audrey and her parenting skills or lack thereof, but what about Joel?  Audrey wasn't a single parent, he had as much influence on their kids as she did.

 

Good point, Courtney! What kind of parent was Joel, according to the recollections of his wife and children so far?
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CAG
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)


CDover1978 wrote:
Not that I'm defending Audrey and her parenting skills or lack thereof, but what about Joel?  Audrey wasn't a single parent, he had as much influence on their kids as she did.

 

I liked your question. I believe Joel is as much responsible for the way this family functions as Audrey is. I don't like Audrey (although I do find her character interesting) or the way she treats her children. I think she and Joel played off each other during their marriage and their children were stuck in the middle of whatever went on.
CAG
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detailmuse
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

I agree. Zoe Heller has made her that way through excellent dialogue and action. Still, I wish Audrey were a bit more complex, a teeny thing or two to balance the monster. I look forward to finishing the book and reading the Audrey thread.

 


maude40 wrote:
[Audrey] may be one of my least favorite characters of all the books I've read.

 

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detailmuse
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Re: Part III (Ch. 9-18)

I think they "get along" because, while Len disrespects Audrey, he doesn't threaten her self-esteem -- he doesn't stand up to her like her daughters do.

 


Guerneymember12 wrote:

Its sad when Audrey when Audrey has to take the tough love approach with lenny at this time in her life.  He appears to be the child that she gets along with the most