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Laurie22
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Registered: ‎12-30-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

I too was looking forward to the children killing her in her sleep!
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READERJANE
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎01-21-2008
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

The prologue did set up an expectation fop me. I expected Joel to be flip, breezy and very impulsive. I also expected that Audrey would be the same because of the way that she went to bed with him for the first time and then agreed to marry him ! They are both set up as impulsive ! The prologue did not set Audrey up as the type of person that she would become, attitude especially. Although in thinking about it, al argwe part of her life seems to be impulsive. ReaderJane :smileyhappy:
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)


detailmuse wrote:

It's stated (p13) that Audrey's mother is "drastically fat." I wonder how that will factor into Audrey's issues about Karla's weight?


 

Great catch, detailmuse!

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CDover1978
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Registered: ‎02-12-2008
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

What are some similarities and differences between the Audrey and Joel we meet in the Prologue and the Audrey and Joel of the first few chapters?

 

The Audrey & Joel that I was introduced to in the Prologue are not the Audrey & Joel that came to be 40yrs later in Chapters 1-4.  Audrey was this sweet, quiet, shy young woman that was new to being an activist.  She seemed to have strong convictions regarding her religion (since that was one of her attractions to Joel).  Joel was a bright, young up and coming American lawyer with strong views.  The Audrey that we meet later seems to be more of a harsh spoken, anti-religion (especially if it has anything to do with Judiasm -- Joel shares this opinion) mother/woman.  She verbally beats down her husband and daughters while coddling their adoptive son.  Joel doesn't seem to change too much... He still has his strong views and tends to take cases with a cause.

 

What is the initial impact of Joel's stroke on his family?

Joel's stroke seems to bond the children together whil causing Audrey to push them all further away.  She's very hard-nosed and does not want to show any signs of weakness... the same weakness that her daughters are looking for to bond with their mother.

 

What conflicts within the Litvinoff family are introduced in these early chapters?

The conflicts start with the idea that the Litvinoff family is EXTREMELY disfunctional in all meanings of the word. Religion (Rosa), physical identity (Karla), drugs and unemployment (Lenny), are highlighted.  There's an underlying impression that Audrey and Joel's marriage isn't all happy-go-lucky like it may have been in previous years.

Courtney
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)


lenoreva wrote:
Not liking Audrey so far.  Surprised the marriage has lasted so long!

 

I was surprised that the story took up 40 years later, but not so surprised that Audrey and Joel were still married.  Many marrages stay for convienence, or not wanting to change a life style.  I got the feeling that Audrey and Joel were actually going their own ways.

MG

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momgee
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Registered: ‎07-24-2007
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

I'm not too sure I would classify Audrey as sweet, quiet and shy when she propositions a guy she met at a party only days before! I think she was a promiscuous opportunist. Forty years later she is just a hardened nasty older woman. Personally,  I couldn't stand the character at all.

 


CDover1978 wrote:

What are some similarities and differences between the Audrey and Joel we meet in the Prologue and the Audrey and Joel of the first few chapters?

 

The Audrey & Joel that I was introduced to in the Prologue are not the Audrey & Joel that came to be 40yrs later in Chapters 1-4.  Audrey was this sweet, quiet, shy young woman that was new to being an activist.  She seemed to have strong convictions regarding her religion (since that was one of her attractions to Joel).  Joel was a bright, young up and coming American lawyer with strong views.  The Audrey that we meet later seems to be more of a harsh spoken, anti-religion (especially if it has anything to do with Judiasm -- Joel shares this opinion) mother/woman.  She verbally beats down her husband and daughters while coddling their adoptive son.  Joel doesn't seem to change too much... He still has his strong views and tends to take cases with a cause.

 

 

"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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mwinasu
Posts: 149
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

  It looks like I'm going to go way out on a limb here.  I think the first four chapters may be talking about the evolution of the " American Liberal Consciousness".  I think that it was no accident that Audrey's parents are Polish Jews living in England right after WWII.  Can there be any question why they are so sad , or why  Audrey shows them such respect even though Joel doesn't get it.  I think her parents represent the genesis of modern liberal thinking. I think Joel's stroke signifies the end of liberalism.  And the Kids are Generation X'ers right down to the weight problems,drug addictions and religious conversions.

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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

 

 

Hi, I like your summation of the facts of the book or the way you find symbolism in the facts. But I didnt much care for either character especially the way she (Audrey) threw herself at Joel. I think she wanted to come to the United States because of her poorness or lack of things, she might have felt especially since Joel was a lawyer, hey, he can be mine if I play my cards correctly  here!

 

 

 

 

 


mwinasu wrote:

  It looks like I'm going to go way out on a limb here.  I think the first four chapters may be talking about the evolution of the " American Liberal Consciousness".  I think that it was no accident that Audrey's parents are Polish Jews living in England right after WWII.  Can there be any question why they are so sad , or why  Audrey shows them such respect even though Joel doesn't get it.  I think her parents represent the genesis of modern liberal thinking. I think Joel's stroke signifies the end of liberalism.  And the Kids are Generation X'ers right down to the weight problems,drug addictions and religious conversions.


 

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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

[ Edited ]

mwinasu wrote:

  It looks like I'm going to go way out on a limb here.  I think the first four chapters may be talking about the evolution of the " American Liberal Consciousness".  I think that it was no accident that Audrey's parents are Polish Jews living in England right after WWII.  Can there be any question why they are so sad , or why  Audrey shows them such respect even though Joel doesn't get it.  I think her parents represent the genesis of modern liberal thinking. I think Joel's stroke signifies the end of liberalism.  And the Kids are Generation X'ers right down to the weight problems,drug addictions and religious conversions.


 

This is a great interpretation. You should definitely post it on the Politics thread, if/when you've finished the book.
Message Edited by KxBurns on 10-22-2008 04:12 PM
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KxBurns
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Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)


CDover1978 wrote:

[edited]

What is the initial impact of Joel's stroke on his family?

Joel's stroke seems to bond the children together whil causing Audrey to push them all further away.  She's very hard-nosed and does not want to show any signs of weakness... the same weakness that her daughters are looking for to bond with their mother.

 


I like the connection you're making between vulnerability and intimacy. Along those same lines I wonder, with Joel being in the state he's in, if the children feel closer to him now than they ever have?...

Reader 2
sherton
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-03-2008
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

This family puts the "d" in dysfunctional.  I, too, thought Joel was joking about marrying Audrey in the prologue.  Maybe he was and realized his mistake when she said yes.  Who knows? 

 

I agree that Audrey definitely treats her children abominably and her children seem so lost without the nurturing they needed from both their parents.  Perhaps Audrey doesn't feel that she has a purpose in life and is lashing out at people.  

Correspondent
HannibalCat
Posts: 238
Registered: ‎10-25-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

I agree with your comment. She is the kind of person I would stay away from, in fact I would move away from her. There is enough attitude in her to fill the new Yankee Stadium. Whew!

 

I have started reading the second group of chapters and am seeing more humor in Chapters 4 & 5, than in the whole first group. I find myself chuckling at Audrey's hypocrisy in many situations. I'm at work or I would quote a passage or two, but I don't have my book. I am beginning to appreciate the characters more than at first. Don't get me wrong, I don't like them yet, but I am seeing more about them than meets the eye in the first chapters.

 

This is the kind of book that makes me crazy. I can't figure out if they are worth worrying about, or if they are just too stupid to bother with. But I definitely want to know them.

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MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

Hi Everyone, 

 

  I'm in agreement with a great many of you.  Joel is the self composed and radical lawyer, while Audrey is, for lack of a better term, feeling insufficient, looking for a way out.  Joel is a willing teacher who has found the more than willing student to nurture.  As we look at the early chapters, they've been married 40 years, (surprise, surprise), and have three completely different children. 

 

  Someone earlier noted dysfunction.  Well this family definitely is a definition that could be placed in the dictionary.  It will be interesting to see how each member of this group, (and I say it this way, because I can't really call them a family), will develop.

 

  I don't think that any part of the (family) took Joel's stroke with any kind of seriousness.  He had been so strong in his beliefs and way of life that I don't think that anyone thought that this could put Joel down.

 

  As for conflicts within the Litvinoff family,  there is conflict at every turn and introduction of each member.  The only exception to me is between Rosa and Karla, although I could be wrong.  lol

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

I feel that Joel and Audrey are not all that different 40 years later than when we met them in the prologue.  Joel still appears to be full of himself as is evidenced when he is searching through the newspaper for mention of his name in the upcoming trial.  He seems to be somewhat condescending which is what I first thought in the prologue.  As for Audrey, I never saw her as meek and quiet.  I think she was judgmental and critical from the beginning.  I think she has gotten more so with age.  It seems that she wants to always do the exact opposite of what others expect of her.  May be why she agreed to accept Joel's marriage proposal.  While I would not say that I dislike either one of them at this point, I really can't say that I like them either.  I have a feeling that I will end up feeling sorry for both of them in the end.

 

Also, I wish that we knew more about them in the beginning years of their marriage.  I would like to know why they decided to have children when it appears that neither of them is too thrilled with their adult children.

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
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kiakar
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

You said, you really can't call them a family. The definition of family has certainly changed over the years, believe me! But they are a family, and some would say dysfunctional as absolutely they were. But still they stayed together under one roof and made alot of mistakes but grew under that roof with the parents they were delt with.  So under those circumstances, aren't we all this day and time just alittle dysfunctional. I was from a broken home because my father died when I was ten, my mom made a terrible mistake marrying again to a sex molester and wife and child beater and so goes with  my older sister and I. We had our difficulties and if you like you can say we were from a dysfunctional family but that is just how the cookie crumbled around us. I really feel we make life what we can out of what we are taught, what we see and how well we endure. Don't you? Dysfunctional I believe is just another word that describes family life in the late 20th century and the early 21st. In fifty some years there will be another name for problems in a family frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


MSaff wrote:

Hi Everyone, 

 

  I'm in agreement with a great many of you.  Joel is the self composed and radical lawyer, while Audrey is, for lack of a better term, feeling insufficient, looking for a way out.  Joel is a willing teacher who has found the more than willing student to nurture.  As we look at the early chapters, they've been married 40 years, (surprise, surprise), and have three completely different children. 

 

  Someone earlier noted dysfunction.  Well this family definitely is a definition that could be placed in the dictionary.  It will be interesting to see how each member of this group, (and I say it this way, because I can't really call them a family), will develop.

 

  I don't think that any part of the (family) took Joel's stroke with any kind of seriousness.  He had been so strong in his beliefs and way of life that I don't think that anyone thought that this could put Joel down.

 

  As for conflicts within the Litvinoff family,  there is conflict at every turn and introduction of each member.  The only exception to me is between Rosa and Karla, although I could be wrong.  lol

 


 

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Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

Great analysis mwinasu - thanks!  But what are Generation Xers?? (I'm a Brit.)

 


mwinasu wrote:

  It looks like I'm going to go way out on a limb here.  I think the first four chapters may be talking about the evolution of the " American Liberal Consciousness".  I think that it was no accident that Audrey's parents are Polish Jews living in England right after WWII.  Can there be any question why they are so sad , or why  Audrey shows them such respect even though Joel doesn't get it.  I think her parents represent the genesis of modern liberal thinking. I think Joel's stroke signifies the end of liberalism.  And the Kids are Generation X'ers right down to the weight problems,drug addictions and religious conversions.


 

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gosox
Posts: 69
Registered: ‎10-14-2007
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

Before I read the other replies, I just wanted to note that I am enjoying the book so far and find the characters are well drawn. As it is now, I find them all pretty unlikeable. However, as readers, we are privy to  their inner thoughts, making it far easier to find them fallible and lacking moral character. After thinking about it, I can't help but think how most of us would be perceived if all of our thoughts were out in the open. Having said this, I do think Joel and Audrey are particularly nasty characters and I am anxious to see how things pan out for them.

 

As I look back at my book notes from the first few chapters, I can see evidence of my initial reactions to Audreay and Joel. On the very first page, it is noted that "[Audrey's] aloofness, she fancied, made her intriguing." It seems she has a good idea how to present herself for notice. On page 12, I made several notes about Joel after reading the paragraph that begins, "Joel looked at her, feeling baffled and bad tempered. . . . Why did she not congratulate him on the valor of his deeds, or show surprise that a man of his accomplishments was paying such courtly attention to her?"  The following comment only increased my dislike of the character: "A girl who could never be talked down to would be a little exhausting in the long run." As we know from the next few chapters, he certainly got that right.  I find these characters, with all of their foibles, human, and I have enjoyed the fact that so far, I don't really like them.

 

How sad is it that Joel finds Lenny to be a "mortifying reminder of a failed experiment?"

 

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

Hi libralady,
You wondered why they decided to have children when they don't seem too happy with theirs, In those days, the sixties, it wasn't so much as a choice as it was considered an obligation to raise a family. You didn't think about it, you just had children because that was what you were supposed to do.
Not all women went to college or university. Most women who went to school, went to get their MRS., so they could settle down and have a family. Women were told to study for a career that would give them job security in case they didn't marry. Many women became teachers because of this. Women didn't work once they had a family. The job opportunities for women were in education, secretarial positions, administrative or menial positions for the most part. Yes, some women had other professional careers, but usually, they were few and far between and they came from families that could afford to pay for their higher education and/or could afford child care and home care because all of the household chores were done by the woman even if she worked.
Also, in those days, if a couple didn't  have children, by their own choice, they were considered selfish. People who couldn't have children for physical reasons were sympathized with and those who didn't marry were considered to be unhappy and unfulfilled. Fortunately, times have changed and so have our viewpoints.
twj

 
libralady wrote:
(edited by twj)...

Also, I wish that we knew more about them in the beginning years of their marriage.  I would like to know why they decided to have children when it appears that neither of them is too thrilled with their adult children.


 

Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)


VictoriousMary wrote:

 

How sad. I am wondering how the book ever got the title "Believers" and I am also waiting to see the humor of it all. At this moment it seems a rather tragic book.


I too am waiting for the humor.  I chose this book because it supposedly humorous but I'm not seeing it.  I find it more depressing than humorous.  Jo
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Prologue and Part I (Ch. 1-4)

Hi Jo and Mary,
If you keep reading the book, you may find the humor, however, I think it is easier to find the humor if you know a little bit about Jewish culture and the hippie movement than if you don't. Each of the characters so far, seem driven by some idea and that is why I think the title is appropriate. It will remain to be seen as we read on.
twj

Jo6353 wrote:

VictoriousMary wrote:

 

How sad. I am wondering how the book ever got the title "Believers" and I am also waiting to see the humor of it all. At this moment it seems a rather tragic book.


I too am waiting for the humor.  I chose this book because it supposedly humorous but I'm not seeing it.  I find it more depressing than humorous.  Jo