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bibanon1
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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

I really like the setting of this one. I think the whole game warden angle is great!  Mike's father is set up to be something of a jerk but I think we see that Mike isn't exactly perfect after learning of his dealings with his girlfriend. The father-son relationship should be interesting.

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

Reading this, a thought occurred to me that didn't when I read it---that Mike and this young boy parallel Mike's dad and DeSalle.  The argumentative nature, the rather shy child?  Perhaps that is why Mike is drawn to the boy's reactions to the confrontations---he identifies with the boy's feelings.  We'll find out, I guess! <grin>

 

--Barb


chris227 wrote:

I also got the feeling that the boy might not be DeSalle's son.  It seems as if this event is foreshadowing something to come.  I can't imagine that this upsetting scene is just an isolated event.  The only other thing I could think of was that it reminded Mike of outings with his father?

 

 


Bonnie_C wrote:

I agree that the scene with DeSalle was unsettling.  But I thought Mike handled himself beautifully.  He intended only to say hello.  DeSalle is the one who started the ugliness.  Mike kept his cool and even tried to reach out to the young boy by giving him his dropped fishing rods and telling him he hopes he catches a big one.  I was impressed that a 24 year old had that level of maturity to stay calm.

 

For some reason, I really wondered if the boy was actually DeSalle's son.  Maybe he's a stepson that DeSalle felt was forced on him.  Maybe that's why he only has the one life vest. I also get the feeling that the kid's day was not going to be a happy one whether he spent the day with DeSalle in his new boat or riding back home in DeSalle's new truck after being fined by a game warden.  I can only hope he took comfort in the fact that not all adults act like DeSalle.

 

I think we may see more of these characters later on.  But that is just a guess on my part.


 


 

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Re: On another note

Oh, I thought the very same thing!  The contrast of the peacefulness in EOTW with the evil/danger of TPS in the same basic setting.  The two sides of humans within the same natural environment, which just goes to show our impact on our habitat and how WE create the mood of a place.

 

I'm reading another book A Year In The Maine Woods by Bernd Heinrich, coincidentally, and not by choice!

I need to think about all of this Maine-ness in my life!

 

--Barb

 

 


chris227 wrote:

Chapter 3 opened with crows and their "harsh, quarreling voices" and all I could think was Maery would be so mad with the negative reference!


 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

 


Shaggy68 wrote:

I think Mike saw himself in the boy.   Perhaps he was reaching out to the boy by being a figure of authority.  An officer who is doing what is right and according to the law would be a very respectable adult figure to look up too.


 

I also felt this way. Like Mike was acting protectively. His actions toward DeSalle's violations and attitude seemed more for the boy's sake than for DeSalle's.

 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7


LastWord wrote:
In a way, I think Peppermill and I agree with each other. I also feel that the bear subplot is overshadowing what I assumed was the main plot --- the murders. Because I had a preconceived notion that this was a traditional mystery, I came to the book thinking that "whodunit" was the central question the book was going to answer. Now I'm not so sure. I think the central question isn't really "whodunit" but "can Mike find his father and come to terms with the past?"  
That said, I do love the story of Mike and Bud Thompson and the bear. Not as crazy about the LaSalle subplot, though I see why the author uses it. As others have pointed out, I think Mike relates to the boy and is trying to make LaSalle obey the law as Mike wished his own father did. 

Peppermill wrote:

 


LastWord wrote  (excerpt):

 

I have to say that I absolutely love the bear subplot. That is my favorite aspect of the book thus far.


 

I love how each of us reads differently -- for me, the bear subplot is getting in the way of learning what is happening at the murder site!  Thanks for sharing that viewpoint; it will help me enjoy the bear story, too.

 


As far as the LaSalle incident, I got the impression that Mike used LaSalle as a scapegoat, lashing out and provoking him because of the inner turmoil he was experiencing with his own father.  It seemed almost like Mike knew there would be repercussions from this incident and knew he would be beaten down from his superiors for egging on LaSalle, sort of a continuation of how his father treated him in childhood.

 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7


debbaker wrote:

Sorry it has taken me so long to join in. I have been overwhelmed. So here goes-----Mike keeps talking about being a loner--I am not sure whether it is true or not. He seems to be torn between two aspects of his personality. He both loves and hates his father. His mother and Sarah seem similiar, which brings up even more questions. Mike is a very conflicted character.

 

Mike's job seems to follow parts of his father's life as well as be against parts of his father's life. Jack is damaged--he has seen things that most of us never will see and that has changed him. I think the biggest tragedy of any war is how it breaks down the views of the men and women involved in the conflict. Jack is struggling with something that happened to him or by him during the war. I have known men who served in Vietnam and it deeply affected their relationships with everything and everyone. I actually like Jack to a certain extent--I am not sure why. Possibly because I think he distanced himself from his family because he didn't trust himself any longer. That is a type of misplaced love. He seems to care in spite of himself.

 

I am not sure how I feel about Sarah. The distraction of trying to keep up with your college friends can be overwhelming and have devastating effects. It can turn you bitter and overly critical. I don't know if that is truly the way Sarah is. Mike and Sarah needed to come to an understanding of their expectations for each other and marriage. They obviously didn't before marriage--the mistakes of the young and inexperienced--we have all been there.

 

The bear thing seemed to me like an interesting interlude much like the clown's role in tragic theater. It lightens the mood in the face of dark circumstances. I was not sure of the purpose of it.

 

As others I initially struggled with Mike and DeSalle. But I agree that Mike did not intentionally bait the guy. The guy was rude and overbearing. Mike responded the way he was supposed to officially. I think that Mike felt for the boy but also saw standing up to DeSalle as a way to stand up to his own father. A test of wills. DeSalle ended up looking like a fool in front of his son. While I worry about the boy I also wonder if it somehow shows the boy that his father is not the end all and be all of the world. He can eventually grow up and overcome his father's bad behavior. Maybe the boy can see his father for what he is at least for a moment.

 

The thing I did wonder about was the way the police were treating Mike when he came in to talk to them. They didn't call him, he came in voluntarily and got treated like a suspect. He is a fellow officer. It definitely made me unsympathetic to the police handling the case at this point.

 

I have many questions at this point. Is Jack innocent? Will Mike be able to repair the relationship with his father? Will Mike and Sarah find a way to make things work or will Mike finally let go and move on? Why was the officer so gungho to go after Jack? Who is the guy in the bar and what does he have to do with the events going on? I am not sure whether the story of the POW will come back into the story or not. Are we making more out of that than there really is?

 

So many questions. Only further reading will tell.

 

 


 

I, too, had a lot of the same questions and suspects.  I even went one further.  I started suspecting Kathy Frost of possibly being involved in the murder along with the police department and/or Sheriff Joe Hatch..

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

 

What is Mike Bowditch like? What about his father?

 The phrases "life father like son," and "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" come to my mind.  some others have hit on the emotionally unavailable quality of these two.  Jack is scarred further by his war experiences and Mike is scarred from the family experience of the war that was his parent's marriage.

 

 

What are the romantic relationships like that have been described this far into the novel? What was Mike's relationship with Sarah like? Many people have the ability to charm and work with people, but I think it's classic that Mike has chosen a position of authority to markedly separate himself from others, especially his father.  Jack has separated himself by skirting the law and living a hermit's life.  These types can draw "fixers" - people that want to fix them - but these guys don't want to be fixed adn therefore, unless they can match up with someone willing to accept them for the selfish bastards they can be, they'll never be successful mates.

 

How do Mike's attitudes so far seem similar to and different from the people around him? 

He seems to sympathize and even identify with the populace, which can help him in the long run as a law enforcement agent, but the fact that he is in law enforcement will inevitably separate him from others through his perspective on the other side of the thin blue line.

 

What are your early expectations for the story? What has shaped your sense of what to expect?

I expect that Jack will be an unchanging personality, but the story will be a catalyst for Mike to better understand why his father acts as he does.  I don't think they will magically hug and start having Sunday dinners weekly, sharing feelings and painting each other's toenails.  I don't even think Mike will like his father any more than he does at present, but he may come to peace with himself and his father, and accept who he is.

 


 

 

"The Answer to the Great Question of ... Life, the Universe and Everything ... (is) 42." -- Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7


What is Mike Bowditch like?  What about his father?

I agree that Mike Bowditch is a private person who enjoys and values his solitude.  His statement on page 10, where he talks about how he feels a little after 2 months since Sarah's departure captures it:

 

"And I missed her-and counted the days since she'd gone away. But I was relieved, too.  Relieved that I no longer had to justify emotions to anyone else.  I could spend the night alone in the woods searching for a dead pig and be content in a way that made absolutely no sense to anyone who wasn't a game warden.  With Sarah gone, I could love this solitary and morbid profession without excuses and not have to look too deeply into the dark of myself."

 

Mike's fondness for visiting the people in his town and the relationships that he's built with the other wardens and the residents of the town shows that he is social.  He seems to do better than his father insofar as he does have solid relationships in the community.  Mike also has a better handle on his temper - there are few accounts of sudden violence and dangerous behavior.

 

 

What are the romantic relationships like that have been described this far into the novel? What was Mike's relationship with Sarah like?

 

The romantic relationships in the novel, in these first 7 chapters, reveal the ways that the Mike and his father  have failed their wives expectations. Mike and his father prefer to live near the woods/wild and in ways that let them control their time and enjoy the wild while giving up more lucrative salaries.  They aren't willing to give up their current lifestyles or jobs to satisfy their wives. 

 


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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

What is Mike Bowditch like? What about his father?

Mike is a guy who loves his job as Warden.  He loves nature, but beyond that he loves helping people and making their lives easier.  He helps others even if they don't appreciate it, and takes a positive outlook on his and Sarah's breakup.  He's seems like a really nice guy.  His father, however, does not.  His father has a longstanding criminal record and is quick to fight about anything.  He has a bit of a drinking problem.  Despite all of this, there's a hint that he does care, just the tiniest bit, about his son.

 

What are the romantic relationships like that have been described this far into the novel? What was Mike's relationship with Sarah like?

Mike and Sarah seemed to have a relatively good relationship, but Sarah wasn't comfortable with the life Mike was leading.  She didn't like his job of Game Warden and was worried that he wasn't making enough money.  Eventually, the two distanced themselves from each other and broke up.

 

What are your early expectations for the story? What has shaped your sense of what to expect?

I hope that Mike ad his father will sit down and talk about what has been going on the past couple of years between them, and become closer and more in touch with each other.  I also hope Mike will be able to talk to his dad and help him get his life back in line.

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

dhaupt, I like your take on the book. I think these characters are going to be more complicated than I first thought.

 

I was thinking that Mike's dad was the POW. I am not sure were that will go yet.

 

I love to read mysteries and try to figure out what the mystery is before the end. I especially like it when I can figure it out til the end.

 

I need to catch up. I will work on that this weekend.

 

The dad looks a very complicated man. He difinitely has many issues but we may not know what caused them.

 

I look forward to reading more of your posts on this book.

 

How did you like the teen read Before I fall? I really liked it and think all teens and pre-teens should read it.

 

Talk to you soon..

 

ReadingPatti

 

 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

Mike Bowditch to me in the story is a lonely man who is scared of commitment. He is also very afraid to be open and show his emotions even to the people he is most close to, like his parents and partner. It also seems to me that he tries to fill a void in his life that his father left. Mike's dad seems to be a very complicated man who also has a hard time showing his emotions which leads him to alcohol and divorcing Mike's mother. 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

 


Bonnie_C wrote:

I agree that the scene with DeSalle was unsettling.  But I thought Mike handled himself beautifully.  He intended only to say hello.  DeSalle is the one who started the ugliness.  Mike kept his cool and even tried to reach out to the young boy by giving him his dropped fishing rods and telling him he hopes he catches a big one.  I was impressed that a 24 year old had that level of maturity to stay calm.

 

For some reason, I really wondered if the boy was actually DeSalle's son.  Maybe he's a stepson that DeSalle felt was forced on him.  Maybe that's why he only has the one life vest. I also get the feeling that the kid's day was not going to be a happy one whether he spent the day with DeSalle in his new boat or riding back home in DeSalle's new truck after being fined by a game warden.  I can only hope he took comfort in the fact that not all adults act like DeSalle.

 

I think we may see more of these characters later on.  But that is just a guess on my part.


I agree with you that the scene was unsettling but I also viewed it as Mike doing his job. He did handle himself "beautifully". DeSalle overreacted and when that happens I believe most law enforcement officers would have done exactly what Mike did. Mike certainly may have felt some connection to the boy and it may have reminded him of his childhood was but I don't think it distracted him from doing what he needed to do. I think DeSalle was a jerk and probably acted like Mike's father had in the past but I felt he was the one out of line. It wouldn't have gotten to the place it did if he had respected Mike's authority.

 

 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

What is Mike Bowditch like? What about his father?

Mike seems like a loner who still has issues with his father about the past and present.  He also seems like someone who wants to live by his own rules and not go with what is expected, like becoming a Game Warden and resisiting Sarah's plans for him to go on to Law School.  Mike's father seems as if his experience with the war has made him a different person who has a hard time living with other people and following societies rules.  His drinking and womanizing cost him his wife and son and it seems like he has never really grown up.

 

What are the romantic relationships like that have been described this far into the novel? What was Mike's relationship with Sarah like?

Mike and Sarah seemed to have a superficial relationship, she wanted one thing and he wanted to be able to do his own thing.  Not sure if he is pushing her away because he wants to be alone or because he has seen his parents relationship and doesn't know how to have a functional one.  His mother sounds like she is happily remarried and his father seems happy with his choice to be free.

 

How do Mike's attitudes so far seem similar to and different from the people around him?

He seems to share a love of nature with the other wardens and not really talk to the people at the cafe, like he interacts superficially but has never really invested in the town.

 

What are your early expectations for the story? What has shaped your sense of what to expect?

I haven't read the back cover or watched the trailer because I wanted to form my own thoughts about this book, I hate to use someone else's picture of the characters or the setting so I usually wait until I have my own to explore those other outlets.  I wasn't sure what this was going to be like, I was reminded of ETOW with the setting in Maine and of The Postmistress when his father is telling him the story about WWII.

 


 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7


fordmg wrote:

krb2g wrote:

This opening section left me wondering how the incident with the bear eating the pig fit in. I wondered if the bear was supposed to metaphorically stand for someone in the story (so far, I can't think of anyone) or if it was just an excuse to let us hear about Mike's ex-girlfriend Sarah. Incidentally, I think he mentions her because she'll have more of a role to play in the story.

 

Generally Mike seems like a good guy. I'm interested in his relationship with his father (which seems really rough at this point) and curious as to whom the woman on the answering machine is.


 

I think the description of the bear eating the pig is a way to show what life as a game warden is.  I am not thinking of any metaphorical thoughts to the story.   Mike tells us about Sarah because he still has deep feelings for her.  We may see her again, I'm not sure, but it gives us a description of Mike being a loner, by choice, not necessarily because of his job.

 

MG


 

I am not totally convinced that Mike has strong feelings for Sarah.  It felt like he just wanted to do things his own way and was always expecting her to leave so he never let himself depend on her too much, but he also pushed her away.  Perhaps as a product of divorce he doesn't have a good internal understanding of what marriage takes, although since his mom happily remarried and he was with her most of the time he did see two different marriages.

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7


becke_davis wrote:

 


babzilla41 wrote:

I'm still trying to figure out why Mike was pushing DeSalle so hard.  Although it is his job to make sure boat registrations are up to date and life preservers are on board etc, he also knew that he was antagonizing DeSalle to the point where he was taking his anger out on his little boy.  Mike knew the kid was in for it beacuse he was throwing his authority around.  If he saw himself in the little boy, it doesn't make sense that he would put him in that position.  He knew that DeSalle was hard on the kid because when he fell from the boat he told him "Don't you cry. Don't you cry."  By the end of that passage, I disliked both DeSalle and Mike.


 

I think Mike saw himself in the boy. And when he was that age, he did what his dad asked of him even if it was uncomfortable.

 


 

I thought it had to do with his own childhood as well and to try to impress on the father that his son was learning from his actions just as he learned from his own father, perhaps it is even an admission that he knows some of his problems have come from what he learned from his own father.  At the same time I doubt this father was getting his message anyway.

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

Warden Mike Bowditch is a 24 year-old rookie with less than a year on the job in the mid coast woods of Maine.  He’s searching for a bear that has stolen Bud Thompson’s pig only to find the pig lying dead on the ground uncovered by the bear.  While questioning Bud he finds that the two of them have something in common, their partners have left them behind.  Mike likes it that way at this point in his life although he misses Sarah a lot, she had much higher expectations of Mike, wanted him to be a lawyer instead of a Warden in the Maine Warden Service.  The phone message he receives from his father that he’s not seen nor heard from in over two years puzzles him and can’t help feeling that something is up.

 

Two years previous to this night Sarah and Mike went fishing in Rangeley and on the way met Jack Bowditch, Mike’s father, in Dead River Inn near Flagstaff.  A lot of bikers, hikers and locals were at the bar on a busy night, needless to say this was not a nice place for a young pretty woman to be walking around alone.  A fight breaks out when Sarah is being bothered by a couple of biker guys and Mike gets hit by a beer bottle bringing him to the floor, his father is hauled off to jail but doesn’t worry because he feels he’ll be out by morning because the charges won’t stick.  When Mike goes to check on him his father is gone from the jail just like he told Mike the night before.

 

Anthony DeSalle wanted to take his son fishing but neglected to have the proper equipment required by the state of Maine aboard, he did as some do (bad attitude) to get out of a ticket but Warden Bowditch did his job by not allowing him to proceed and ticketing him for his flagrance to the situation.  It was sad that Mr. DeSalle acted so badly in front of his son.

 

I felt that the treatment he received by the officers was very unprofessional, just because Jack was his father doesn’t mean that Mike will be a cop killer as well.  Mike was trying his very hard to believe that his father didn’t commit the crime that he was being accused of by offering his help as best as he could.

 

This story also reminds me of the Jesse Stone stories from Robert Parker.

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

What is Mike Bowditch like? What about his father?

Mike Bowditch is a lonely character. He lives alone and his job is his work. He follows the law and takes his job very seriously. An example of this is when he wouldn't let the father and son out on the river because they didn't have the correct number of floatation devices. His father is a sort of wild man. He is described as not brushing his hair. He likes to drink. He hits on Sarah so it seems he is a womanizer. Mike and his father do not have the best relationship. 

 

What are the romantic relationships like that have been described this far into the novel? What was Mike's relationship with Sarah like? Mike's father and mother split up when he was younger. Sarah wanted more from Mike, thought he would eventually become a lawyer, she expected more from him. He drove her away kind of.

 

How do Mike's attitudes so far seem similar to and different from the people around him? The people of the town seem to be really freaked out by nature, like the bear. He tries to calm people down and say that the bear attacks are a rare occurrence and that he is not likely to come back, but the people of the town seem to really fear whatever it is. He seems to take a logical approach to things, where the people in the town seem to not as much.

 

What are your early expectations for the story? What has shaped your sense of what to expect? I think chapter 7 leaves the reader wanting more. We find out that Mike's father is accused of murder. We find out that he escaped and another officer is now hurt.  I was really getting into the book at this point.

 

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

Hi Patti, it's good to see you here too. I'm glad you're liking the book. I'm reading on schedule so I'll be going past chapter 7 this weekend.

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

I'm up to chapter 19 now. Debated reading more but decided to take it slow. Lots happening!!

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Re: The Poacher's Son, Early Chapters: 1-7

What is Mike Bowditch like? What about his father?  Mike seems to be too hard on himself, internalizing his father's poor parenting (and his mother's) as a stain on himself as a human being.  I think that he wants to redeem his father (every child loves their parent no matter how terrible the parent is) but that causes him to idenfity with his dad, disparaging himself in the process.  His father may have gone through the same type of childhood and didn't have the strength (or a parent like Mike's mother to remove him from the situation, at least somewhat) and wound up repeating his parents' mistakes.  His father exemplifies a lot of traits of alcoholism.  I think that he's a very troubled man, but he does love his son though probably remains stoic most of the time against him for a variety of reasons (wanting to be detached for his own emotional sake, for Mike's emotional sake, because he can't relate to others well, anxiety, etc.).

 

What are the romantic relationships like that have been described this far into the novel? What was Mike's relationship with Sarah like?  I'm not quite sure what I think about Sarah yet.  She seems to be materialistic, but I'm not sure if that's just Mike's view of her from what we know so far or if she really is.  Perhaps Mike subconciously tries to find ways to make her seem unreachable or incompatible with him so that he doesn't have to continue the relationship.  Maybe he's afraid of being close to someone and would rather pour hiimself into a career and live as a hermit - mirroring his father's emotional state in a way - instead of engage in a real relationship, which can always turn messy but also has the reward of being really satisfying and beautiful.  He probably has trust issues.

 

How do Mike's attitudes so far seem similar to and different from the people around him?  Mike seems to be more reserved and cautious.  He has a big sense of pressure and responsibility, but it's not always to the people who he's working with and for.  It seems to be something internal, like he's challenging himself but not always in a positive way.  He seems like he really needs to open up and let people in.

 

What are your early expectations for the story? What has shaped your sense of what to expect?  I'm curious to see if Mike and Sarah rekindle their relationship.  I'm wondering if he gets involved with Kathy?  I want to find out more about Mike's childhood and wonder if there are clues in his past that will lead to him helping to uncover what really happened with the shooting.