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Goodword
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

What I am enjoying about the book is that these conflicts feel very real--of course, Bernard would have no idea about Rachel's pregnancy and want a fuss made over Aimee's.  Certainly Rachel would feel deflated, but be wise enough to let her announcement wait, and it's completely natural that she would have told only her mother before. Teddy would be angry.  Virginia would be angry.  I wonder if Bernard would have still made his announcement had he known about Rachel--that would reveal even more about his character.

 

While there are surprises thrown into the plot, they are all absolutely believable and right for the characters.

 

 

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dhaupt
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

 

literature wrote:

 

Hi dhaupt,

 

I agree with you here about Bernard.  Virginia was the only other person who knew about the pregnacy.  You can't count Joe knowing, after all Virginia did tell him that "Rachel has confided in me something wonderful".   There was no way that Bernard could have known, unless he detected that pregnacy glow in Rachel but Bernard isn't exactly tuned into other people's psyche.  I just thought it was in bad taste to make their announcement in Teddy's presence.  After Bernard made his announcement, would it have been so terrible for Dennis or Rachel to have made their announcement?  Two women, each having their first babies at the same time.  This is a very common thing, maybe just not between this particular stepmother and stepdaughter.  Bernard probably thought that Virginia would shower Aimee with some maternal TLC, Rachel would join in and even Teddy might have shown some tenderness for Bernard and Aimee.

Literature

 

 

dhaupt wrote:

I'm a little surprised that a lot of us are railing on Bernard here. Maybe someone can enlighten me. I thought (correct me if I'm wrong) that no one but Virginia knew about Rachel's pregnancy.

That Bernard and Virginia have an amicable divorce and relationship with each other and their respective current spouses. I don't remember reading that Aimee broke up Bernard's and Virginia's marriage.

Rachel invited everyone for Thanksgiving, so I don't see how Bernard upstaged something he didn't have a clue about.

Help me out here.

 

 

 

 

 

Literature, I too wondered why Rachel didn't simply add to the "good news".

Thanks

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dhaupt
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

 

Bonnie_C wrote:

 

I don't blame Bernard for the ado over Thanksgiving dinner.  Virginia was very shocked to find out that Rachel was pregnant.  As a matter of fact she was beginning to wonder if Rachel would ever have children.  So Bernard would not have a clue as to what was going on. 

 

Rachel is known as a peace maker.  By her hosting the Thanksgiving dinner, this was probably seen as an attempt to get the family together and smooth relations between Bernard and Teddy.

 

The debate might be if this was an appropriate time for Bernard to unveil his surprise.  He had really big news.  This was the kind of news that most folks would consider a happy event.

 

I thought it was a shame that Teddy acted the way he did.  Even if he wasn't on board with the announcement, at least he could have the decency to keep his mouth shut and not ruin the meal for everyone else.  He could take up his personal issues with Bernard later.

 

If that had happened, then there was nothing to keep Rachel from standing up and saying, "That's great, Dad.  And guess what?  You are also about to become a grandfather!"

 

Bernard may not win father of the year.  Heaven knows he has his faults.  But Teddy is just a brat.

 

 

Bonnie, I agree with your summation of Teddy's actions.

 

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MSaff
Posts: 272
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

Good Day Everyone,

 

  I have to admit that these middle chapters were a little easier for me to grasp and really follow.  I have found myself drawn to Nancy and her story.  The typical mystery as I would put it, but there's also intrigue and sorrow woven into the plot.  Anyway that's my take. 

 

  As for the love in each of the families, I'm sure it's there, but in some cases it's hard to find.  Bernard and Aimie are certainly in dire straits at this point.  Gillian and her husband appear to be OK, but I am worried about Paul.  He seems lost and I don't think that he knows who to turn to for help.  I do hope the he gets the attention he needs, whether he moves back with his mother or stays with his father and Gillian. 

 

  The one couple that is happy is Nancy and Oates, as well as their extended family.  The marriage of Nancy and Oates at the end of the middle section gives us hope.

 

 

 

Rachel-K wrote:

In the middle chapters, we also move more deeply into the family circles of each of the Leopardis, including the marriage of Nancy and Oates, the pregnancies of Aimee and Rachel, and the strong hint of trouble for Bernard and Aimee. 

 

 

 

 

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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Bonnie_C
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

I don't' understand why Paul is not living with his mother.  He has friends there and seemed to be comfortable with his old school.  This kid is a train wreck waiting to happen.  I would only hope some adult can step in and give him the guidance and support he needs.

 

I was eating breakfast when I read the chapter about Gillian.  I almost choked on my Raisin Bran.  What an evil individual!  She doesn't care if Paul leaves and lives with his mother, but only if she says that's what needs to be done.  She wants Adam to see her with Jerry so the knife is twisted in him a bit more.    Is it any wonder that someone may be behind the wheel of a car heading for her?  I could almost imagine it being me being the driver.

 

Kudos to the author for developing characters that illicit that kind of emotion from the reader.

 

Bonnie

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RebaJane
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

I was surprised that Bernard would not have figured out that Rachel had something she wanted to say at Thanksgiving dinner considering that she brought them altogether, including her brother, which is not a normal Thanksgiving for them. I also find it extremely rude to make any type of grand statement at a dinner to which you have been invited, unless you have cleared it with the host/hostess first. I find that as much as Bernard likes to style himself as worldly, he has no concept of etiquette or manners. In fact, I find him an enormous bore.

 

I was not surprised that Virginia didn't set Bernard straight. She didn't set him straight because she didn't feel it was her place to set him straight and that if she had, that would embarrass Rachel even more. Virginia is the type of mother that knows when to step in and knows when to keep quiet. She knows these things because she knows her children. To me, this scene speaks volumes about the type of family life Virginia and Bernard had when they were married -- Virginia was very involved with her children and understood them while Bernard stayed in the background and never got to know them.

Gillian doesn't have a maternal role with Paul -- having Paul live with them is a game for her that she is playing against Paul's mother. Paul is just another pawn in Gillian's game of life. To me, nothing is real with Gillian, it's all just a made-up game with made-up rules.

 

Gillian wanted Adam to see that she was too good for him; that having a relationship with him was out of the question because of their stations in life. Her reaction to Kim was just another part of her game -- she doesn't want Adam but she wants him to want her and to not have someone to turn to.

I believe that Chris is a terrible husband but a wonderful father. His ex-wife is still trying to punish him for being a terrible husband and is not considering the fact that she is hurting two young boys in the process. Unlike Bernard, Chris wants to be involved in his sons' lives but is kept from that by their mother.

 

Deirdre is cast as the normal mother figure -- best interests at heart that come across as bossiness and nosiness to her child. She knows that Nancy was closer to her father than to her and she wants that closeness too but doesn't know quite how to go about getting it.

 

I really like Nancy's relationship with Oates. He's a no-nonsense kind of guy who understands her completely and loves her no matter what. It was nice to see Aliki so excited that they were going to get married and to see Oates sort of get around all of Nancy's arguments and insecurities.

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crazyakchick
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

dhaupt wrote:

I'm a little surprised that a lot of us are railing on Bernard here. Maybe someone can enlighten me. I thought (correct me if I'm wrong) that no one but Virginia knew about Rachel's pregnancy.

That Bernard and Virginia have an amicable divorce and relationship with each other and their respective current spouses. I don't remember reading that Aimee broke up Bernard's and Virginia's marriage.

Rachel invited everyone for Thanksgiving, so I don't see how Bernard upstaged something he didn't have a clue about.

Help me out here.

 

i was upset with bernard for spoiling the thanksgiving meal with his announcement, but i did realize it wasn't fair to expect him to know that it was supposed to be rachel's day.  i was, however, irritated with him for not realizing his faux pas after he found out she was pregnant.  if he ever thought about anyone but himself, he may have put two and two together. 

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dhaupt
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

Bonnie, I was choking on my coffee reading about your Raisin Bran statement. ;-)

What a witch Gillian is.

I been doing some thinking about Paul and I think the reason he chose to live with his father and Gillian is merely a form of independence from his mom, a sort of rite of passage or coming of age statement from him being able to be more involved in his own life even if it's just being able to decide where he lives. I hope he doesn't live to regret it as his step-mom is a snake.

 

 

Bonnie_C wrote:

I don't' understand why Paul is not living with his mother.  He has friends there and seemed to be comfortable with his old school.  This kid is a train wreck waiting to happen.  I would only hope some adult can step in and give him the guidance and support he needs.

 

I was eating breakfast when I read the chapter about Gillian.  I almost choked on my Raisin Bran.  What an evil individual!  She doesn't care if Paul leaves and lives with his mother, but only if she says that's what needs to be done.  She wants Adam to see her with Jerry so the knife is twisted in him a bit more.    Is it any wonder that someone may be behind the wheel of a car heading for her?  I could almost imagine it being me being the driver.

 

Kudos to the author for developing characters that illicit that kind of emotion from the reader.

 

Bonnie

 

 

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dhaupt
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

carztakchick, And I think you just hit the nail on the head of Bernard's biggest problem that whole the world revolves around only me syndrome.

But I still think it was over reacted to at the celebration. But I do agree with you that after the fact Bernard should have at least tried to comfort Rachel.

Thanks for your response, I am seeing new ways to look at these characters thanks to all the response.

 

crazyakchick wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

I'm a little surprised that a lot of us are railing on Bernard here. Maybe someone can enlighten me. I thought (correct me if I'm wrong) that no one but Virginia knew about Rachel's pregnancy.

That Bernard and Virginia have an amicable divorce and relationship with each other and their respective current spouses. I don't remember reading that Aimee broke up Bernard's and Virginia's marriage.

Rachel invited everyone for Thanksgiving, so I don't see how Bernard upstaged something he didn't have a clue about.

Help me out here.

 

i was upset with bernard for spoiling the thanksgiving meal with his announcement, but i did realize it wasn't fair to expect him to know that it was supposed to be rachel's day.  i was, however, irritated with him for not realizing his faux pas after he found out she was pregnant.  if he ever thought about anyone but himself, he may have put two and two together. 

 

 

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Bonnie_C
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

Debbie,

You certainly have a point about Paul.  I guess we also need to keep in mind that he is just a kid and may not always know the best thing to do.

 

Enjoy your coffee.

 

Bonnie

dhaupt wrote:

Bonnie, I was choking on my coffee reading about your Raisin Bran statement. ;-)

What a witch Gillian is.

I been doing some thinking about Paul and I think the reason he chose to live with his father and Gillian is merely a form of independence from his mom, a sort of rite of passage or coming of age statement from him being able to be more involved in his own life even if it's just being able to decide where he lives. I hope he doesn't live to regret it as his step-mom is a snake.

 

 

Bonnie_C wrote:

I don't' understand why Paul is not living with his mother.  He has friends there and seemed to be comfortable with his old school.  This kid is a train wreck waiting to happen.  I would only hope some adult can step in and give him the guidance and support he needs.

 

I was eating breakfast when I read the chapter about Gillian.  I almost choked on my Raisin Bran.  What an evil individual!  She doesn't care if Paul leaves and lives with his mother, but only if she says that's what needs to be done.  She wants Adam to see her with Jerry so the knife is twisted in him a bit more.    Is it any wonder that someone may be behind the wheel of a car heading for her?  I could almost imagine it being me being the driver.

 

Kudos to the author for developing characters that illicit that kind of emotion from the reader.

 

Bonnie

 

 

 

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anne_dutch
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

I see a bigger problem with the fact that Bernard never pieced together that Rachel had intended to make the announcement at her dinner. I can't really blame him for seizing the opportunity to share his own news, but c'mon, really? Your daughter calls you very shortly thereafter to tell you she's pregnant, and it never crosses your mind that she MIGHT have intended to make that announcement???

 

Gillian seems to dramatize everything in her life, as if she considers herself to be starring in her own novel. She "cares" for Paul and leads Adam on because it makes her a more powerful character in her own mind.

you can call me al.
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rujama
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

I think Bernard and Jerry think mainly of themselves or what will benefit them from a situation. Jerry misses Gillian when she is gone, so much so that he gets depressed but he seemingly ignores Paul. Jerry doesn't even pick up on the clues that Paul is having problems. As far as Bernard goes, he tends to not notice a lot of things that if's almost pathetic. I don't know that he is just thinking of himself all the time but that he just doesn't have a clue of what is going on around him unless it is directly told to him. I really like Chris as a father, he makes sure he has his time with his boys. I really like his character, I would like to know more of him. 

 

Oh my goodness Deirdre! I swear this is my own mother. How real she came to life for me. She means well but goodness you have to bite your tongue constantly. It's obvious that Nancy's father had a huge impact on her life. His morals and the way he lived his life for others put him in the all time father's hall of fame. What a great character. 

 

Gillian is just a B***** she should never have been allowed to be in a maternal roll. She believes she is above everyone, she toys with them all. 

 

Virginia, I love her. She is the perfect mother. She is a strong women but very insightful and caring. She chooses her words careful and thinks before she speaks. She loves her children so much, what a warm character she is. 

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literature
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

dhaupt wrote:

 

Bonnie_C wrote:

 

I don't blame Bernard for the ado over Thanksgiving dinner.  Virginia was very shocked to find out that Rachel was pregnant.  As a matter of fact she was beginning to wonder if Rachel would ever have children.  So Bernard would not have a clue as to what was going on. 

 

Rachel is known as a peace maker.  By her hosting the Thanksgiving dinner, this was probably seen as an attempt to get the family together and smooth relations between Bernard and Teddy.

 

The debate might be if this was an appropriate time for Bernard to unveil his surprise.  He had really big news.  This was the kind of news that most folks would consider a happy event.

 

I thought it was a shame that Teddy acted the way he did.  Even if he wasn't on board with the announcement, at least he could have the decency to keep his mouth shut and not ruin the meal for everyone else.  He could take up his personal issues with Bernard later.

 

If that had happened, then there was nothing to keep Rachel from standing up and saying, "That's great, Dad.  And guess what?  You are also about to become a grandfather!"

 

Bernard may not win father of the year.  Heaven knows he has his faults.  But Teddy is just a brat.

 

 

Bonnie, I agree with your summation of Teddy's actions.

 

Hi Debbie and Bonnie,

Bernard had to make the announcement once they were at Thanksgiving; otherwise, think of poor Aimee.  How could she sit there bursting with her news and not have Bernard, or even she, make the annoucement.

Literature 

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literature
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

My take on why Paul is living with his father and Gillian is because Gillian, being Gillian, used her influence to get him into The Academy to take him away from his mother.  I think Paul mentions when he's trying to decide where to go next  year, that having attended The Academy would look better on a college application than listing having graduated from his local high school in Connecticut.  Gillian probably used the same logic when trying to convince Jerry to have Paul live with them.

Literature

 

Bonnie_C wrote:

Debbie,

You certainly have a point about Paul.  I guess we also need to keep in mind that he is just a kid and may not always know the best thing to do.

 

Enjoy your coffee.

 

Bonnie

dhaupt wrote:

Bonnie, I was choking on my coffee reading about your Raisin Bran statement. ;-)

What a witch Gillian is.

I been doing some thinking about Paul and I think the reason he chose to live with his father and Gillian is merely a form of independence from his mom, a sort of rite of passage or coming of age statement from him being able to be more involved in his own life even if it's just being able to decide where he lives. I hope he doesn't live to regret it as his step-mom is a snake.

 

 

Bonnie_C wrote:

I don't' understand why Paul is not living with his mother.  He has friends there and seemed to be comfortable with his old school.  This kid is a train wreck waiting to happen.  I would only hope some adult can step in and give him the guidance and support he needs.

 

I was eating breakfast when I read the chapter about Gillian.  I almost choked on my Raisin Bran.  What an evil individual!  She doesn't care if Paul leaves and lives with his mother, but only if she says that's what needs to be done.  She wants Adam to see her with Jerry so the knife is twisted in him a bit more.    Is it any wonder that someone may be behind the wheel of a car heading for her?  I could almost imagine it being me being the driver.

 

Kudos to the author for developing characters that illicit that kind of emotion from the reader.

 

Bonnie

 

 

 

 

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bettymac
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

Virginia is stronger than I am. At Jillian's Christmas party, I would have had to tell Bernard that Rebecca had planned to announce her pregnancy at the Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe Virginia is so over Bernard and so happy with  Jim that she really doesn't want to discuss anything with him but books. She doesn't want to be embroiled in his  problems.

 

Bernard's relationship with Aimee is intriguing. He seems afraid of her. I'm sure it was hard for him to admit to Virginia that he didn't "know" they were trying to have a baby. 

He seems sometimes like the absent-minded professor.

Betty

"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread. ~François Mauriac
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EiLvReedn
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

Compare the fathers whose stories we know in the novel so far? Nancy's only real hesitation about her marriage, she realizes, is that her father will not be there. Do Nancy's memories of him affect how you read any of the other fathers in the story?

Not really, it to me is personal to Nancy and she hasn't shared much of it with the others. I believe only Oates would compare and he is technically not a father.

 

Compare motherhood as we see it portrayed by various characters so far in the novel: Virginia, Deirdre, Nancy, and Gillian. (Neither Rachel or Aimee have much experience yet!) Virginia, definitely a mother who cares, same for Nancy but since her daughter isn't home thru the novel it's hard to tell what her motherly interactions are like. Deirdre cares but is one of those moms you saw on TV back in the 60's & 70's. Gillian, forget it she is too self absorbed to care for another person let alone a child!

 

Are you surprised that Bernard never figures out that Rachel's Thanksgiving dinner was an event to announce her own pregnancy? Were you surprised that Virginia didn't set him straight about that?

 I think I may have mentioned it before but he reminds me of the absent minded professor. He's clueless!

 

What do you think of Gillian's maternal role to Paul? What?! see my answer above.

 

Why did Gillian want Adam to see her in her family's house, with her husband? What is her reaction to Adam's partner, Kim? She's a piece of work. I'm not sure she wants Adam to see what he may be missing or what. She just likes teasing and manipulation. Her reaction to Kim is that she thinks she is too young for him. I was holding my breath reading thru the Christmas party scene just waiting to see what Gillian would do next. I thought it was pretty gutsy to send Paul around with Kim. I think that was he way of pointing out to Adam that Kim was a better fit with someone younger. Poor Paul. Again, what mother would do that!

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maxcat
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Re: The Writing Circle: Couples, Love, Family and Marriage

Hi, literature, you're right about Gillian wanting to keep Paul with her and Jerry. If she wanted to keep him away from his original mother, why keep him in the basement with his sister? That doesn't seem right as they had a big house built for them.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost