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farm_girl
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Registered: ‎05-03-2010
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I don't mind switching perspectives, but did find it more akward in this book due to the number of perspecives.  It's easier for me to say which characters I didn't want to stay with longer--Chris and Gillian.

 

I didn't consider Nancy the main character.  No one jumps out yet as main character.  They seem equally weighted.

 

I'm finding it hard to take to any of the characters.  I'm holding out hope for Nancy.  The home lives are somewhat of a mess!

 

The most interesting chapter for me was the one with Gillian and Adam.  It was very unexpected...and sad.  I kept thinking of her poor husband. 

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deblynn
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I also think there are so many characters it is hard to keep track...maybe it will get easier as we read more...I don't like any of the characters yet either but some are better than others...it's hard on the nook because it's difficult to look back to review anything...I find that with other books but this one especially.

Debra

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BookLovingBeachBum
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I wondered about Gillian as well. She seems very distant but chooses to open herself up to Adam as well as her stepston Paul. I also wonder why Paul is included with his own chapter at this point but noone else outside of the writing club does.

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thewanderingjew
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Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I think Gillian enjoys playing/toying with people and when she finds someone vulnerable she goes in for the kill. She doesn't think about consequences, just plays her own game. The scary thing about her is that she seems so calculating, in a very subtle way,

BookLovingBeachBum wrote:

I wondered about Gillian as well. She seems very distant but chooses to open herself up to Adam as well as her stepston Paul. I also wonder why Paul is included with his own chapter at this point but noone else outside of the writing club does.

 

so it leaves you guessing at what her true motive might be.

 

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BookLovingBeachBum
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Good Point. Can't wait to see how her story plays out.

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AMiller134
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I like changing the perspective from chapter to chapter.  However, I find it takes me longer to “get into” the book with this writing style.  I wanted to stay with Nancy, Gillian and Adam.

 

Nancy is a running theme among the characters but not the main character at this point to me.

 

I have not found that I dislike anyone just want to get to know them better.

 

I was surprised the most by Gillian.

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joybo
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 

It took a little getting use to...but I've actually come to enjoy it...I like getting a feel of what is going on at different points of view. I like seeing stories from other sides.... I do wish Chris's chapter was longer- I wanted to get in his head more - to see more of what had brought him to where he is now...


Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?

I do feel she is the main character - only in that I think I understand her inner thoughts more - they seem to be developed/displayed more than the others...


Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?

I took to Nancy immediately - Dislike? Gillian - but that seems an obvious answer. But Chris is rather 'uppity' - not sure that is the word I really want to use...but not that I dislike him - because I actually find him a little bit of comic relief...


How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

Gillian's - from what I learned of her in the other character's chapters - I didn't see the infidelity coming...

proud owner of the Nook - never thought I could live without my REAL book in my hands...pleasantly surprised!!
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sgreen
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I have read and reread this first section, so better late than never for my first post?! :smileyhappy:

 

The changing perspective from chapter to chapter doesn't have any negative effects on my reading, whatsoever.  I am intrigued by getting into each character's persona and the events of their daily lives.  I especially enjoy books told from different perspectives when the accounts of the same events overlap.  I feel like each character's voice isn't coming through, however...the perspective is still written from a single narrator's point of view, as opposed to each character's point of view.  

 

So far, I haven't wanted to stay with any particular character longer than another...no single character has really intrigued me yet.

 

I felt like Nancy was definitely a "main" character in this section of reading because part the novel she's working on about her father starts us off, and she had three "chapters" in this first section.  I prefer getting glimpses of the other characters than just sticking with Nancy's view because I don't feel like she really is THE main character of the circle.

 

The characters I liked immediately were Nancy, Oates, Paul, and Virginia.  I found myself feeling empathy for Chris at the end of his first chapter, but it's not the same as "liking" him as a character.

 

I wouldn't say I completely disliked Bernard, Aimee, Adam, or Joe, but I don't feel any real warmth for them so far.  I guess I am ambivalent about those characters up until now.  I didn't like the bedroom scene between Bernard and Aimee, but I think it served a higher, more functional purpose...perhaps to show how Aimee resents or feels jealous of the time the Leopardi Circle takes Bernard away from her.  I think Aimee is quite possessive of Bernard.

 

The one character I immediately disliked was Gillian.  I don't like how she appears to see through people as though they aren't really there...people are more like objects to her.  She treats others as though they don't exist unless they are there to serve her or meet a need of hers.  I had actually begun to see Gillian as a human being with thoughts and feelings for others around her when she acknowledged (sort of) being late to pick Paul up from his practice.  That viewpoint dissipated when she made it to Button and freaked out over the dead mouse.  I completely disliked her and Adam for their tryst.  I actually felt badly for Adam because he is so enamored with Gillian...or at least the idea of Gillian...and he allowed her to take advantage of his feelings.  Gillian seems to not care about anyone but herself.

 

Besides Gillian's chapter, the other chapter that surprised me the most was the end of Chris's chapter.  I was endeared to Chris because he is such a caring, involved, supportive father...I was upset that his lawyer appeared to have cheated him and cost Chris both his freedom and time with his children.

 

I thought it was interesting that Paul was the only character who isn't a part of the Writing Circle who had his own chapter.  That intrigues me greatly.

 

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EiLvReedn
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Whew! I agree with you donelsonj. I was having a hard time getting thru the first part of the book too. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to finish. Now that I'm reading thru each character's "chapters" it is starting to make more sense.

 I'm thinking this book would not get the Oprah approval. I'll never forget that she says she reads the first few sentences and they need to really grab the interest. I sort of do that with the books I choose too. If I had picked up this book at a store or library it would have gone back on the shelf. Very weak beginning. I am reading on though.

 I do believe that Nancy is the main character. I don't like Gillian. I also think this writing circle is a little scary. If I were Nancy I would not want to give too much to this group. Maybe even say no thanks, I'm doing fine on my own. Anyway back to more reading!

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looptyloo
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

 

It really has no affect on how I read the book. I've read books with differing perspectives before, and so it doesn't bother me.

I haven't found a character yet that makes me want to hear more of their story when it is time to switch. It seems like it is the right time.

 

Nancy is the main character of the story to me, but that may be, because her book is the one that is used as the beginning of the book.  

I feel by not sticking to one narrator we get to see a deeper reason behind the interaction of the characters. A kind of they are this way because of this.

 

There are no characters that make me love them as a character thus far. Gillian has produced a dislike, probably because I know people like her, and they make me sad and angry.


The home lives of the characters is different, but none of them seem truly happy.They all have things that they hate about their live, and the circle seems to be the one thing they like.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

The chapter that felt the most surprising was Gillian's probably because I did not see that coming, or her manipulation of the situation

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Grape_Ape
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I enjoy books that switch perspective in general, but I did have to go back and reread the beginning of this book because I kept getting confused as to who was married to Bernard.  With so many characters, I do like learning about each of their lives (even if it is just a tidbit) and hope to learn more about each of them.

 

I do not feel that there is a "main character" as of yet.  

 

I like Virginia and her motherly attitude and of course dislike Gillian.  Who doesn't?

 

Chris in my opinion was the chapter I was most surprised by.  I was not surprised by Gillian and Adam's chapter (seems like something she would do), but Chris getting arrested was a shocker.

 

 

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aanjel
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Re: The Writing Circle didn't: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I didn't dislike Adam, he is sort of a wall flower and does not have much personality so far.  It will be interesting to see how he develops in the story and how he and Gillian evolve.

 

The character I think I was the least impressed with is Bernard.  I don't like it that he seems to have no back bone.  Amiee walks all over him and he doesn't care as long as he can be "in love" with her.  I hope he improves as the story moves along.

 

I think that Gillian is my least favorite as she seems to be very manipulative and wants only what will give her more creditability.  I think Paul sees through her and I feel sorry for Jerry who can't see the person she really is.

 

 

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Sherry_Young
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I apologize for my delay in getting to these questions - it has been a very long week with a parent in the hospital and my daughter's dance recital. I did post a first impresssion, but now it's time to get down to why I'm here! :smileyvery-happy:

 

 

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 

I have read several books recently that have been told through multiple characters' perspectives. I find the various perspectives refreshing to read because the reader can see more sides of the story clearly giving it a richer context.

 

In this novel, switching perspectives gives me a better feel for how the Leopoldis Writing Circle meetings feel. As life truly works, there are always going to be people we meet that don't click with us and some we just connect with instantly. Some people may tell you negative things about someone you might not know, but when you speak with others of the same person you wonder if it is even the same person at all.

 

We are newcomers to this writing circle just as Nancy is. We have an advantage though in that we get to know the thoughts of each. That doesn't mean we have all the answers, but if we were to hear it through the voice of only one character we miss all of the personal secrets that give depth to these characters.

 

I found myself following Nancy's narrative closest because we are both new to the circle. However, Chris' chapter is the one that really hooked me and I could not stop reading at the end of the assignment!


Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?

I do feel that Nancy is the main character at first. Is this because she is new to the writing circle as is the reader? As I move along to the other characters I begin to question if she is the "main" character. Did I assume that because we read her chapter first? Possibly.


Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?

I really took to Nancy at first and to Virginia. I didn't really care for Bernard at all. I couldn't figure out Adam at first - he's seems like he is just there but not much of a presence. I'm reserving opinion on Gillian as I find traits that I like and some that I dislike. By the end of the early chapters, I found my opinion of Chris shifting.


How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

The home lives give us more of a sense of each character. This in turn may help us to understand the style or content of their writing. Each has personal issues at home that I think may be important to either the characters' relationships or to the writing that they present. I'm leaning more toward the relationships at this point.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

The fact that Paul had a perspective was a bit of a surprise as I expected this to only be from the views of the writers. Are we hearing his perspective because of something related to the circle or because he will be involved intricately in the story line?


Once I began reading Chris' chapter I was very surprised. My viewpoint had been skewed - possibly because the others don't respect his genre - but early on my thoughts on Chris were not so positive. We certainly learn more of his vulnerability when we read his first chapter.

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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Sherry_Young
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I too was hooked by the chapter with Chris and his sons. That is the point when I felt I really began to enjoy the book. I was just annoyed with Gillian in the chapters prior...

 

Adeline79 wrote:

Having the different character perspectives makes it a quick read. The segments are so short that it keeps things immediate and real. I wanted to stick with Chris and his two little boys. That is the segment that really gripped me. It bothered me to have to leave that thread.

 

Yes, Nancy does seem like the "main" character, but it is not that I necessarily like her. She seems like a very ordinary type of person and so easy to relate to, but not very exciting. I think that she may turn out to be a good character that will ground all the other lives in the group.I like the way that Nancy is new to the group and we the readers are also new to the group. In a way it feels like we are learning about the other characters at the same pace as Nancy. Though of course we are getting the segments that are told from the other perspectives, so we kind of know more than Nancy.

 

I am enjoying the book so far and am eager to see how the story develops.

 

 

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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Sherry_Young
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

One more thing not asked by Rachel, but that I want to add anyway.

 

At this point in the novel I keep wondering to myself:

 

Is the story/plot about the Writing Circle and their process, or about the relationships developed between them or will there be something there that will happen as a result of the circle that we can't comprehend yet? Typically at this point in a book we can start to see the direction of the plot, but I am still lost on the direction. What did the preface have to do with the story? Is it a precursor to something in the plot or just a story in a novel of a writer in the circle? Why do we see Paul's point of view since he's not a Leopardi?

 

These are the questions that I continually ponder while I am reading which nearly drive me to distraction.

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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bdrdunc
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I am finding the changing between characters interesting.  I find that since I cannot sit for long periods of time and read it is easier to follow the book the way it is written.  I can stop reading at the end of one character and pick it up again on the next.  I find that the characters are very intriguing.  At this point I am not sure who the main character is.  First I thought Nancy...then perhaps Gillian?  Not sure.  Both are strong characters.  I feel the main character will most likely be one of the two; however maybe the book will turn to another more strong character as I read on.  

 

I like Nancy and find that I do not really like Gillian.  I am enjoying reading about all the characters and find them all very well developed.  I look forward to reading further into the book and see how the characters further develop and interact with each other.

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Sherry_Young
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I got the impression that Chris writes thrillers. I'm picturing something like Grisham or Patterson.

 

Melissa_W wrote:

I would consider Nancy more of a central character.  As the narrative rotates among the group (and even not among the group - Paul is not a group member) it starts with Nancy and she does seem to get more "hits" as the focus of a chapter.  What sets this apart from me - and makes it seem less cohesive at the start - is that most novels I've read with rotating narratives are told in the first person where the rotation among characters provides perspective and moves the plot forward (The Help and The Well and the Mine are good examples); TWC uses a limited 3rd person narrative and so far it doesn't move the plot forward much (imo).  I think the character development is interesting (the idea that within the group there's a highbrow and lowbrow opinion is interesting - have they said exactly what Chris's novels are about or did I miss that?).

 

I do take to Paul right away and I do feel some sympathy for Chris (although without the ex-wife's perspective who knows how accurate his perceptions are).  I don't particularly like Gillian; she doesn't like her husband to call unexpectedly because it "infantilizes" her but she's nearly incapacitated by finding a dead mouse in the house (wuss) and then goes on to seduce Adam (but as Chris says, Gillian is not be liked, she is to be revered).  Living in a college town with a major writing program (the IWW and IWP), I run into people like Gillian all the time who are soo wrapped up in their art that the interpersonal relationship becomes secondary.  They are brilliant but cruel people at times because they don't think of others.

 

 

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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Mommy-Read-Write
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Registered: ‎03-24-2009
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 

I find that switching the perspective with every chapter makes the story feel choppy to me.  Just when I feel like I'm getting to the meat of one of the characters' stories - it ends and I'm on to someone else.  It's a little frustrating. 


Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?

I feel she's the main character in that I believe her dad is the doctor from the prologue of the book.  Plus, she is the new addition to The Writing Circle.  Other than these points - I don't feel like I've spent enough time with her to feel she's the main character.


Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?

I likw Nancy, Virginia and Chris right away.  I wouldn't say that I dislike anyone as yet but I definitely don't trust Bernard or Gillian.


How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

With the exception of Virginia - all of their home lives seem a little sad and disjointed.  I really feel for Chris and the fact that he misses his children so much.  Gillian just seems really self-absorbed.  Actually, so does Bernard.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

Chris' chapter really made me feel sad.  It also angered me that his ex-wife would have him arrested while his sons watched from the front window of their house.  What a completely wretched thing to do.

Sheery

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
~ Emilie Buchwald ~
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Sherry_Young
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

elegiac - p. 161

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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thewanderingjew
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

[ Edited ]

I am not finding this book difficult to read. I thought it would be oppressive reading it on the computer but I find that the pages fly by. I didn't have much in the way of expectations, except for dread, because I had not read a book online before, so the fact that it is easier than I expected has made it a far more positive experience.

I am letting the characters develop themselves, thinking about each of them in their chapters, almost as if it was a short story. When some continue later on, I feel as I I have gotten a bonus with another window into that life. If I get confused because there are so many characters, it is relatively easy to go back and review my thoughts since the chapters are named for them.

I don't know if it will win any prizes but I really think it is a great book to take on a plane or to the beach. I also think that it would be great for book groups because the characters have raised many controversial issues that lend themselves to discussion.