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debbi801
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Registered: ‎03-31-2010

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?

I like it, but I generally like this type of book.  It is nice seeing things from the different characters perspectives.  But, I agree with others that at this point it is still very disjointed and just "blah" at times.

 

Which characters did you want to stay with longer?

I like Bernard and Virginia.  But, part of that is my fascination with how well they get along, as well as Bernard's odd submission to all of Aimee's demands.

 

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 haven't been able to identify a main character yet.

 

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

I think I like Nancy and Virginia the best so far.  But, none of the characters have really let me get to know them yet.  My least favorite are Gillian and Chris.  Gillian because she's a snooty cold fish, and I couldn't believe she cheated on her husband.  Chris because that type of person just makes me crazy. 

 


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

Odd.  With the exception of maybe Virginia, all of them seem to have issues going on at home that they may or may not be aware of.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

Gillian's.  She really couldn't take care of a mouse?  The fact that she thought about calling her husband and then really called a repair man astounded me.  I don't like mice or bugs either and if I was home with my husband I'd scream and have him take care of it.  But if I am alone, I'm not going to isolate myself in one room because of a dead mouse.  And then the whole deal with Adam happened too. :smileysad:

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

I liked the switching back and forth,it added for me a few twists and turns,and then,on to the next trying to piece it all together..With so many different personalities,and some blending personalities,I was not bored and did want to read on,and finish TWC..I am going to stick to the Schedule,I will try..At this point,I didn't want to stay with any particular person.,of course that will change..Nancy is not the focal point for me...Everyone is!!  I don't like any of them any more or less..One thing is apparent to me,they all need each other...Home life ..All are semi dysfunctional..But so is the Real world...Corinne does describe it all very well,although we are just starting out,we know more than I thought we would....Maybe because we ended with Chris pg88,that I feel more  involved with him than the others...Susan...Vtc

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Chaita
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006

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

I don't mind the format of switching between various characters' viewpoints because it is an ensemble cast.  While Nancy does seem to be the main character for me, the book seems to be about the characters as a whole so the format seems fitting.  I would like to have had longer sections for each viewpoint, though.  The short sections give the story a disjointed feel for me.  I was pretty surprised at the inclusion of the chapter told from the point of view of Gillian's step-son.  I thought that the book would have a more focused quality if the story was told only from the viewpoints of hte members of the group.  I was also surprised at Gillian's actions with Adam.  Even though that chapter was from her point of view, I don't feel like we were able to see anything which would provide her motivation for her actions.  In fact, her point-of-view chapter provided more insigh into Adam's motivations than into her own.

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

[ Edited ]

The effect of switching perspectives for me in the early chapters is a little confusing and I'm hoping that once I get a handle on all the characters it will resolve itself to me.

 

At this point I think that yes Nancy is the main character. We gain from it not only being in her perspective the advantage of knowing what's going on in everyone's mind. But I loose a little bit of continuity that I get with a novel being in one person's voice.

 

I like right away, Nancy, Bernard and Virginia and Joe

I dislike Gilliam and Adam.

The most surprising chapter so far was the last one where Chris was arrested.

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

 

thewanderingjew wrote:

Personally, I think Gillian is one sick puppy. She doesn't really consider the consequences of her behavior and just acts out in whatever way she pleases. I had the feeling that she was coming on to Paul and that he did not know what to make of it...he seems to want to be liked and noticed and she seems to want to "win" in all situations...have the last word and simply satisfy her own needs regardless of the cost to others. I feel as if she wants control over others. I am interested in seeing how she develops. Someone pointed out the similarity between her driveway and the driveway in the preface. Perhaps there is a reason for her selfish behavior that we will learn later. For sure, there is a mystery here.

rujama wrote:

 

sharonslp wrote:

 


 

Is Paul angry with her or does he like her? Does he have a crush on her? Is she manipulating him (as it appears that she manipulates everyone)? Is he going to be a casualty in this book?

 

 

 

 

Wow, sharonslp! I never thought of this. Could Gillian be manipulating the teenage boy! That is a sick but very interesting perspective. Adam is very young himself and could this be her thing? Very interesting.:smileysurprised:

 

 

 

I totally agree with you twj

 

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

[ Edited ]

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading?

 

I've encountered this before in my reading. The issue with this book is that there are a lot of characters/perspectives to keep track of. I haven't found it to hard to do so yet, however it might become difficult as more principal characters are introduced.

 

Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 

 

Deleted answer when I realized it was a spoiler. My apologies to anyone who read it.


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 think Nancy is the main character to this point. At least her viewpoint is the one re re-visit most often. I don't feel anything is lost by jumping around between characters. It's a good way to introduce a large cast quickly.


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

 

I identified immediately with Bernard (not that I like him). Chris seems the most likeable. Adam least likeable, and Gillian completely lacking in redeeming qualities.



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

With the "switching" method of writing, I feel like I just walked into a new place of employment where I don't know anyone.  I start out by making 1st impressions, and then slowly I learn about the nuts and bolts of the people I will be working with.  Each person is flawed and some folks I will like more than others.

 

I like Nancy.  I don't know if I would call her THE main character or just a tool to introduce us to the writing circle, which is what I consider to be the main character.

 

Bernard seems to be a laid back kind of fellow that has confidence in his writing abilities.  He seemed pleased that Nancy found something to criticize on his writing.  He just seemed to have gone through a mid-life crises and ended up with a much younger wife that at times drives him crazy.

 

Virginia seems like a very together kind of person.  She above anyone else seems to be the most secure and happy.

 

Gillian, Jerry and Paul need to block off an entire month and go to family counseling. 

 

I started out really disliking Chris.  But then when I saw how absolutely devoted he was to his sons I changed my mind about him.  I just think he is simply not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  I think Chris is a good writer.  He's probably better than he realizes.  There may be something to the charges that he made a lot more money on his books than he claimed for child support.  I think his friend the lawyer may be scamming him. 

 

Adam is the one I feel I know the least about.  He is kind of creepy to me for some reason.  He just sort of appears.  He seems to get his feelings hurt when someone critiques his work and he seems to be jealous of the writers who have some success.  He could either be a very sympathetic character or a serial killer.  It could go either way.  I wondered if he didn't plant the dead mouse at Gillian's house so he could weasel his way in? 

 

Bonnie

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

Normally I don't have trouble switching perspectives, but that is because I can easily look back. Reading on the Nook makes that a lot more difficult, so I will be resorting more to handwritten notes for the next section. I would love to spend more time with Nancy in hopes of reading more of the story I think she is writing at the beginning.

 

Yes, I think Nancy is the main character of the book. It would be easier to see what she thinks of the others and the situations that come up if it were written from her point of view, but the story seems to be working as written. I like hearing how each character feels, what they think, about the events happening around them. I equate it with the movie, "Vantage Point."

 

The character I dislike the most right now is Gillian. She seems to be very high-brow and seems to look down on others. But, I will be interested to see what I think of her as I continue to read. Many times the ones we love to hate become more endearing as the story continues. However, we will see.  <grin>

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
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Sunltcloud
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Chaita,

 

I agree. I would have preferred if only the Writing Circle Characters had their own chapters. But then, maybe it is because I was prepared for an adult group with a specific interest and find that Paul's coming of age story takes me away from the perspective of the more mature community of writers. The same goes for Rachel; she could have been included in Virginia's or Bernard's chapters. However, I am only on page 88 and like to speculate on the outcome; Paul's relationship to Gillian makes me uneasy; Rachel's peace-maker role leaves me looking for signs of collapse; maybe these characters will play an important role later on.

 

Chaita wrote:

I don't mind the format of switching between various characters' viewpoints because it is an ensemble cast.  While Nancy does seem to be the main character for me, the book seems to be about the characters as a whole so the format seems fitting.  I would like to have had longer sections for each viewpoint, though.  The short sections give the story a disjointed feel for me.  I was pretty surprised at the inclusion of the chapter told from the point of view of Gillian's step-son.  I thought that the book would have a more focused quality if the story was told only from the viewpoints of hte members of the group.  I was also surprised at Gillian's actions with Adam.  Even though that chapter was from her point of view, I don't feel like we were able to see anything which would provide her motivation for her actions.  In fact, her point-of-view chapter provided more insigh into Adam's motivations than into her own.

 

 

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

LOL!

 

Bonnie_C wrote:

 

 

Gillian, Jerry and Paul need to block off an entire month and go to family counseling. 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Bonnie, I hadn't thought of it this way, but absolutely agree with your statement about it feeling like you are walking into a new place of employment!  I have enjoyed the opportunity to begin to peek in at each of the character's lives through the chapters dedicated to each of them and am looking forward to learning more about them, and learning how their lives will intertwine.  It was very difficult for me to stop at the end of Chris' chapter!

 

I wonder if Gillian's bit with the mouse will come back as her unwillingness or inability to be vulnerable.  It was almost like she had to shut the door to the room as though she was shutting off a set of emotions or a memory.  And her behavior in the writing circle (or her reputation) as one you don't question seems to also speak to this unwillingness or inability to truly open up and be vulnerable.

 

Looking forward to more!

 

Teri

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Shanameydala
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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 have read books that switch the perspective, so I haven't experienced the "jarring" that other readers have experienced.  I want more Gillian, because I don't quite understand why the others in the circle view her as they do. What lends to her authority? Strictly her success?

 

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?

No character has really grabbed the story more than the others. I'm not focusing on any one character, so I can't focus on their perspective. Because I can't relate to any of the characters I can't grab on an overarching lesson that any of the characters may learn during the novel.

 

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

I'm taken with Gillian only because everyone in the Writing Circle seems to be taken with her.  I want to learn why they are drawn to her, are awed by her, dislike her, etc.  Chris doesn't seem to have made a good impression with either me or the Writing Circle members.

 

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

Nancy, Gillian and Bernard seem to be content. Virginia seems to be happy. Not sure what to make of Adam or Chris yet.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

Definitely the Gillian-Adam chapter. Seemed to come out of left field. 

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DiniB
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎03-20-2009

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?

 

  • I don't mind changing perspective from chapter to chapter as long as they smoothly transition.  With TWC, I feel like I am all over the place when I move on to the next chapter.  I don't necessarily need a linear timeline, but I do not understand the point of references that are given in each introduction to the characters for the first time.  At this point, I do not understand what the author is trying to highlight.  Right now I have all these puzzle pieces, but don't have a reference point to get the big picture.


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 assume Nancy is the main character since she is the first one introduced to us in the chapter order.  However, as I progress in reading, Nancy seems to be more of a fringe character.


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

 

  • The only character out of the 8 introduced I connect with is Paul.  He is truly the only sympathetic character out of the bunch.  I have an immediate dislike to Bernard.  To me, the author is so vague on the big picture character development, but then she focus on the most intimate details.  For example - "Hi, I am Bernard.  Let me share the explicit details of what I did with my wife Sunday morning." The passage I am referring to did not enhance the story line for me at all.

 

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

The switching of perspectives has two different effects, imo:

1) It's good because we can learn more about the different members of the Circle; I'm sure we'll come to care deeply about these individuals by the novel's end.

2) We lose a bit of depth by not going in-depth with fewer characters.  At the moment, I don't have much like/dislike for any of the characters.  We'll see what happens as the story progresses.

 

I do think that Nancy is the main character, but so far, we haven't become close friends with her as a reader due to the fact that there are so many perspectives in the novel.  This is something lost due to the writer's approach, but it may prove to be an asset as the story develops.  I'll wait to judge.

 

So far, I guess Nancy is my favorite character because we've been with her the most.  I had the least amount of love for Gillian at the start, though I'm sure that was the author's intent because of the way she was introduced.  It will be interesting to see what path Gillian will take as the novel progresses.

 

As far as home life is concerned, no one has a perfect lifestyle right now.  Everyone has some kind of issue, so in that sense, it feels true to life.  I also liked the way Demas explains how a writer may get ideas by getting into Gillian's head.  You can also see how her lifestyle affects her family.  I'm hoping to see more bits such as this as a writer myself.

 

What was the most surprising thing so far? Hm, I don't know.  I guess I wouldn't expect anyone to drive hours to return something when they'll see them shortly (or, at the very least, to at least call BEFORE making the trip, instead of once there), so the scene with Adam and Gillian surprised me.

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

I didn't like the very personal references either; they made me uneasy, almost embarassed, especially for Bernard. I don't like him, but I feel that I am unfair about this. It is as if I had watched Bernard from my secret spy hole; I've come to conclusions about Bernard without knowing him, without giving him a fair chance to redeem himself. Often when people are in the privacy of their own homes they do things they would not admit to. Like drinking from the water jug they later use to pour water for their guests. Or, wiping the chair with the dishtowel.

 

Then I thought: maybe this is the way the author choses to explore the larger concept of the writing group. Writers need to be honest. I, as the reader, am getting a realistic, honest view of Bernard. Bernard can't hide from me. What comes later is his skin, his cover, his outer coat. The book cover that encloses the truth. And, in order to understand the group I need to be vulnerable as well. I need to be able to accept each one in his/her most private moments.

 

This is a book that grows on me.

 

DiniB wrote:
  I have an immediate dislike to Bernard.  To me, the author is so vague on the big picture character development, but then she focus on the most intimate details.  For example - "Hi, I am Bernard.  Let me share the explicit details of what I did with my wife Sunday morning." The passage I am referring to did not enhance the story line for me at all.

 

 

 

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chris227
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Personally I enjoy changing the characters' persepctive from chapter to chapter.  I think that it provides for better insight into each character than if told from one character's point of view.  For example if the novel had remained entirely in Nancy's point of view the reader may never have found out about Gillian's cottage and the whole incident with the mouse (and Adam) which I think tells us a lot about her.  Though at times the switch seems almost unsettling because the reader wants to continue to hear about one particular character or event I think that the switching helps to keep my attention and makes me want to read more.  For those of you who were involved in the A Fortunate Age discussion I did not particlarly like the changing persepctive in that novel because it seemed as if too much was left out and I feel that it is done much more successfully in this novel thus far.

 

I think that I had originally thought of Nancy as the main character because the novel opened with her.  However the further I read I believe that this is not supposed to be about one particular person but about the entire group.  I think that we do not lose anything by switching perspective but gain better insight.

 

I have found my feelings about each character changing as I read deeper into the novel.  I have liked Nancy throughout.  At first I was put off by Gillian, especially after her stepson's chapter, but after her chapter, reading about her cottage I like her more.  The whole incident with the mouse provides a look at Gillian's vulnerable side and makes me think there is a whole lot more to this woman than we know.  I still don't quite know how I feel about Bernard.  He seems nice but there is just something about him I don't trust.  I had intitially liked Chris but his lunch with Nancy made me change my mind, however after reading his chapter I feel that the man is just lonely and I feel sorry for him. 

 

The home lives of the characters are very different but similar at the same time.  There seems to be an undercurrent of loneliness among them all.  Nancy is often left alone while her boyfriend (now fiance) travels.  Chris is twice divorced and cannot see his children as he likes.  Gillian appears very distant even with her husband who is very attentive to her again leadin me to think some major event happened in her past.  The relationship between Virginia and her husband seems good but for some reason I sensed a distance between them as well.  Bernard seems to be almost suffocated by his current wife.  Adam is in a relationship but is not happy and would prefer to be with Gillian.  Are these writers realy looking for people to critique their writing or are they looking for connection as well?

 

I think that I was equally surprised by Gilian and Chris's chapters.

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BethAnnH
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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? 

This is not the 1st book I've read that switches this way, so this has really not had any affect on my reading.  None of the characters has really reached out and grabbed me yet. I'm still trying to find the least dysfunctional one :smileyhappy:.

 

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 am not sure who the main character is at this point.  They all seem to have their equal share up until now.

 

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

I have not taken to any one character, but do have a dislike for Gillian. I think it has to do with what I perceive as her disinterest in her family.  She is over the top self centered/selfish.

 

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

 Virginia seems happy.  Nancy seems happy but tense.  Not sure about Adam and Chris. Gillian seems to not care about her home life only her own life. Bernard, not sure he's a strange one.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

Chris, The story about his kids and his arrest took me by surprise.

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

For me, it took a few chapters to straighten out who was who, but after I got the hang of who everyone was, I actually kind of liked how it flipped back and forth from person to person. I didn't feel that this book had any one central character, even with the foreshadowing of Nancy in the beginning. I really liked her right from the start...her timidity at joining the circle was endearing to me. I didn't like Gillian, but I'm sure that's the point, right? She is haughty and narcissistic. I think everyone's home life is more or less mundane (like most people!), but I found it laughable for them as everyone tries to present themselves behind a certain facade with the group.

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kaylami
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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 wanted to stay with Paul a little longer.  True...he's not a main character.  Maybe, it's just the mom in me, but I want that little boy to feel loved.


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 guess Nancy is the main character for me, only because we return to her the most and spend more time with her.  We gain insight in to all the members' lives by the glimpes to everyone's personal situations.


Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?  I think I dislike Gillian the most.  She seems to be a very selfish person.  I like Virginia the most.  She very friendly and honest.


How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters? I'd say they have all dealt with pain and loss in their personal relationships and are all striving to find happiness again.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you? Gillian's (and into Adam's).  I thought she would see Adam as not worth her attention, let alone sleep with him.  I would have thought she would not want to mess with the sanctity of the Writing Circle.

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pen21
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Lena,

I liked your description "everyone tries to present themselves behind a certain facade with the group". That describes these first chapters well. I think it especially applies to Gillian. Gillian is the character that sticks out to me as the one who is hiding things. Gillian isn't an open book, I think we will find out more about what makes Gillian tick as the story progresses.

pen21

 

 

LenaH wrote:

For me, it took a few chapters to straighten out who was who, but after I got the hang of who everyone was, I actually kind of liked how it flipped back and forth from person to person. I didn't feel that this book had any one central character, even with the foreshadowing of Nancy in the beginning. I really liked her right from the start...her timidity at joining the circle was endearing to me. I didn't like Gillian, but I'm sure that's the point, right? She is haughty and narcissistic. I think everyone's home life is more or less mundane (like most people!), but I found it laughable for them as everyone tries to present themselves behind a certain facade with the group.