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bookworm_gp
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I have only read the introduction and first chapter so far but I find the use of present tense annoying and it detracts from the story. I thought it would be used for the introduction only and when I found the first chapter written this way I was disappointed. Does this bother anyone else? Maybe I'll get used to it as I read on.
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JoyZ
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-19-2007

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Even if some of our comments are repeated, the comments are written a little different and shed a little extra light with each comment.  I have not found any aspect of this book annoying.  I read a variety of genres and did not find anything strange about the present tense being used.  Ms Mitchell uses such vivid language to bring everything alive to us.  You could feel the heat of the fire and the sting of the dust storm.  One of my favorites was how she described Teodor removing, then cleaning his shoes.  I thought, at first, why bother cleaning them, they will just get dirty again.  But I think it showed his appreciation of those very shoes, his only shoes, and the protection they gave him.  Like Kharaln1derland, I also thought of Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons when I first began to read this book.
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maude40
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I love this book, as I have loved all the First Look books. I can't believe the hardships this family has to go through. They are so strong and resilient. There is no way any of us could go through what  they have experienced. I love that the children are so helpful in everyday life. All children today could take a lesson from the kids in this book. I hope Anna can somehow rise above her mental burdens and start to be a better mother to her children. I can't imagine Stefan coming back into their lives. Yvonne
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sconcannon
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Maria is such a strong woman.  She works to sustain her family's existence.  Imagine how absolutely exhausted she must be.  It is also interesting the way she deals with anna.  When anna comes walking in her soiled nightgown maria just puts her to work.  She treats nysla (sp) no different when it comes to the work as well.  Maria seems to have a complex understanding of her family and her surroundings.  She seems to have what it takes to survive on the bare minimum.  So far I find her to be an inspirations.
"Yes she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision." - Virginia Woof, To the Lighthouse.
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timetravel
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I had trouble getting through the first parts of the book.  There was too much violence that appeared to be just for the sake of having a violent book.
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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Actually, I love it. It makes for immediacy of feelings and events. And the fact that it is interspersed very frequently with past tense, in my eyes underlines the way one's thoughts flow back and forth between present time, immediate past and the past of old memories. This is often used effectively in memoir and makes this novel feel like a film with multi-layered flashbacks. And since the language of the book is generally the simple language of day to day living, it brings variety into the structure.
bookworm_gp wrote:
I have only read the introduction and first chapter so far but I find the use of present tense annoying and it detracts from the story. I thought it would be used for the introduction only and when I found the first chapter written this way I was disappointed. Does this bother anyone else? Maybe I'll get used to it as I read on.

 

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Sunltcloud
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Timetravel,

 

I am curious. Where did you find violence that appeared to be for the sake of having a violent book? I must have overlooked it; so far I've only seen the violence of nature, the forces that are at work when humans and nature are lined up on opposing ends, and the violence of children at play in a different era (such as watching the cat and mouse episode)


timetravel wrote:
I had trouble getting through the first parts of the book.  There was too much violence that appeared to be just for the sake of having a violent book.


 

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Mommy-Read-Write
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I'm not quite done with the Early Chapters yet so I haven't read any of this thread.  Don't want any spoilers.  :-) I do want to say that I'm enjoying the book, though.  It's beautifully written and definitely evokes another time and place in my mind.

Sheery

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
~ Emilie Buchwald ~
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Ronrose
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I think the bond between Anna and Maria is very strong, not just because they are sister-in-laws, but because of the tremendous hurt they have both suffered. Anna, who expected so much from her husband ends up being forceably raped by him, resulting in her unwanted pregnancy and her rejection of him.  Maria also finds herself being coerced into sex with the official in her village when she tries to get her wagon and the small amount of wheat to escape with her children after Theo is thrown in jail. These acts, the loss of their husbands and their personal violations, although  partly unspoken of between the women, surely must have created a powerful bond between them, creating a need for each to join their remaining families together.
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Read-n-Rider
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎01-29-2007

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

[ Edited ]

I realized I couldn't remember what we had been told about Anna's life before Maria and Teodor and family arrived in Canada, and I wasn't sure how I felt about her.  On the one hand, it was easy to dislike her because of her seeming weakness and apparent neglect--both physical and emotional--of her children, and on the other hand, I admired her for taking Maria and the children in after Teodor was imprisoned and for applying and paying for the homestead agreement on the land for them.

 

I reread pages 17-22, which tell some of her history.  It is interesting to read that she had been eager to come to Canada, had looked forward to the adventure and to starting a new life.  She was already disillusioned with Stefan but not beaten down by him.  I also realized that they had been in Canada for some 11 years when our story begins--they were childless when they arrived and Lesya was 10 years old when Teodor returned from prison.  Furthermore, at that time, Stefan had only been gone from the farm for about 3 weeks ("twenty nights" ), though there had been absences of varying lengths from time to time before that.  Since Maria and her children had been with Anna for some two years, Stefan must have been present much of that time.

 

I wonder how Anna was able to establish the homestead for Teodor and family; did she have money of her own?  Did Stefan know and approve of her actions?  Furthermore, had Stefan and Anna successfully farmed their land for all those years before Teodor and family arrived in Canada?  It would appear so, but hardly fits with our image of Stefan; or did I miss some important information in doing my "research?"  Anyway, I came away with a somewhat higher regard for Anna than I had before.  She has been brutalized by an evil man and scarred by two terrible birth experiences and seems unable to cope with life and fulfill normal adult responsibilities.  However, she does exhibit loyalty to her brother and his family and does what she can to secure their future.  It will be interesting to see how her own future develops.

 

Joan

 

Message Edited by Read-n-Rider on 08-05-2009 11:21 PM
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girlie0620
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

[ Edited ]

Wow. I find both Maria and Anna strong and resilient. They both have had to overcome certain struggles to get where they are- granted life still is not easy in the least. Maria maintains because of her children- she puts them first no matter what. Anna, who is stuck in an abusive situation retreats into herself- PTSD- depression. She has difficulty coping- so Maria picks up the "slack" so to speak. She does all the daily work and takes care of all the children.

I love how Teodor finally begins to open up- it takes time because the world is so different from the 4-walled cell. It does take time to reacclimate to society- just like soldiers redeploying from Iraq or Afghanistan. 

I can't believe how hard things are for these two families. I say that but it is life and they did what they had to do during times of struggle. The descriptions of the long days farming and the fire and what it caused... were amazing. It was like I could smell the burning around me.

Can't wait to see what is next!!! Michelle    

Message Edited by girlie0620 on 08-06-2009 12:04 AM
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ReadingPatti
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer


dhaupt wrote:

Hi Patti, the book is not of my usual either. But that's why I love FL it broadens my horizons.

 


dhaupt, I know what you mean. This is my third book for FL and am glad you told me about this club. I have loved the two have read and feel sure that this will be another great read.

 

It is nice to read some different. I am wondering what will happen next as I read this book. I like the character development. You can feel what is going on with the characters. Not all authors can give you that. I hope we see more books from Shadi Mitchell. She has a talent for great character development in future books.

 

I will be reading more posts by everyone who is reading this book.

 

I am off til Mon and will be catching up.

 

ReadingPatti

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DSaff
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Please don't apologize. I personally love to read others' thoughts and find that no two are the same. I also post before reading, then start in and make comments as I go along. This is one of the things I love about on-line book discussions. Everyone has the opportunity to have their say.  :smileywink: Nice post.


Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:

I apologize if I'm repeating - I'm at work and don't have time this week to sit down at my computer at home and don't have enough time to read through 6 pgs of comments so I might be saying what's already been said.

First... am I the only one who isn't sure where the weekly reading cutoff is? I'm not exactly sure where I should have stopped so I'll keep my points vague in case I did read too far.

I think Maria and her family are the poster children for the typical family of the time who emigrated to North America in hope of a better life under the thin veil of "the streets are paved with gold" mythology. The life of a farmer in any country is a hard one but it seems like, at least in literature, that the families who survive do so because the head female of the household is determined to let no one starve to death and will do whatever is in her power to assure that everyone makes it through winter after winter.

 

In modern non-third world society it seems like as technology advances and life becomes physically easier and more comfortable that people lose this grit and determination - and that's a sad thing.

 

As for Anna... for every Maria there will be a dozen Annas within groups of settlers. It doesn't make them bad women, but they are weaker emotionally and therefore weaker physically. I really like how Maria handles Anna and quietly and subtly gets her out of the house and back into a farmer's wife routine. Once her hands are busy it's easier to not dwell on her situation.

 

I'll admit that this isn't a book I would have picked up in a bookstore as I tend to focus on Victorian Literature or modern novels in the same style over any other type of book. But I am fully enjoying reading UTUS and am finding it very hard to put down.


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
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nlsamson
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

[ Edited ]

Yvonne;

 

I agree that todays children could take a lesson from the kids in this book.  But when I think about Myron and his relationship with his father, I can see a comparison to today.  I can see a father being gone for a period of time (regardless of the reason) and the oldest son having the same feelings toward his father when he returns.  Afteralll Myron has been acting as the man of the house.


maude40 wrote:
I love this book, as I have loved all the First Look books. I can't believe the hardships this family has to go through. They are so strong and resilient. There is no way any of us could go through what  they have experienced. I love that the children are so helpful in everyday life. All children today could take a lesson from the kids in this book. I hope Anna can somehow rise above her mental burdens and start to be a better mother to her children. I can't imagine Stefan coming back into their lives. Yvonne

 

 

Message Edited by nlsamson on 08-06-2009 07:40 AM
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - unknown
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DSaff
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

true! more thankfulness, less complaining....


Shadowwolf36 wrote:

There is not much more that I can say about these chapters that have not been said previous (late to the party as usual). My interest in this book originally was that it was in Canada. It is not normally my favorite genre but I can't believe the ease with which I was totally engrossed in the story. It took alot for me to put it aside at the beginning of fall...I so want to finish and see what happens to these two families. As I started reading, I started to thank God for what I have and to stop complaining about what I do not. It is amazing to me that to take two outfits for each child was taking alot of stuff. I love Maria's strength....I loved to hear her bartering her goods for more money and how cleverly she did it AND how she though ahead as to how the chickens would further increase her "wealth". I love hearing how they make use of every little possible thing.  I was not surprised at the ease with which they accepted Theo back into their folds...he went to jail trying to keep a part of what was his in the first place...They did not hold animosity for that. I feel for Anna....no matter the jerk her husband was....she loved him and made allowances for him until he did the unthinkable by raping her.....we are so much more "aware" of these kinds of rapes these days....in her time, she must have thought she deserved such horrible treatment....to her the child is a reminder of the rape and why would she want to keep it....I wish she would buck up now though and hope that fall and winter bring her back into the fold.....


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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timetravel
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

I am sorry you were disturbed by my comment.  I felt the violence after violence was not a necessary component to the story, but was presented to shock the reader.  That is a technique often used in all media forms. 
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mv5ocean
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Re: Early Chapters - my thoughts


 


I was wondering the same thing about Teodor's boots always having to face the door. He went to great lengths to clean his shoes and lace them back up every night and then always made sure they faced toward the door before he went to sleep. I assumed this was because he could be ready for anything that occurred during the night. In case of some sort of emergency, his boots would be ready and waiting for him as he ran out the door.

 

As for Anna and Teodor not joining in the prayer, I found this very interesting. Were they not very religious as children and feel uncomfortable with praying, or have they lost their faith in God? Maria seems very religious. She thanks God for everything she has no matter how small it may seem. She and the children travel eight miles to attend Sunday church. I am wondering if later on Teodor not attending church services with his family will cause a rift between him and Maria.


I believe you are correct as far as the boots facing the right direction in case of emergency. My brother is a fireman and I can remember taking my kids down to the firehouse and each part of their gear is laid out in a certain order specifically to cut down on prep time when that bell goes off.

I imagine because of the hardships during this time period that they probably prepared in some type of fashion as well!

I had the same thought when I read about the boots. He thinks about his family and works hard to provide for them and even when the day is done he is preparing for the following day's work.........

This has been an amazing story so far......

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer


timetravel wrote:
I had trouble getting through the first parts of the book.  There was too much violence that appeared to be just for the sake of having a violent book.
I'm not trying to dissuade anyone's version of this novel so please don't take it that way. But I can't find anything in my understanding of the story to be violent just for the sake of violence. These were very turbulent times and there was war involved in the immigration of these families and there was misunderstanding and mistrust between the people who already populated Canada and these new immigrants, but I couldn't find the violence you saw. Could you please tell me how you see it, maybe I'll understand then.

 

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dhaupt
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer


bookworm_gp wrote:
I have only read the introduction and first chapter so far but I find the use of present tense annoying and it detracts from the story. I thought it would be used for the introduction only and when I found the first chapter written this way I was disappointed. Does this bother anyone else? Maybe I'll get used to it as I read on.
In some books that I've read I agree with you, but in this particular book it really works for me, it lets me into the hearts and especially the minds of the characters and gives me the insight I think I'll need later on to further understand them. Especially Anna at this point and her voyage into the madness I think I see in her future.

 

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mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer


rkubie wrote:

What are your initial impressions of Maria, Anna, and the children? Do your first impressions of these characters hold true as the novel progresses?

How did Maria and her children wind up here? 

 

Anna-well my opinion of her has definitely changed, although not as much as some posters have described. I feel her willingness to bring her brother's family into her home shows her compassion, yet she has become so weak as the story progresses.  Her trails and tribulations seems to have worn her down, whereas some of the other characters seemed to have become only stronger because of their trials.

 

Ivan-very impressed by the description of his grabbing his father's face and trying to find the person he remembered in there somewhere......the innocence of a child......

 

Maria and Teodor---both very strong individuals and I appreciate the fact the Teodor is reserved upon his return home but resolved to immediately starting over.

 

Leysa--love this character......not brought down by her affliction and growing ever stronger as the story progesses.

 

Katya--not much has been mentioned in the postings about this child but I feel she is lost among the family.  She withdraws into her own world for comfort.

 

Can you describe how Anna behaves and do you have any sense of why she seems so depressed? What kind of person is she, and what has happened to her?

 

She is struggling to continue her existence at this point I believe.

 

After Theo's exhausted, hardened entrance--were you surprised at the warmth that this family obviously had for each other? Was Theo the sort of person you were expecting?

 

No this family obviously shared warmth from the start and nothing can tear that apart.  Needless to say, I viewed those first few days as an adjustment period which I probably would need myself after having been taken away under the conditions he was.

 

This family, at times, has barely any necessities--how do they make do? Does your own family have stories of coming through such an impossible struggle?  

 

My grandmother was an orphan and although she isn't willing to share much of that time I hear enough to know that she has suffered terribly.  I feel so fortunate to have not lived through those times and don't know if I would be strong enough at some point.

 

What demands do these two seasons make on this family? What do they do in Spring and in Summer?

 

Definitely prep and planting in Spring and reaping the goods in Summer.  Not outside playing and cell phones by no means.  You can tell by the dip in the creek when Maria is away that simple kind of pleasure is few and far between.

 

At the end of the Summer chapter, the family has lost much of it's crops and property to a fire, and then is hit by a dust storm! How do you think the family is going to survive through the coming chapters? Were you surprised by these early calamities?

 

I feel like these were natural elements that probably changed many lives each and every year during that time period.  I'm also interested in finding out if the neighbor whose property was NOT disturbed will pull through and help out.