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ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,523
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

Debbie, I am really enjoying this book. I am thinking about buying the ones that I missed unless I can get them at our other library. We don't have them at the library I work at. I will see if they have them at the county library, if not I will buy them. Amazon has them for some pretty good prices.

 

I have joined a group at my library. We will be reading four books for four months. It is one mysteries this time. We get to keep the books.

 

We also have other clubs, but I have not yet joined yet.  I am still thinking about it.

 

I will let you know how I like the book.

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janv
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎10-15-2008

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

My 1st impression of the characters:

 

MARIA - determined, strong-willed, loving, and focused

THEODOR - Scarred, responsible, hardworking and calloused

SOPHIA - the typical teenager

DANIA - caring, simple, good and obedient

KATYA - inquisitive, imaginative

MYRON - mature, dependable

IVAN - sensitive, loving, innocent

 

ANNA - depressed, defeated, lost and suicidal

LESYA - capable; old beyond her years

PETRO - sad, jealous, impressionable

 

Anna's Behavior: Anna thought she would live the life of a princess with a strong and adoring husband; a husband who was respected and successful.  Everything has gone wrong for her in life.  Anna spends her time in fastasyland, wishing she was free from her responsibilities and realities.  She is totally depressed and consumed with what could have been and what she thinks should have been.  She rebels against motherhood and life in general.

 

I was not surprised by Theodor ... I didn't really have a preconceived idea about his character.  I was surprised, however, by how brutal prison was for him.  I didn't expect his spirit to be so broken.  I never imagined the cruelty and difficulty of life for which they were all subjected.  I was not surprised by the warmth of his family - they had little else to cling to than one another.

 

I expected hardships in such a harsh land, but more so for the winter.  I thought they might be challenged with drought or insects, and even lack of proper tools.  I never expected fire, or dust storms, or the injustices they endured in their dealings with government.  They make do by planning ahead as best they can for problems; by stretching, stretching, and then stretching even farther all their necessities.  From the beginning of the story, I have felt that Maria was the anchor of the family. I think in the upcoming chapters, she will continue to be their anchor, and they will survive on their determination to go forward.

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alexia561
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

My initial impression of Maria is that she's a strong woman who will do absolutely anything for her family. She is a survivor. Anna does not seem as strong. While she may be a good woman at heart, I didn't like how she treated her daughter or how she reacts to how her husband mistreats her. Anna allows herself to wallow in depression, which is unacceptable in their situation. If it wasn't for Maria, Anna and her children would probably have died.
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gl
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer



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? 

 

I loved Maria - she seemed so tough and capable, so aware of the threat to her family that she'd put her own fears, needs, and sadness aside.  Maria is a foil to her siste-in-law Anna who ignores her children's needs and wallows in her disappointment and needs.  Anna eats as much as she wants, makes no attempt to help or gauge the joint family's resources.  I understand that she stepped in and allowed Teodor's family to homestead the land in her name but I wish someone would shake her.

 

Anna, Sofia, Petrov each seem so selfish when compared to their peers in the story, although by today's standards they're just ordinary people with regular reactions.

 

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?

 

 Anna is pregnant and a battered wife, she yearns for the glamorous life that her husband described to her when they emigrated.  She has a clear picture in her head of the kind of life that she deserves and thought that she would have when young and beautiful she married the goodlooking army man.  

 

She's weak, escapist, and a deadweight.  She's emotionally unstable, an indifferent mother, and fixated on her problems.  She worries that life is passing her by.  It doesn't occur to her to step up and help or to try to turn things around.  My assessment may be unkind but I want to shake her.

 

 

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?

 

I was surprised at how loved and respected Theo was after he returned.  He was not the sort of person that I'd expected. I liked how Shandi Mitchell showed what each of the children saw when they looked at their father. It taught us both about the different children and Theo.  In those descriptions, I liked Myron best of all.  He could see how weak his father had become but he always found ways to show his respect and to allow his father his dignity. Myron was unfailingly helpful and sensitive.  Reading the passage, you knew that Theo was proud of his son but wished that he had the way of speaking it.

 

 

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?  

 

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

 

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?

 

Yes! It seemed so unfair. When the mice got at the grain and Theo and Myron had to bring it in and it almost wasn't accepted I was so upset.  The whole time I kept worrying about what sneaky trick Stefan was going to pull on them.  The suspense is awful.  I don't want to know what other sad thing is going to happen.


 

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dj5775
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

The story begins by introducing the characters in their own light. It describes the struggles and hardships they endured to attain a better life  out of the Ukraine. Family and personal sacrifices. Anna and Stefan purchasing land and Teodore's courage and drive resulting in his imprisonment following a deal gone wrong. His family then living With Anna's.

Maria is a strong woman full of love and devotion to the family, caring for everyone. She is a hard worker doing all that she must until Teodore comes home again. Anna's strength in her marriage changed from day one and now is depressed essentially. She is drawn to the coyotes and the night finding her comfort there. Showing no feeling toward her children or new pregnancy. The family respects and understands Teodore's homecoming giving him the quietness and time to heal, he's been away for quite some time and experienced much. The family's struggles make the story more real, early immigrants had them. Acquiring land, cultivating it, having food and enough for the whole family was important to survive, firewood to stay warm during cold times, having equiptment for farming, and keeping their faith. It just shows to survive you have to work and to live you will have to struggle. The family is adapting with learning a new language with Maria ensuring they maintain the use of their native tounge. Spring brings time to cultivate the land, Teodore's weakness is apparent as he begins farm duties, his son is aware of this sensitivity and works hard to prove his strength as his father's gains. A new home for Teodore's family is being built as well. The garden is planted and is a family venture. Summer brings preperations for the first meal from the garden especially for Teodore.

Summer also brings some unanticipated disasters the fire and dust-storm. They now have to prepare for the winter months on what they have, it should be interesting to see how they make it thru to next spring. 

I'm liking the story so far...  the struggles they face and the strength they have , the different personas, the wonder of what will happen next.

ct
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drbjaded
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

My first impressions of the characters is that they have been through alot and have struggled but have kept themselves alive when all else has been lost.  Losing the major bread winner in the family and only being women and children is certainly difficult.  They managed to sustain themselves in any way that they could. 

 

They ran from Russia after soldiers took over their house and possessions.  They were bribing the soldiers but would evidently lose everything like everyone else.  Her husband kept pushing for her to come and keep going on their long journey.

 

He was the sort of person I was expecting.  He was fighting for what rightly belonged to him.  He had tended that land and it was his.  I think they didn't recognize him at first and after they realized who it was they were happy to see him.  I think maybe the children were to young to have known what happened to him and over the years maybe Maria has talked to them about him and now they know why he left. 

 

She's depressed because the person she THOUGHT she knew was actually a cold hearted animal who just took everything from her he wanted.  He lied about his past and she realizes that she married a stranger.  She is depressed because she has another mouth to feed and it was something she so strongly wanted to avoid even if it meant using a knife to fight off her husband.  I think deep down she's strong but she's just lost and doesn't really realize that she's not alone in her battle.  She has her family around her to help. 

 

They make do with trading items and growing their own food.  I never had the struggles that they faced but my parents did.  They had to tend the fields and pick cotton and make due with hand me downs. 

 

I'm not surprised at the tragedies that befall the family.  It's expected that when everything is going good something happens to change all of that.  What goes up must come down.  Great read so far.

"You cannot love life until you live the life you love."
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sgregg88
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

What are your initial impressions of Maria, Anna, and the children? 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? While Maria seems strong and capable, Anna seems like her strength is so deep inside that she can not reach it. I find them an interesting contrast to each other, especially when Maria tries to take care of Anna. But, I find Anna the more interesting, because I think that she has lost something about herself and I am intrigued to see if she will find it again. Will her circumstances keep her depressed, or will she find that inner strength? 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? I wasn't surprised by the warmth of the family, but how quickly they found it again. Theo had been away for a long time, and this family had to struggle a lot, but seemed to rally fairly quickly when he came home. They tried to make things go back to the way they had been, the way they wanted, but it seemed rushed to me.
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dragonfly_yayn
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎05-10-2009
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Re: Early Chapters: Spring and Summer

[ Edited ]
I know I am weighing in late here, but just got a computer long enough to respond & then read.  I will also start off with the fact that this is not my usual genre of reading and though I like the characters, I found it very difficult to get into.  It is written in a somewhat observatory role (as a documentarian does), and I really like when the characters tell their own stories.

 

What are your initial impressions of Maria, Anna, and the children? I am already in love with little Ivan, I am not to found of Anna but now a days she would be diagnosed with depression.  I relate to Anna & look forward to how her character evolves in the book.  I admire Lesya for overcoming her disability & being able to out due let alone keep up with the other children.

How did Maria and her children wind up here?  I feel it is because of the harshness of the rules and even though Canada encouraged & invited the immigrants, they were still outsiders who could have their labors taken easier if they couldn't keep the strict agreement.  That small amount grain was not worth the punishment that all of them had to endure.  Although I think the arrangement with Anna will be helpful to not only Maria & her children, but Lesya too.

 

Can you describe how Anna behaves and do you have any sense of why she seems so depressed? It seems the harsh reality of the new life in a new country is very hard for her to face after being so spoiled & adored.

 

What kind of person is she, and what has happened to her?  She was not intended for the life she has, but instead of dealing with reality, she has withdrawn. 

 

After Theo's exhausted, hardened entrance--were you surprised at the warmth that this family obviously had for each other? At first thinking that he was a vagrant, but was surprised to find out he was their father.  I absolutely love the part where his son takes Theo's face in his hands and then exclaimed It's him! Was Theo the sort of person you were expecting? Yes and No. I was expecting hardness from prison, but seeing the softer side for the children was very nice.

 

This family, at times, has barely any necessities--how do they make do? That is a beautiful thing about humans & most parents, they do what they have to to survive.  That was more apparent in the olden days, and more people had morals to help guide them too.  Maria is a very logical person who keeps a balance of keeping them all from starving, but unfortunately does not have the resources to keep them fully nourished.

 

What demands do these two seasons make on this family? Getting ready to plant & build to keep their agreement is a lot of work & is what will maintain their family through the winter & future.  

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?