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Distinguished Correspondent
flouncyninja
Posts: 78
Registered: ‎09-14-2009

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

This book is the absolute definition of "Don't judge a book by its cover" for me.  When I opened up my package to find the book, I have to admit I rolled my eyes and my boyfriend had a good laugh.  It looks very melodramatic and Harlequin romance to me.  Then I took the time to see what it was about and I was hook by:

 

And then, before snapping her bag closed, she added the small back handgun.


Now she was ready.

 

There's so much ambiance in just those two little lines.  It's very noir-ish and compelling.  From then on I could barely put the book down to go to bed or to stop at the end of part one.  The characters are interesting, which I'm so happy about after reading a handful of YA books where the main characters tend to be on the side of whiney, self-absorbed and "woe is me".

 

Granted, these are still teenage girls who have a narrow minded view that the world revolves around their wants and needs, but they do things and they have distinctive personalities and they go out for adventures.  I'm loving how Gloria - the good girl - is most likely to be the one with the handgun from the prologue.  She's the only one who has been described to have green eyes.  I don't believe the other two have specified eye colors so far, but I find it fascinating that this formerly straightlaced, angelic little rich girl might possibly become a gun-weilding femme fetale.  I'm looking forward to seeing how she gets from point A to point B.

 

And then there's Clara, who wins just for stealing a cop car just because nobody was around and leaving it in a NYC intersection.  I think Clara might buy into her own innocent act and end up the good guy, but at this point I have no idea.  She's manipulating everyone around her like chess pieces, gaining the trust and admiration of all the girls and their mothers.  And yet all the while someone is stalking her - the mysterious dark Cad from NYC she seems so afraid of?  Is he a mobster or some other unsavory creature of this speakeasy underworld?

 

I think Lorraine is my least favorite, though I still find her interesting.  Always living in the shadows of her "perfect" best friend who has everything she'd ever wanted and somehow does everything that much more better...  I hope she's able to get past her need to be the center of attention and find what she needs to become the woman she wants to be outside of her relationship with Gloria.

 

And I should find Marcus an obnoxious playboy, but I think I really want him as my best friend too.

 

 

I'm so excited about this book and can't wait to see what everyone has to say!

Reader
NinaWick
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-02-2010

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I'm really enjoying the book so far!  As a teacher, I could see this book being a great addition to getting students really excited about The Great Gatsby.  I believe the author's powerful illustrations of life in the Roaring Twenties gives great insight and a strong understanding of the culture then.  

Distinguished Correspondent
Bonnie_C
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎08-07-2009

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

It seems like that in this time period, women were defined by how well they married, not by any accomplishments they made in their own right.  Gloria is a bright girl but she feels stifled in her life as an up-and-coming socialite, especially when she finds out that she has been used as a bargaining chip between her father and Sebastian. 

 

The girls are frustrated and want to break out of the socialite molds and become flappers.  But will they attain freedom if they do?  It seems like they will just be trading one stifling role for another.  The life they have right now is very rigid with rules regarding dress and social etiquette.  The life of the flappers seem to be just as rigidly defined.  You have to look a certain way.  You have to dress a certain way.  You have to behave a certain way.  That's not freedom.

 

Bonnie

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flouncyninja
Posts: 78
Registered: ‎09-14-2009
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

 


Sarah-W wrote:

Hello All, 

 

How are you enjoying Vixen so far?

 

To start things off, I thought I would comment that I noticed two things in this first section of Vixen and I'm very interested in hearing what you might think about them:

 

1. Each of the characters seems to be trying to change their lives by manipulating their image. Gloria is a good girl interested in exploring the flapper lifestyle. Lorraine is her best friend who is jealous of Gloria and thinks she can get attention through a bad girl reputation and appearance. Then we have Clara who has a past living the high life as a flapper in New York City, but decides to adopt of the persona of 'Country Clara' when she comes to Chicago to help with Gloria's wedding. Why do you think each of these character is so interested in changing their looks? Do you think they are successful? Does changing their looks change their lives?

 

2. The other thing that really struck me about this first section of Vixen is Gloria's first meeting with Jerome, a black piano player at the Green Mill speakeasy."'You're here because you think it makes you free,'" he tells her. "'Unlike the rest of your little schoolgirl friends, sneaking out without Daddy's permission. Listening to the black man play his music and dirty your lily white hands... But you ain't free, kid. You wouldn't know how to be free if your life depended on it.'" I'm very interested in hearing about what you think regarding 'freedom' in this novel. Does sneaking off to a speakeasy, drinking illegal substances, or cutting one's hair make someone free? What constitutes freedom to you, and do any of the characters we've met so far have it?

 

What are your thoughts about the first section of Vixen? What are your predictions (no spoilers, please!) about what might happen next?


 

1.  I think they're all doing a good job imitating who they want to be, but underneath the facade, they aren't changing.  Gloria is still the sheltered, good girl who is stepping out of her comfort zone, but inside she's still nervous and scared.  During her meeting with Jerome, there were a number of times she wanted to run out of there, but couldn't because she was keeping up appearances.  Clara is pretending to be the innocent, all the while manipulating everyone into buying her act/lies.  I think of the three she might come close to fitting into the garish society that she's been stuffed into, but right now, she's still the same bad girl she was, what with her flask and her cunning schemes to get her aunt to trust her.  Then Lorraine is just a mess, a sloppy mess that needs someone to take the time to pay attention to her and help her realize her "bad girl attitude" is a really bad idea.

 

2.  I think Jerome was referring to the fact that Gloria is still stuck in the societal confines of being the nouveau riche.  She's at the Green Mill in secret and, if anyone found out she was there, her reputation and her family's standing in Chicago high society would be compromised.  Jerome rightly sees this as a rebellous phase that she'll grow out of and become part of the social strata she's meant to be in, and Gloria believes it too, saying that she's only going to the Green Mill because she can't after she gets married.  None of the characters are free to live their lives as they choose - they're all maintaining images for those around them, not truly being themselves.  When they try to be themselves, they end up being thrown in jail (Clara), overshadowed by their best friend (Lorraine) or being ostracized by their own family (Gloria).

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Brooke_Lynn_G
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Registered: ‎10-04-2010
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

flouncyninja- I totally agree about the cover- i feel like it could of been way better! But i loved the font of the title. The more i look at the cover the more i like it! :smileytongue:

 

 

Brooke-Reports.blogspot.com
Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
Posts: 4,011
Registered: ‎11-01-2006

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

Superbookworm wrote:

 

I really liked the Prologue.  Who do you think is the one with the gun?  It could be Gloria since she seems to be the main character.  But I'm thinking it is Clara.

 

I think the prologue is the key to this whole book. Who is after Clara? Is it someone from her past in New York? And who is writing all these notes to her saying they are coming for her. Obviously, she has made some dangerous enemies and they know where she is. A bit of intrigue in this book will go a far distance.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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maxcat
Posts: 4,011
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I really can't predict how everything is going to turn out. But, I'm willing to bet that Gloria won't marry Bastion and Clara will meet whoever is following her. Lorraine will continue to outdo Gloria and Marcus will continue his reckless life going to speakeasys. I can't predict about Jerome; he is in a world of mobsters and he is black, still to be shunned from high society. The time period is crucial to all characters as it is a "coming of age" era. Young girls want to grow up too fast and live that fast life. And it is a reckless era at a time where Prohibition was rampant and people were having a good time pre- Depression years.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

 

Great questions, Sarah.  Very thought provoking.

 

 

Hi everyone, I am really enjoying this novel and it was very hard for me to stop reading last night.  The characters are well defined and the author has captured the angst of being "not quite a grown-up" perfectly. 

 

While I agree that Lorraine and Gloria are trying to manipulate their images, I think Clara is just trying to keep her head above water and keep out of trouble.  Clara seems to be playing a part so know one knows how deeply in trouble she was in New York, while Lorraine and Gloria really want to shed their childhood ways and break out of the roles their parents have set for them. 

 

Lorraine is trying so hard to be popular, she wants to be Gloria, that girl who the teachers, students, and parents like and Lorraine is nothing without her friendship with Gloria and, I think, Lorraine knows the truth.  What Gloria really wants is to get away from her life as it is set out before her.

 

All three of the girls changed their looks to rebel against authority (i.e., their parents) and to fit in with the part she is playing.   Lorraine to get noticed, Clara to not get noticed, and Gloria because she wants to shock.   I believe that any time you drastically change your look, you change your life and these characters are no different. 

 

Freedom is so hard to define, because everyone has a different definition.  However, I think Jerome totally describes Gloria and her lack of freedom. Of course, it makes sense (to me) that the person who understands freedom and lack thereof, is a black piano player at a speakeasy.

 

 None of the characters that we've met so far are free, but I would be willing to bet that they all think they are. 

 

To me, freedom is the ability to go where I want, when I want, with whom I want, to make my own decision and rules. 

Wordsmith
babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144


Sarah-W wrote:

Hello All, 

 

How are you enjoying Vixen so far?

 

To start things off, I thought I would comment that I noticed two things in this first section of Vixen and I'm very interested in hearing what you might think about them:

 

1. Each of the characters seems to be trying to change their lives by manipulating their image. Gloria is a good girl interested in exploring the flapper lifestyle. Lorraine is her best friend who is jealous of Gloria and thinks she can get attention through a bad girl reputation and appearance. Then we have Clara who has a past living the high life as a flapper in New York City, but decides to adopt of the persona of 'Country Clara' when she comes to Chicago to help with Gloria's wedding. Why do you think each of these character is so interested in changing their looks? Do you think they are successful? Does changing their looks change their lives?

 

2. The other thing that really struck me about this first section of Vixen is Gloria's first meeting with Jerome, a black piano player at the Green Mill speakeasy."'You're here because you think it makes you free,'" he tells her. "'Unlike the rest of your little schoolgirl friends, sneaking out without Daddy's permission. Listening to the black man play his music and dirty your lily white hands... But you ain't free, kid. You wouldn't know how to be free if your life depended on it.'" I'm very interested in hearing about what you think regarding 'freedom' in this novel. Does sneaking off to a speakeasy, drinking illegal substances, or cutting one's hair make someone free? What constitutes freedom to you, and do any of the characters we've met so far have it?

 

What are your thoughts about the first section of Vixen? What are your predictions (no spoilers, please!) about what might happen next?


1.  I think each of the girls wants to change her looks because they want to be someone else; or at least portrayed as someone else.  Gloria doesn't like her boring life.  Lorraine doesn't like being in Gloria's shadow, and I don't think Clara has much choice at this point to portray herself other than that of a country bumpkin/good girl - otherwise Aunt Beatrice  will send her off to reform school.  Clara has the most life experience of the three girls and knows she has to reinvent herself if she wants to prove to her parents and Aunt that she has changed. 

 

2.  Freedom would be the ability to live their lives the way they want to without having to depend on someone else for their livelihood and to be free from the constraints of living the way society expects them to live. Sneaking off to the speakeasy, drinking, and cutting your hair is rebellious and daring, but it's not freedom because at the end of the night you go home to your old way of life.  There's obviously the race issue with Jerome being the forbidden fruit that Gloria yearns for and is willing to jeopardize her "station" in life for.

 

I think at this point Gloria is trying the hardest to experience life and break out of the mold she's been set in.  She's aware that there's something out there other than deb balls and getting married and settling down at such a young age - yet once her mother tells her that her father isn't coming home and she has to marry for money, she feels obligated not to let her mother down.  So at this point, I think Gloria is looking to sow some wild oats before having to settle down but I'm thinking that once she gets a taste of what her life could be, she isn't going to want to do what her family expects of her.  And I'm thinking that Bastian isn't going to like being duped - especially if he finds her dancing with Jerome!

 

 

"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
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mommybooknerd
Posts: 178
Registered: ‎08-04-2010
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I have to say that I love the female characters in this book.  They are all interesring and powerful in their own way.  I love the time period because I have not read a lot in that era.  I think that this is going to be an amazing series.  What did others think about the female characters so far???

You are the author of your own life story.
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naylorchic
Posts: 454
Registered: ‎11-19-2009
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I did start Vixen today. I didn't get very far cuz I'm a little under the weather. Hoping to get further in tomorrow. I did finish the 1st chapter on my lunch today. It's off to a really good start.  I was shocked to learn that Gloria is engaged. I'm a little confused about her age. I had assumed prob 16 or 17, but now I'm not sure. I can't tell if she really is that age and just engaged young (which probably is the case) or if she older than I originally thought. Was anyone else surprised by this? Hope to post more tomorrow.

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southrnbella
Posts: 137
Registered: ‎06-06-2010
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144


Atreyu59 wrote:

brilliantsunshine;

I disagree with your point of view that it should be toned down a bit.

For todays YA this is a good read.  I like it when the author writes yet leaves a good bit to the imagination instead of making everything explicit and spoonfeed known.

 

I agree with dHaupt and swan480 it is right on the money.  I do not think that this sex talk is gratuitous at all.  The hint of it in that era was shocking but today's teens, tweens, kids get more than just the hint of it in almost all other readings.  This book is right on target as far as I would permit my teen (grandbabies) read it.  The book could have gone into a bit more saucy sex because what really occurred at the speak easy's in those days, yet it didn't at all.

 


I completely agree with what Atreyu59, dHaupt, and Swan480 said...This book isnt near as sexually explict as some of the YA books Ive read...For the era it is written for yes she could have done alot more but it is tasteful and beautifully done and I would recommend this book to any of my younger friends not fearing that a "lady showing her knees" would offend them

Peace n Page Turners
http://live2lovebooks.blogspot.com/
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southrnbella
Posts: 137
Registered: ‎06-06-2010
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144


naylorchic wrote:

I did start Vixen today. I didn't get very far cuz I'm a little under the weather. Hoping to get further in tomorrow. I did finish the 1st chapter on my lunch today. It's off to a really good start.  I was shocked to learn that Gloria is engaged. I'm a little confused about her age. I had assumed prob 16 or 17, but now I'm not sure. I can't tell if she really is that age and just engaged young (which probably is the case) or if she older than I originally thought. Was anyone else surprised by this? Hope to post more tomorrow.


 

yes gloria is 17 and still in high school. I think that was the thing to do back then go to school and then become the perfect housewife....but what I don't get is why is lorraine going off to college...while Gloria is stuck getting married? Because it talks about what a wonderful student she is...Im guessing it was the parents doing...

Peace n Page Turners
http://live2lovebooks.blogspot.com/
Reader
bnewb2010
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-04-2010

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I like the book so far. It has an interesting plot line and unique characters.

1. I believe that Gloria, Clara, and Loraine want to change their images because they are sick of the people they have been up to this point. Gloria doesn't want to be the good girl anymore, she doesn't the future life with Sebastian. Clara doesn't want to be seen as a flapper anymore, she wants to be more of the good girl. Loraine wants Marcus to see her as his true love rather than just Gloria's best friend. She believes that if she has the bad girl reputation then he will notice her. In a way, all three girls are successful, but they end up ruining relationships and causing problems with their new selves.It does change aspects of their lives.

2. I believe that in a way that the flapper lifestyle portrayed in the novel is a form of freedom. For the night, you get to be someone else and leave that life behind. I believe that freedom is when you are able to be yourself. You have the freedom to choose what you do and who you are. I think that in a way the novel does have characteristics of what I view as freedom. Though, most characters want to be free from their lives, they still worry about what will happen after the night of drinking and smoking a speakeasy.

 

I predict that the book will have some sort of twist and something happen between Gloria and Jerome. I don't know what, but I predict that something will happen with them.

Moderator
Sarah-W
Posts: 526
Registered: ‎10-29-2009

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

 

cosbie, I read your comment and couldn't help but think, "Gloria goes from good girl to bad girl. Lorraine goes from good girl to bad PERSON."
Gloria is breaking the rules (and breaking the law!) but Lorraine seems likely to violate the trust of her closest friends.

cosbie wrote:

"Raine seems to be changing the most.  She went from being a supportive, loving friend, to a semi evil and resentful 'friend.'  Although Gloria is going from good girl to bad girl, Raine is changing her stance as a friend...she is letting her frustration from constantly coming in second place take over her..."

 

Contributor
juliewu
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎10-05-2010
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

I love Vixen so far. I have been trying to find times to fit reading into my busy and have decided to read about one chapter every night. In response to your question, I think that the characters want to change their looks but each for very different reasons. Gloria has seen the life of her mother and friends and feels that she doesn’t want to be a disposable housewife with a good last name. She wants attention for something other than being a rich little girl. Clara was ultimately given the option to change her ways or to be sent to reform school. At first the idea of acting as the good girl killed her, but now she is beginning to slowly appreciate the character she is playing.  I think that “country Clara” will morph into Clara’s present personality as she reflects on her past. Lorraine sees herself as deprived of the perfect life of her friend. She wants the limelight and will do whatever is necessary to gain it.

 

Regarding freedom in this novel, the characters believe they are deprived of it. Clara does not have the freedom to do as she wishes. Gloria must hide her alternative identity and therefore, does not have full freedom. In my opinion, the definition of freedom can be very subjective; to each their own. Gloria feels free when she goes to the speakeasy. Clara thinks she would achieve freedom if she could go back to her old life. The lifestyle of the flapper is to live free without rules or constraints. This freedom is what draws the girls to the “underground” lifestyle. 

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TrishW_fic
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-05-2010
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

The first section of Vixen has been highly enjoyable and it has been hard not to gobble it in a single sitting. The chapters divided by main character has allowed greater definition for each of the main characters.  The desire of each of the girls to change their image is a familiar one.  Each is trapped by societal expectations and all at different stages of rebellion. In the first section Gloria is in the initial stages struggling against her parents and fiancé, Lorraine rebels, desperate for attention, and Clara is trying to recover from previous rebellion.  I am looking forward to reading more.

Moderator
Sarah-W
Posts: 526
Registered: ‎10-29-2009

Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

Great observation! I was thinking about this, too, how the men in the novel don't have to manipulate their images so much to cross social boundaries. 

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Sarah-W
Posts: 526
Registered: ‎10-29-2009
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy through page 144

 

narcisse, this is so true... the grass is always greener, even for people who seem to have everything... 

narcisse wrote:

" ... people from all sorts of backgrounds who are always wishing they were someone or something else.  I found it particularly interesting with regards to Gloria and Clara.... Another big thing in this book for me is the secrets.  EVERYONE has secrets.


 

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Sarah-W
Posts: 526
Registered: ‎10-29-2009
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Re: Vixen Discussion: Part I: Speak Easy thru page 144

The book has plenty of surprises, we're just getting warmed up! 

 

I also wanted to let readers know that while the book is quite suggestive, the sexual content stays in a PG-13 range.

 

Any thoughts to who the Vixen of the title might be?