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Frequent Contributor
Jessica
Posts: 968
Registered: ‎09-24-2006
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First Impressions

Reply to this message to share your thoughts about the early chapters of the book (through Chapter Three).

Which characters or storylines spark your interest?

So far, how does this book compare to other Patchett books you've read?
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: First Impressions

[ Edited ]
The very first sentence grabbed my attention immediately: "Bernadette had been dead two weeks when her sisters showed up in Doyle's living room asking for the statue back."

I am in familiar literary territory. Ann Patchett's novels deal with themes of art and beauty. Her books are subtle and sly comedy of manners. Her characters are shaped by their appreciation of the finer points of beautiful things and manners; they are often caught in morally challenging situations which subtly affect their behavior.

For example, in BEL CANTO, one of my favorite Ann Patchet's novels, a world-famous opera singer is caught in a political kidnapping, and her art becomes a key element in the plot.
In THE MAGICIAN'S ASSISTANT, the main character is a beautiful magician's assistant. When her magician husband dies, she discovers that his entire life has been a clever lie... an exercise in smoke and mirrors.

The first chapter of RUN sets up a background story against which the entire novel will play out. We find out that the statue of the Virgin Mary has been in Bernadette's family for generations. It's traditionally passed down to the daughters of each generation who most closely resembles it. It's an extraordinarily beautiful piece of scultpure representing the Virgin Mother; it symbolizes all the positive qualities we associate with motherhood.

Bernadette inherited the statue because she most closely resembled it. Now that she has passed away, her sisters want it back. Bernadette and Doyle have 3 sons, but no daughters.

The dilemma is right there: how can Doyle, a headstrong ex-mayor of Boston, keep the statue when he has no daughters to inherit it? He has every intention of keeping the statue. Once I got to meet his interesting sons, I too wanted them to keep the beautiful work of art in their home.

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 01-04-2008 12:58 PM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

Beginning this book was the equivalent of sitting in the sunshine with a tall glass of sweet tea and my little dog stretched out beside me. I don't really ever want to put a book down, but this one wants to glue itself to my fingers... I often carry books around with me, but I took this one out to get the mail.

First impression- "must read slowly! - make it last"

I was nodding and agreeing from the outset - I'm so glad for my ethnic diversity! It really does help me relate-- perhaps too much.
Stephanie
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: First Impressions

Stephanie,

RUN made me very conscious of the theme of race. Especially in such a politically liberal city as Boston. Home of the Kennedy clan.... Even though Boston prides itself on its open-minded-ness, the novel does point out how segregated the neighborhoods are. Kenya and Tennessee live in a public project building that's within walking distance of Doyle's mansion.

In any other American city, especially in the deep South, for example, I wonder how smooth the integration of Tip and Teddy would have been being adopted by a public politcal figure like an Irish mayor?

What are your thoughts?

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

In the beginning, one of my first impressions was that it was not easy, as mayor, for Doyle to adopt the little boys. At the Jackson lecture, when we're hinted to about Sullivan's scandal, it's also hinted at that the adoption was fodder for the press as well, as it would have to be, realistically. That's the stuff the media loves.
Stephanie
Reader
Mindy_J
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-08-2007
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Re: First Impressions

This is the very first novel I have read of Ann Patchett's. It has captivated me from day one. I must admit, I had to re-read the story of how the statue made it into Bernadette's family. I actually thought that the first story was true.

I am intrigued by Tip. His outlook on things are very comparable to my own late teens, early twenty's.

I am struggling with Sullivan. I haven't pegged him yet, but I have only been introduced to him after the accident. I am excited to see how his character is going to play out.

I absolutely adore Kenya. My, what an intuitive little girl. I really related to her, as well, in my younger years. However, being of Caucasian decent, I never had to deal with the issue of one's race. I did grow up in a less-than-average financial home, and saw how that could divide even children.

I have sensed from the very beginning that Doyle had a deep love for Bernadette, and I believe has not yet coped with her loss. I can't wait to see how that unfolds.

I loved what you both have said so far and can't wait continue with our conversations!
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

Mindy,

I know just how you feel- this story unfolds in such intriguing ways- I'm rereading so many sections, just to make sure I haven't missed any nuances.

I agree about Doyle's love for Bernadette. I got that same sense.
Stephanie
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: First Impressions -- Kenya Moser



Mindy_J wrote:
I absolutely adore Kenya. My, what an intuitive little girl. I really related to her, as well, in my younger years. br>



I agree that Kenya is a marvelous literary creation. She is a breath of fresh air...

One of my favorite passages are her reactions in Chapter 7 when she wakes up in Tip and Teddy's bedroom in Union Park....

"When Kenya opened her eyes it was to a flood of astonishing sunlight... She could do nothing but take in the light. It had never occurred to her... that all the places she had slept in her life had been dark...

"Every bit of her was straight and strong and beautiful in this light. She glowed...She wondered if there wasn't some way that light was divided and somehow, even though it didn't seem logical, more of it wound up in better neighborhoods?"

I loved basking in her presence surrounded by this amazing sunlight!
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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