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message 1: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Hi everybody!

We've done so much discussing, I can't believe we are only into week 2! Discussion will mostly be up to chapter 24 which is end of part one, but we have been approaching this read much more informal than before, so anything seems to go really, without giving too much away for readers still catching up.

I am so glad we are doing this book. I am really enjoying it. Can't put it down!


message 2: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "Ag Dankie Adele! Yes, its fun rubbing John the wrong way. He really is a glutton for punishment."

Hey Vicki, I've been going easy on you during your first week. Now that you've found your feet, I'm going to squeeze again and see if you squeal.
Congrats, btw, on a great 1st week - I think that's a record number of posts for 1 week.


message 3: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "John wrote: "Vicki wrote: "Ag Dankie Adele! Yes, its fun rubbing John the wrong way. He really is a glutton for punishment."

Hey Vicki, I've been going easy on you during your first week. Now that..."


Squeeze-fest ahead.


message 4: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments I'm done.

My mom's got a schnauzer. Funny little dog that.


message 5: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Adele wrote: "I'm done.

My mom's got a schnauzer. Funny little dog that."


I'm done too.


message 6: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "Who would like to guess what car I drive?"

Gotta be a Fiat 500. I also know what washing machine powder you use.


message 7: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "Has anyone picked up on Ariel's respect for older women? They can offer her advice and guidance. Do we as a society undervalue the importance of the elderly? Why do we do that? In this book Ariel ..."

Maggie and Mavis are perfect neighbours and friends for Ariel. She seems to need them in her life more than she needs Nate. We don't know, however, if the need Ariel has for them is only because of her relocation, or whether she has had this unfulfilled need all her life. Her immediate liking and respect for both indicates that she might have had a grandmother that fulfilled that role for her in the past, if her mother did not.

This also raises a concern that I have about Ariel's relationship with Nate. Although she speaks the words that indicate otherwise, Ariel never really seems to get to a place with Nate that she couldn't live without him. She is all too ready to cut him off or toss him out at the slightest provocation. I get the strong impression that she likes having him around, but would be fine without him. Nate obviously has mothering problems, and Ariel is taking advantage of this.


message 8: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "John wrote: "Vicki wrote: "Who would like to guess what car I drive?"

Gotta be a Fiat 500. I also know what washing machine powder you use."
Would that be Ariel? In this instance it sounds less li..."


Still waiting on the Fiat 500 answer.


message 9: by Leanne (new)

Leanne Hunt (leannehunt) Hi everyone! I'm back again, now that I found my Kindle cable and have been able to recharge it! Seems like I'm a bit behind everyone else but I would like to dive in and give my impressions for Vicki's sake. As I said in my last post, I'm really finding the book fun and the relationship with Nate has got me hooked.
On the topic of the older women in the building, Mavis certainly seems to be a support to Ariel. She is a sort of refuge, like a reference point of sanity in an otherwise bizarre set of circumstances. I like this in the story. I have often felt that older, wiser characters in a book provide a chance for an author to share some of her own learned wisdom without actually preaching at her readers. While the teens in this story are bold and spontaneous, and the adults are going crazy trying to find happiness before its too late, the older characters offer stability to the whole picture, keeping the reader feeling safe in the author's company.
Generally, I think older people are not paid enough attention in society, but I also think this has to do with the story that older people have told themselves about their role. My grandparents and parents, for example, were quite happy to settle into retirement and potter about, pursuing their hobbies. I suspect people who are middle-aged today — and certainly those who are younger — will be far more assertive when they reach retirement age. What do the rest of you think? I can't see Ariel, Nate, Sam, Nia and Lulu accepting a back seat when they get older — not with the internet at their disposal, anyway!


message 10: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Leanne wrote: "Hi everyone! I'm back again, now that I found my Kindle cable and have been able to recharge it! Seems like I'm a bit behind everyone else but I would like to dive in and give my impressions for V..."

Leanne, I'm not going quietly. I have paid my dues to society and my four children and now am going to be selfish in pursuing what, after 58 years, I have figured out is the most meaningful to me. I am fitter, healthier and stronger than I was during my forties, and aim to stay that way into my eighties. 'Pottering around with my hobbies' - what a waste of all the life lessons learned!
I love the Indian approach to old age: this is the time when the children are expected to support the parents as they pursue learning and wisdom. The youth respect and revere the old, as is the case in most traditional societies. Our modern, Western society is sick - how sick it is only now starting to realise.


message 11: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Sounds like something my mother in law would LOVE


message 12: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) Don wrote: "Just Christmas. Its a critical period for the retail industry. Many stores don't rise out of red ink for the year until December."

It's called 'black Friday' because it's the beginning of the season that puts many retailers in the black. It's actually beginning to start a little earlier, on Thanksgiving Thursday (an American holiday). I have an aversion for crowds, and don't enjoy shopping in the easiest of situations, so I avoid it like the plague.

I've seen the chaos on TV news but never experienced it myself. I think the fights that make the news are the exception rather than the rule.


message 13: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "I'm also not a crowd person and this is the reason why I've never been to a music concert in my life. I particularly don't like someone standing too close behind me and would probably lose it like ..."

Vicki, I'm finished but I have been holding back on commenting because I know Dave and Buck still have a way to go. Perhaps we should wait until they are complete and then do one more round of comments before we do our ratings and reviews?


message 14: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Oh I cant wait for the sequel! Will have to think about review. Please stand by.


message 15: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Oh I LOVED it!!!!!!!!


message 16: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) Vicki wrote: "Is anyone still reading this book?"

Maybe I am the only one. I got a late start. I'm not yet halfway through. Olympics on TV and family visiting slowing me down.


message 17: by Buck (last edited Feb 11, 2014 06:46AM) (new)

Buck (spectru) I've watched more TV in the last few days than in the previous year. I'm not particularly a big sports fan, and we don't even have winter weather in the subtropical climate where I live, but there's something about the Olympics...

I do have a question. What was the movie that Ariel and Nate watched on the evening of their first date, Vicki? It wasn't named but I presume you had a particular one in mind. Is there a literary convention that one oughtn't name movies or similar intellectual properties in fiction?


message 18: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki, I have two points that I would like you to clarify for me:
1) Why is Jonathan so touchy about Ariel swearing in front of him? Was this covered in the beginning - if so I must have missed it?
2) Why did Nate say: "You died, Ariel..." Ariel, was also confused by his comment.


message 19: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "Is the following statement made by Ariel true?
"...a man will always turn to anger before he turns to vulnerability.""


'Always' is a big word, just like 'never'.
However, as a rule, men are programmed to attack rather than submit. It is not a moral or character thing, but a matter of how we have evolved. Man wouldn't have survived the evolutionary process if his default response to a threat or challenge had been to be vulnerable or passive.

Herein lies the problem for the modern man. The quality of vulnerability has been assigned a moral and character value; men are starting to feel bad about themselves if they are not able to deal with threatening situations more like women do. I think Christianity, and in particular the figure of Jesus Christ, has been the main contributor to this.

The ideal man now is one who is strong but harmless, determined but understanding, successful but kind,.... all contradictions of the role and being he has evolved from.
Woman have not had this contradiction to deal with: their default mode of kindness, vulnerabilty, patience, etc is regarded as the ideal moral state of character. They do not have to change a thing - just keep on being who they are.

Tough being a modern man - I think I would rather have been a cowboy!


message 20: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Impact to lung can actually cause apneoa. Which means cessation of breathing. Also called the Hering-breuer reflex where the stretching of lung tissue prevents subsequent inspiration.

Vicky, if you were unaware of this reflex, where does this come from in your writing?

I must say that I interpreted this differently when i read it. It had the little bit of medical truth for me in the background, but i shrugged it off because i dont go looking for that in novels i read. I thought that Ariel simply died for Nathan in his head. Because in that moment she was dead for him. He was convinced of that. And that had a profound impact on him.


message 21: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments On Jonathan having a problem with Ariels swearing. Yes its about control. He needed the perfect wife. A woman who says yes and amen to whatever he wants in order to make himself feel stronger/better about himself. A woman needed to submit herself to him and that is what Ariel did for 20 years. So when Ariel starts swearing, this is one way of breaking free of those bounds set around her for 20 years and Jonathan sees that and cannot stand it. He is losing control and can feel his own weakness.


message 22: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments And yes, in my opinion men do first become aggressive before showing weakness. Its all about bull-shitting really. If you haven't got what it takes, bull-shit yourself through it. Because what else is there that you can do now? If you have a tough-guy dad especially. Not that Im condoning anything Jonathan did mind you.


message 23: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments But no, not all men are like this. I think me, vicky herself, Lisa and john could vouch for that. It all depends on personality, and Circumstance.


message 24: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "John wrote: "Vicki wrote: "Is the following statement made by Ariel true?
"...a man will always turn to anger before he turns to vulnerability.""

'Always' is a big word, just like 'never'.
Howeve..."


I am grateful that I fell in love with a woman whose first choice was to nurture, and to retain her unique sensibilities as a wife and mother first. No matter how hard I might have tried as a man, I would never have been able to give to my children what she gave to them - the same thing you give to your beloved little tomato plant. Your tears are tears of strength, not weakness, Vicki.


message 25: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Woods (adriennewoods03) | 145 comments Vicki wrote: "John wrote: "Vicki wrote: "Has anyone picked up on Ariel's respect for older women? They can offer her advice and guidance. Do we as a society undervalue the importance of the elderly? Why do we do..."

I think you've hit the nail in Arial's relationship right on the head and how she lacks of what a relationship should be.
Growing up without a father figure, and only had to do with a step one that was step, I can relate to this on so many levels as I had that same feeling. We never know how important a father's role in raising children really are. Without a loving father in a child's life, we never develop our relationship skills. Isn't this amazing. I never knew what a relationship should be because of having the wrong role models for fathers. I only found out as I seek help professionally myself. Your research made this so realistic and well done for that.


message 26: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Woods (adriennewoods03) | 145 comments Vicki wrote: "Is the following statement made by Ariel true?
"...a man will always turn to anger before he turns to vulnerability.""


Nope, you can't judge all the men by the same thing. Some really are gems and will treat you like a woman should be treated. They are just extremely rare. So when you find someone you got to let them in and hold on tight.


message 27: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Woods (adriennewoods03) | 145 comments John wrote: "Vicki wrote: "Is the following statement made by Ariel true?
"...a man will always turn to anger before he turns to vulnerability.""

'Always' is a big word, just like 'never'.
However, as a rule,..."


You really had such good points on these subjects


message 28: by Leanne (new)

Leanne Hunt (leannehunt) I agree with John that "always" is a big word. Very interesting comments there on vulnerability being linked to morality by Christian teaching. However, this aside, it may be true that men always instinctively react with anger because of their territorial/survival impulse, but it is, of course, possible to choose to respond differently. The same goes for women who instinctively react with submission because of their nurturing/peacekeeping impulse but can consciously choose to be assertive if the situation calls for it. The key word is "consciously" because to act contrary to our nature out of blind conditioning is no better than to react in accordance with base instinct.
Vicki, if I may, I should like to point out that I picked up several proofreading errors in the Kindle version of the book. Things like "on purposely" and "throw the remote of cry?" stood out for me because I was using the text-to-speech facility which reads the words exactly as they stand. Obviously, being a writer myself, I don't want to criticise, only to mention that these things slipped through. Unfortunately, they affect the reader's impressions of the book, which is a pity because the story is otherwise really entertaining.Vicki wrote: "John wrote: "Vicki wrote: "Is the following statement made by Ariel true?
"...a man will always turn to anger before he turns to vulnerability.""

'Always' is a big word, just like 'never'.
Howeve..."



message 29: by Leanne (new)

Leanne Hunt (leannehunt) Okay, so you've been over this already. Sorry to bring it up again, then. I'm very glad to hear that there is a new, updated version available and well done for taking the trouble to make the corrections. I feel better now about writing reviews for you, and will do so as soon as I've finished the book.Vicki wrote: "Leanne wrote: "I agree with John that "always" is a big word. Very interesting comments there on vulnerability being linked to morality by Christian teaching. However, this aside, it may be true t..."


message 30: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "FYI, sometime next week all of the readers here will receive a free book update from Amazon. I have requested they update all books to the new and revised version of my book. I think its a good id..."

Well done! Thanks, Vicki.


message 31: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Sjoe


message 32: by Leanne (new)

Leanne Hunt (leannehunt) That's very thoughtful of you, Vicki. Thank you! When we finally get Prime on Kindle in SA, it will be nice to exchange books we've read and enjoyed.Vicki wrote: "FYI, sometime next week all of the readers here will be listed to receive a free book update from Amazon. I have requested they update all books to the new and revised version of my book. I think ..."


message 33: by Leanne (new)

Leanne Hunt (leannehunt) Vicki, to respond to the link you posted, this story is horrific, and discussions on the radio make it clear that this is not an isolated case. My friend, who has a special interest in the scourge of human trafficking has written a very informative article on her blog at http://thechaseofmeaning.blogspot.com I recommend everyone reads it to get a better understanding of the problem.


message 34: by Buck (last edited Feb 15, 2014 02:57PM) (new)

Buck (spectru) With the Olympics on TV and family visiting all week, cutting into my reading time, finally I have finished part one.
I must say that I was getting tired of Ariel's coarse language. She has even mentioned herself that she swears too much. Yes, she does. She has one particular word she likes to use (as Ralphie says, "the queen mother of dirty words") especially in a three word phase I hadn't heard before. It has made me not care much for her.
And then, chapter 23, the story line abruptly changes. As the cliche goes, 'the plot thickens'.


message 35: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Buck wrote: "With the Olympics on TV and family visiting all week, cutting into my reading time, finally I have finished part one.
I must say that I was getting tired of Ariel's coarse language. She has even..."


Buck, I had the same response to Ariel's foul mouth. Most of the time it just wasn't necessary. I wonder if this is just a man thing? Do women react to foul language in other women differently to men? Perhaps women see swearing in another woman as a sign of being 'liberated' - they too can use bad language like men? Adele, you enjoyed Ariel as a character - is my theory correct?


message 36: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "John wrote: "Buck wrote: "With the Olympics on TV and family visiting all week, cutting into my reading time, finally I have finished part one.
I must say that I was getting tired of Ariel's coar..."


I'm tuned.


message 37: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) John wrote: "Do women react to foul language in other women differently to men? Perhaps women see swearing in another woman as a sign of being 'liberated' - they too can use bad language like men?"

It isn't just that she is a woman. Nathan uses the same crude language, though it seems not as much as Aerial. We see it more with Ariel perhaps because, being the narrator, she speaks more. It's just as ugly coming from Nathan as it is coming from Ariel.

Maybe this coarse language is more acceptable from a man because men are already expected to be a little rougher than women. Man or woman, it's still an unrefined manner of speech.


message 38: by Buck (last edited Feb 17, 2014 12:15PM) (new)

Buck (spectru) I don't really grasp why Nathan went to Johnathan's and beat him up. Ariel liked that Nathan stood up for her, but it seemed to be unprovoked. It seemed like a thuggish and possibly criminal thing to do. People get arrested for assault.

I also couldn't figure out why Ariel didn't tell the police who shot her. Johnathan would have been charged with attempted murder, among other things, and even if he had fled back to South Africa, surely he could have been extradited. I know that Ariel wanted to protect her kids, but having Johnathan on the loose isn't the safest situation either.


message 39: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Ariel's swearing and smoking is an attempt to turn into the woman Jonathan would have most hated. It is her way of rebelling against the 20 years of slavery in a loveless marriage.

I was also surprised at Nathan's assault on Jonathan and Ariel's reluctance in reporting the shooting. That is not at all how I would have handled the situation.


message 40: by Adele (new)

Adele Mey (adlemey) | 485 comments Im glad Ariel went back to SA otherwise nobody would gave stumbled upon the horror that he was involved in. And the choice she made to come back on a whim does fit in with who she is. This is of course easier to say now in retrospect.


message 41: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Vicki wrote: "Adele wrote: "Ariel's swearing and smoking is an attempt to turn into the woman Jonathan would have most hated. It is her way of rebelling against the 20 years of slavery in a loveless marriage.

..."


I do understand Ariel's thinking in going back to Jo'burg. It's the last thing Jonathan would have expected, and would certainly have given her the advantage of surprise. Having said that, Ariel proceeds to act as if she couldn't care less if Jonathan found out she was there. This woman is crazy!

And yet I am still interested to find out what happens to her. I don't know how you pulled it off, Vicki, but you managed to make Ariel's contradictions the very thing that makes her attractive. I wouldn't like to be in a relationship with her, but wouldn't mind a week-end away. (I'd make sure I had a taser gun in my luggage though).


message 42: by John (new)

John Mountford (KillMandela) | 735 comments Don wrote: "What I really liked about Ariel was that she was over-the-top alpha female with no apologies. Kind of like Buffy but with another kind of monster to deal with. Jonathan, on the other had, just see..."

Good point about the children, Don. I think this is where Vicki's use of the first person has been all consuming. I understand that she has this single character bursting to get out of her head and onto the page, but it does make the story one-dimensional. As I said in the beginning - this book's success is totally dependant on the readers experience of Ariel. Vicki has put all her eggs (pardon me) in one basket, and it remains to be seen if they shall end up as an omelette or scrambled.


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