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Group Read - Sunburn > Group Read - Sunburn Part 2 Ch 34-46 END Spoilers Welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments Part two ends the book with chapters 34-46
If the first to post, please briefly summarize this segment to guide the discussion.
What did you think of the book?
Spoilers Welcome.


Geri Sunburn

34 - Adam goes to video store to find movies Polly has mentioned. And a sprinkling bottle Polly has mentioned she wanted.

35 - Adam is let go at the bar. Polly does not want to leave Bellevue. Adam suggests going to Annapolis and come back to Bellevue on weekends.

36 - Adam looks for work. He realizes home is where Polly is.

37 - Polly tells more about her past, her daughter Joy’s cerebral palsy, her settlement with a hospital that netted her 1.8 million, past holidays with Greg.

38 - Irving thinks back on his chance meeting with Polly’s lawyer and learned she got money for medical malpractice. He is arrested for murder.

39 - Adam hears Irving has been arrested. He is feeling protective of Polly.

40 - Polly thinks about previous Christmases with Greg, Ditmars.

41 - Adam buys Polly a ring for Christmas.

42 - Polly calls Greg after receiving a letter that Greg is ready for a divorce. Greg wants full custody of Janny. Polly calls her lawyer and gives him instructions for documents.

43 - Adam planning to go back to Bellevue to propose and tell her all. Finds out Polly isn’t at the bar and has gone somewhere.

44 - Adam visits Irving in prison. He asks if Irving knows where Polly is. Adam finds out about Polly’s money. He finds out Irving got a call that was likely Polly inquiring about Adam. She likely knows all about Adam.

45 - Polly in wait at the bar with a gun. Adam walks in.

46 - Adam and Polly talk. They go to Polly’s hotel room and find Janny. They go back to bar and Greg rushes in and starts a physical fight with Polly. Cut to 2017 Baltimore. Polly in market and thinks about her daughters, Janny and Joy. Greg executed 14 years prior for killing Adam in that fight. Polly had told her lawyer to write a restraining order for Greg. Irving died before his trial. Polly admits she did kill Kath and explains how.


message 3: by Ann (last edited Mar 30, 2018 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments Geri: what an ending! Each part has ended with a doozy of a chapter.
A few random thoughts.
Adam's leaving town seemed like an opportunity to extricate himself and then he's spending a fortune on an engagement ring; which he proceeds to forget to bring with him... at the time I was wondering what to read into that. Was he as sure about coming back to Polly as he said he was?

I couldn't decide how Polly was hoping the confrontation with Greg in chapter 45 was supposed to go as she waited for him with a gun.
Did she think she could get away with killing another husband?


message 4: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments And "how much of a caring mother could Polly be?" is still a question in my mind. It appears she may have settled in as a devoted parent to Joy who certainly benefited and Janny who was hopefully young enough to settle back in after the fatal confrontation with Greg. Poor Adam.


Geri There were a few open ended parts that confused me. Why did Adam go to the video store looking for the movies Polly mentioned? There wasn’t much conclusion there. Or did I miss something?

And what about the notebook Adam found in Polly’s purse with possible dates? Or was that the account with money she was hiding?

I do think Adam forgetting the ring did represent his ambivalence. But I did not expect him to die! Adam was not supposed to be there, though. So Polly did expect to deal with Greg alone. I’m not sure how she wanted this to play out. Greg attacks her so she could claim self defense when she shot him? For a smart woman, she did make stupid mistakes.

Polly never married again and raised her children. Did she really love Adam? I do wonder.

Was she a good mother? Good question. Janny doesn’t want to marry. Knows she will have to take care of Joy when Polly is gone. Is that good or bad that she feels so responsible for Joy? Janny’s Job involves helping the disabled. Obviously Polly has influenced her. Has Polly manipulated Janny the way she manipulates everyone else?


message 6: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments Geri: something that I thought about the video store visit at the time nags at me but I can't recall it now. Drat. Without that comment I could speculate it was a time setting marker perhaps (being a dead end)
Did Polly really love Adam... I think she may have loved him a little, ok I'm a romantic; but I think she was more selfish, focused on her plan and the outcome of the confrontation with Greg seems to cast doubt on the depth of her love for Adam.
I might be misremembering, but i think I recall when she thought Adam was leaving her that she mused on why she always fell for the wrong guys. Not marrying again makes me wonder now that you point it out. .
What an interesting thought about Janny and whether Polly manipulated even her. Why not, I don't think she could resist manipulating her too.

Geri wrote: "There were a few open ended parts that confused me. Why did Adam go to the video store looking for the movies Polly mentioned? There wasn’t much conclusion there. Or did I miss something?

Did she really love Adam? I do wonder.

Has Polly manipulated Janny the way she manipulates everyone else? ."



Geri I relistened to chapter 34, Adam in the video store. I think the point to that chapter was about trying to find out if anything Polly told him was real. Did these movies actually exist? Adam kept hesitating before he said the word “girlfriend”. The movie Polly couldn’t remember the title of was Hanover Square. It was set in London, not France.

I think Polly loved Adam as much as she could love another person. She was very self centered. And people were only interesting to her if they were useful to her. But my feelings about Polly are all over the place. She was unlikeable at times, did terrible things at times, but she was also a survivor. Ditmars abused her and she finally got out of that situation. Did Ditmars cause her to become the manipulative, narcissistic person she became? Or would she have been this way no matter what? This book really makes me think. I get the feeling I will be thinking about this book for awhile.


message 8: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments Geri: thanks for sharing what you discovered by reading chapter 34 again with Adam in the video store. It makes sense that he was checking up on Polly using the movies. In a way he was checking on her for the entire book even as he kept trying to talk himself out of it as he started falling for her.
I also find myself revisiting the motivations driving Polly and trying to understand her personality. Narcissistic, check. Self-centered, check. Manipulative, check. Sociopathic, leaning way over that way.
What you said about her, "...people were only interesting to her if they were useful to her." seems to be a core trait.

Geri wrote: "I relistened to chapter 34, Adam in the video store. I think the point to that chapter was about trying to find out if anything Polly told him was real. Did these movies actually exist? Adam kept hesitating before he said the word girlfriend..
...This book really makes me think. I get the feeling I will be thinking about this book for awhile.
"



James Emery | 14 comments My overall sense of this book was mediocre. Looking back, it's a noir love story--the crimes are all secondary to Polly's relationships. Which is fine, I like those stories. My favorite novels are crime stories as a backdrop for a character driven plot. The problem is, I think, is that no one really cared who Polly ended up with because even after the novel is over, we still don't a have a good sense of who Polly is. Until the last chapter, I figured the kids were collateral damage. I assumed Polly killed Kath, but more malignantly than it happened. Personally, I thought Adam would try to leave Polly and she wouldn't have any of it.

And maybe this is just me, but I feel like Lippman cheated. There were clearly thoughts and motivations that would've been with Polly that were withheld from the reader. We were in deep 3rd person POV with Polly for at least half the book and it wasn't until the end we were given the information about the money--the same money she was chasing the entire time? And somehow her first kid was a mere afterthought to her? The one she's created this elaborate scheme to have custody of? I just felt like Lippman went beyond being clever and intentionally misleading.

I don't know, when I look back on it, it was alight, but it's one those books that three years from now I'm going to have to check my Goodreads' list to see if I've read it before.


message 10: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments James, agreed, we don't really care much about how Polly ended up; any sense I had about her got smashed up multiple times.
I wouldn't describe her as a good mother even though she "did it for the kids" supposedly. If she truly cared for Adam it really doesn't show. He was just more collateral damage, with no more concern.
James wrote: "My overall sense of this book was mediocre. Looking back, it's a noir love story--the crimes are all secondary to Polly's relationships. Which is fine, I like those stories.
The problem is, I think, is that no one really cared who Polly ended up with because even after the novel is over, we still don't a have a good sense of who Polly is.
.."



Sandi (sandin954) | 1189 comments James wrote: "My overall sense of this book was mediocre. Looking back, it's a noir love story--the crimes are all secondary to Polly's relationships. Which is fine, I like those stories. My favorite novels are ..."

While I did find the book more entertaining the book more than you, I have enjoyed your comments. My main quibble with the ending was the reveal of Kath's demise. It seemed that the author did not want Polly to be totally a bad character and this made it seem like Polly was always forced into the situations where others ended up hurt or dead instead of forcing the issue herself.

I actually enjoyed the supporting character's POVs, especially the Private Detective, Kath's sister, and Greg's mother. I thought that each added some depth to the story though they did not move the plot forward.


message 12: by Ann (last edited May 28, 2018 04:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments James: I liked the book overall.
Character driven stories with a crime backdrop are favorites of mine too. Much of the time there is a character to identify with, either through an immediate kinship or a gradual understanding of what makes a character tick. When the main character(s) are unlikeable or incomprehensible is is sometimes hard for me to separate that dislike from the book as a whole.
I don’t understand Polly, I don’t trust her and while I tried to connect with Adam he confounded me at times too. I liked Kath and hated that she was killed but as you mentioned her character was secondary to the main story which was all Polly.


James Emery | 14 comments Thanks, it's been a lot of fun with the group read. I'll have to pick up another one.

I really don't mind main characters with severe flaws--some of my favorites are Mystic River, A Feast of Snakes, Father and Son (just recently read and loved it!)--and those guys are horrible human beings. But it rings true. I'm not sure Lippman knew Polly that well, and thus it came across as muddled to the reader. The coda resolution felt artificial. I think I would've honestly like it better had Polly truly murdered Kath in cold blood, had even arranged the murder/conviction scenario with Adam and Greg. I would've felt comfortable with her being a sociopath better than a femme fatale that didn't really work as such.


message 14: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments James, I loved Mystic River, what a book! Were you referring to Larry Brown's Father and Son?


message 15: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments James: The group read discussions are fun, hope you will join in again; even past books can spark up a discussion again when someone picks one up later.
As for the resolution, I think I wondered if Polly would really settle down as a Mom again so easily, but perhaps she could have.
It could have been that the time at the diner and with Adam was play-acting, trying on a role, then shedding it later. (When either inconvenient or no longer needed) There were glimmers of play-acting amid the sociopathic acts.
James wrote: "Thanks, it's been a lot of fun with the group read. I'll have to pick up another one.
The coda resolution felt artificial. I think I would've honestly like it better had Polly truly murdered Kath in cold blood, had even arranged the murder/conviction scenario with Adam and Greg. I would've felt comfortable with her being a sociopath better than a femme fatale that didn't really work as such. ."



James Emery | 14 comments I'm about to finish a short story collection and am picking up the next group read.

And yeah, it was Larry Brown's. I read Fay a little while ago, and even though I enjoyed it, it didn't push me to read anymore of his. So, I was going through other things on my reading list and finally settled on Father and Son and I was pissed it took me so long to get to it.


message 17: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments Thanks James: I'll have to add Father and Son to the to be read "pile". I've done done that before with an author. Better late than never.
James wrote: "... And yeah, it was Larry Brown's. I read Fay a little while ago, and even though I enjoyed it, it didn't push me t..."


Ceelee | 204 comments Polly is truly a psychopathic character and I don't think she would ever be able to settle down with a man. I think she was kind of like a Spider Woman who attractive men to her and she used them and eliminated them when she was done with them. She was only pretending to want those things. I think Adam was a complete eejit about her and it ended up getting him killed. Oops. Polly didn't mean it, dude. I don't know who I disliked more Polly or Adam. Polly definitely was a selfish, heartless, narcissistic person who is a great character but you wouldn't want her living next door! Adam was a complete fool. #6,000 for an engagement ring and he forgets to bring it with him when he had planned to "get down on one knee"???? Doesn't sound to me like he loved her that much and was having doubts. Very indecisive person and easily led by a pretty face who pretty much initiated their romance. She didn't like Cath was getting Adam's attention so she decided to "get rid of Cath" and poor dumb Cath's useless threat gave Polly a reason to get rid of her for good. Was murdering her husband really the only way out of her marriage to Ditmars? It seemed like she planned that too so she could get something out of it. Was she a good mother? Not in my book! She didn't seem to want to fight to get Joy back once she was out of prison and she just dumped Jani on Gregg then had the nerve to get p o'ed when Gregg finally decided to git the divorce and demand child support from Polly. I think she was as mad as hell and would have killed him in a heartbeat if he had walked through the door first. HIS actions were not part of HER plans and she is determined to be the one in control.

I did like this book but maybe not as much as some of Lippman's books. There seemed to be too many hanging threads in the story. Like Chapter 34 in the video store which I liked by the way. Being a sometimes working actor, when I read I see things in performance mode, and I could see it clearly with a lot of Hitchcockian touches, shadows on the face of Adam, a close up of the clerk's sandwich, and when panning through the videos, there is Psycho with a picture of Htch up in the corner of the DVD. But what bugged me is that we went through the whole scene yet we didn't see any result from it. Adam should have watched the video and realized she was telling the truth and that should have been a sign to him that this woman might be just a teeny bit dangerous. It was a big clue that might have saved him but Lippman took another route. Don't worry...I'm not going to cut off her legs or anything for killing off Adam. He was weak and probably would have gotten snuffed eventually anyway. Another thing that Polly found the ring she decided not to sell it but to keep it to give to Jani when she got married one day. Does not ring true to Polly's character for me.

The title SUNBURN is very interesting to me. It makes one think this might be a good summer beach romance but it truly is a noir love story as was mentioned by James. I like noir too. Sunburn also brings to mind heat and burning which was a prominent element in the book...the fire that killed Cath, the fires that killed people that Irving set, the heat of passion between Polly and Adam. Very well done. I could feel it all through the novel.

And by the way, I have SlingTV and TCM has :"On Demand" movies there that don't cost extra and "She" is one of the movies that was mentioned in the video store scene. I hope i get to see it sometime before it leaves the queue! I might not have noticed it if it hadn't been mentioned in the book! BONUS!


message 19: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments Ceelee: Yes, the title is interesting as it implies heat, heat that emanates throughout the book, a feeling that builds. And Polly is definitely not a good mother. She doesn't fool me. She might settle down after she got what she wanted, but at what cost. She doesn't have to pay.
Ceelee wrote: "Polly is truly a psychopathic character and I don't think she would ever be able to settle down with a man. I think she was kind of like a Spider Woman who attractive men to her and she used them and eliminated them when she was done with them.

The title SUNBURN is very interesting to me. It makes one think this might be a good summer beach romance but it truly is a noir love story as was mentioned by James. I like noir too. Sunburn also brings to mind heat and burning which was a prominent element in the book...the fire that killed Cath, the fires that killed people that Irving set, the heat of passion between Polly and Adam. Very well done. I could feel it all through the novel.
"



Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7814 comments Just now reading these comments even though I finished the book a few months ago. I agree with most of the comments. I never really connected with either Polly or Adam, although I did feel some sadness when Adam died. I agree with folks that they were at times ambivalent about each other and whether they wanted a future together. I compare the book with Peter Swanson's All the Beautiful Lies and I think that one has the edge on my rating list.

Good discussion. I will try to do a better job at reading the group reads soon enough to join in the discussion.


message 21: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann (annrumsey) | 14306 comments Carol: an interesting comment which brings to mind how some books resonate long after reading, and some don't, becoming instantly forgettable. And how the group read summaries and comments can sometimes bring a book's plot or impact back to the front of our memory for a further discussion.
I was struck now with the realization that I was more bothered by Kath's death than by Adam's death in the end. I think it was because Adam went into the relationship with Polly with his eyes open. Kath was just trying to live her life and perhaps find love.
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Just now reading these comments even though I finished the book a few months ago. I agree with most of the comments. I never really connected with either Polly or Adam, although I did feel some sadness when Adam died...."


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