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Ducks, Newburyport
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Week 3, Day 4 - loc 12278, p745UK/p735US (ish)

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Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
Stopping at "the fact that it's really Abby I wish I'd hugged more, rag rugs, CC and ginger, and she would have let me, unlike these characters,"

(Time has ceased to have all meaning, as I will probably read and discuss "Week 3, Day 4" on what really should be "Week 4, Day 1" ie Sunday 2 August—but that's school holidays for you. Anyway, in the UK they say the week starts on Monday, so . . .)


Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
Aaaahhh! I am not dead—I am just having fun!


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Lee Razer (lelandrazer) | 27 comments Angel wrote: "Aaaahhh! I am not dead—I am just having fun!"

Then you are unlike either our Narrator or our mountain lion, who both passed time in this section being troubled! Narrator finds a bunch of porno pics on Ben's computer and he's only nine years old, oh dear, though it sounds like he was maybe up to something scientific about it, creating a large grid of approximately 50 pairs of bosoms, but we may never know his precise thinking behind this creation as Narrator doesn't plan to question him about it, kids being naturally curious and all, and later in the section she comes back around to kids learning about sex, remembering that Mommy refused to tell her the facts of life, thinking that she already knew, but she didn't, she just had a hazy story from her friend Jill's mother about things occurring when you're asleep, hmm, and she sympathizes with Jill's mother because it's hard to have that talk with your kids, how are you supposed to know when to bring it up, or how, and she figures they'll learn about it somehow, particularly with the internet and all.

Yeah the Internet has certainly opened up a new dimension in the process of kids learning about sex, as she notes, not in a helpful way. It's why the phrase "be aware that that's fake, they're acting, it's not really like that" has been uttered to my oldest, yikes.

Narrator wishes she and Leo had sex more, but besides neither being good at initiating, her cancer treatment understandably affected her libido and sexuality, and later in the section she is remembering her heart surgery as a kid, when the doctors had said without it she'd die at 22 and would never survive a pregnancy, so she's had some real health issues in her life.

She gets very emotional remembering a time as a small child when her mommy was curt with her one time when she was full of euphoria and love, and maybe her whole life would be different if that hadn't happened, maybe it caused her to be so shy and timid, which wow, is a heavy burden to lay on your parent, because as she also thinks, no parent can be perfectly in sync with their child like that, you're going to do something wrong and hurt your kid at times without ever meaning to or even realizing.

And she doesn't know why Stacy is being so hostile, and telling counselors that she wants to leave school and move to another state this very summer, from paperwork that Narrator accidentally (maybe?) sees, though she's only 15, poor Stacy seems to be going through a real hard time and we don't really know why other than the suggestion of standard teen issues, but I don't know, and neither does Narrator.

Jake, five year old Jake, is the target of a mean woman in the grocery store who is upset that he's not wearing a shirt, and Narrator is upset at herself for not standing up to this woman, for just silently nodding along as she ranted, for being easily cowed. Courage, Narrator! We've discussed a bit how Narrator doesn't see herself as a fighter for her kids, like the lioness is, but that she might find it within her to do so. We're rooting for her.

Meanwhile, the lioness is still doing a lot of walking in search of her missing cubs, getting close to humans whom she really despises, and watches a man kill himself by jumping off a cliff. A lot of people are catching sight of her now, and I wonder if the bit about the aggressive squirrel in the park is a bit of foreshadowing when it's written, "the fact that it's a bad sign when wild animals don't hide from humans, the fact that it usually means their brains aren't working right." I seem to be on the lookout for ominous foreshadowing though.

In baking updates, Cathy wants her to keep making sour cherry pies, so yay, but another suicidal person crashed their car into a different restaurant she sold pies to, so that outlet is now gone.


Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
Oh you ABSOLUTE SUPERSTAR!!!


Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
Again Lee, thanks so much for taking over. I'll just do a quick paste of some specific/personal notes I took, since you did such a brilliant and thorough job on the recap!

Sex is on Narrator’s mind a lot in this section, though she doesn’t seem as freaked out about finding porn on Ben’s laptop as I would be if I saw it on my daughter’s iPad. (I say my daughter and not my son because she is close to Ben’s age; my son is only 6.)

I’m worried about the fate of the little lions now that I learn that the wood pigeon egg didn’t hatch—and this seems perhaps tied in with Stacy’s plans to move all the way to Arizona, omg!

She gets very poetic about the inner life of trees—and, I have to say, I can’t disagree with her. I’m glad to hear that Leo reminds her that she is “loved and capable of happiness” because she does get rather morose in this section.

Narrator notes that “Tuesday is the hardest day”—now, this has for a long time been precisely what I say. You can kind of float through Monday in a fog, and Wednesday is a little celebratory for being “hump day,” but Tuesday is THE WORST.

Oh, Donny is getting married—wait who is Donny? Also shocking to hear about the suicide-by-car escapade that happened in Amy and Andy’s restaurant.

BRIT WATCH: Narrator says she can’t go back to bed after the kids go to school because the neighbors might think she’s a slut. This usage of the word “slut” is 100% a tell that the person writing this book is British. Americans simply do not use “slut” to mean “lazy.” (The first time I encountered the term in that sense was when I read Bridget Jones’s Diary, where she says “Check plates and cutlery for tell-tale signs of sluttish washing up”—which was a shock for me, so much that I remember it 20 years later.) Narrator does go on to think of “slut” in the promiscuous sense, but initially it is absolutely the lazy sense she means.


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Lee Razer (lelandrazer) | 27 comments Angel wrote: "She gets very poetic about the inner life of trees—and, I have to say, I can’t disagree with her."

Have you read The Overstory? This passage reminded me of it because Powers writes trees as having consciousness and making moral choices, which is also what she’s saying she’s heard someone say, so maybe she’s read The Overstory. That novel made such an impression on me I planted ten baby trees in our backyard from the Arbor Day Foundation after reading it, nine of which are alive and growing still!

And thanks for the clarification about slut usage. I recall thinking that sounded weird when I read it, like why would people think you’re a slut for just taking a nap, but I just moved on. I didn’t realize its Brit-meaning as lazy.


Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
Lee wrote: "That novel made such an impression on me I planted ten baby trees in our backyard from the Arbor Day Foundation after reading it, nine of which are alive and growing still!

This is wonderful! I will put it on my list.


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