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message 1: by Holli (last edited Apr 16, 2010 08:27AM) (new)

Holli The discussion for Me & Emma will be led by Julie

message 2: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I just started this book last night, but it looks like it will be a pretty quick read. Looking forward to the discussion.

message 3: by Holli (new)

Holli I haven't read it yet but I wanted to....

message 4: by Julie (new)

Julie (julmille) | 391 comments Hey all. This is one of my all-time favorite is my first question/discussion topic....
The author is careful not to reveal what year or decade this novel is set. When do you think this story takes place? On what clues did you base your decision?

message 5: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Well I'm only on page 78, but so far I'm picturing this book being set in the late 1970's for some reason. Some reasons are the references to things like GI Joe, and Little House on the Prairie, the lack of talk about current day things like cell phones and computers, the clerk in the store using a calculator to add up purchases, penny candy, and post cards costing a dime.

message 6: by Julie (new)

Julie (julmille) | 391 comments I was thinking the same thing with the time frame. 1970's. Also, the 70's was a time when child abuse was not mentioned as much in a social setting. I think if this story was more present day, people in town wouldn't have been so quiet about what they were seeing and hearing about that household.

message 7: by Julie (new)

Julie (julmille) | 391 comments Ok, how about another discussion...Momma seemed not to care about the abuse Carrie was suffering from but some might argue that she was just as much a victim as Carrie. Discuss some ways that Momma tried to protect her from Richard and discuss some ways that she does not.

message 8: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Okay, I'm about half way done with the book, but just read something that pertains to this questions last night. From where I am at, it does seem like momma is also a victim of abuse. I just read the part where Carrie and Emma run away and Richard tracks them down and chains them in the yard overnight like dogs and feeds them dogfood. (this is a VERY depressing book by the way!) The girls are wondering why momma doesn't come out, but when she does come out and unchain them the next morning, she has a black eye and fat lip, and she tells Carrie to stop being smart with Richard, and basically to try to avoid him and stay out of his way. It seems the mom married Richard when she was desparate, following the death of the girls dad, and now she is the victim of spousal abuse too, and doesn't really know how to save herself or her girls, but that one scene did seem to show that she is also a victim but does love the girls and care about them, she just doesn't seem to have the strength to know how to try and escape.

message 9: by Angie (new)

Angie I liked this book very much. Although I I found myself getting frustrated with the mother. I know she was abused and frightened, but as a mother to not care if your child/children are also being abused is something I cannot comprehend.

message 10: by Sharon A. (new)

Sharon A. (sharona826) | 172 comments I was actually sort of picturing the story taking place in the 60s, but I must've missed the calculator, so I agree with the 70s.

Momma was definitely an abuse victim as well, there were several times when she is bruised and beaten. She obviously married him because she felt she had no choice, and then was pretty much trapped. But even with that in mind I still cannot comprehend that she let her daughters suffer the physical, sexual and emotional abuse from Richard. There were obviously people in town who still cared for them and would've helped.

My heart just broke for Carrie and Emma, but there was such a core of resiliency in Carrie that really touched me.

Are we ready to talk about the ending yet?

message 11: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I am on page 215, out of 292, so I should be able to get the book finished today. If everyone else wants to talk about the ending, I don't mind staying away for a day. :o)

I am becoming really frustrated and angry with the mother too. She is abusive to the children herself! It's like Richard abuses her, so she takes it out on the girls? What a horrible life they have. I would love to just rescue these girls and take them away from all that is happening to them.

message 12: by Angie (new)

Angie Sheila, I have no doubt you will finish today. I started this book on Saturday and finished it last night :)

message 13: by Julie (new)

Julie (julmille) | 391 comments Wondering if anyone else did what I did after I read the ending...I flipped back through and could I have possibly not picked up on that??? Sheila, let us know when you are ready!

message 14: by Lynne (new)

Lynne | 46 comments I finished the book over the weekend. I was so disgusted at the mother's lack of protection for "the girls" It makes me so sick that the mother, the aunt and the grandmother let Richard abuse the girls in such an awful way, I dont care how badly the mother was abused. Its an awfully sad story, being called Crazy Carrie and her fathers murder, I agree that it was very depressing.

message 15: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Okay, I made the mistake of checking out the bookclub discussion questions in the back of my book, and question #9 made me go "what??".. So now I'm reading things closer, and it's actually starting to make more sense... wow! There was a part in what I read last night that made me wonder what the heck was going on, because Emma had disappeared, and the momma was ranting to Carrie that she was sick of hearing her talk about Emma, Emma this and Emma that and what Emma needs. I'm interested though to see how this twist is going to be revealed though. It makes the beginning part make more sense though, how when Richard tried to take Carrie into the bedroom with him, and how suddenly Emma showed up and went into the room in her place. And afterwards Emma was the silent, disheveled one who did not discuss at all what had happened to her (which I'm assuming was some sort of sexual abuse), and Carrie just went on with her day. Very sad, but I imagine this was some sort of way for her to protect herself from what was really happening to her??

message 16: by Paige (new)

Paige | 43 comments Read this book last week while on vacation. Not really a 'vacation' read as per say....but quick! I also thought the story took place in the 60's or early 70's. But I also figured out the ending well before the end of the book! I want to say one of the reviews on the back of the book mentioned a psych issue and knew it within 50 pages. I hate when that happens!
I too was very angry with Mamma and her momma also! She has one person in this world to protect and she fails at it miserably. She has to be a very down trodden individual to let it go that far and today I just can't wrap my mind around that concept.

Also want to mention the gun training sessions with the neighbor. Did you not see what was going to happen from a mile away? Would have appreciated more twists and turns in the story.

message 17: by Sharon A. (new)

Sharon A. (sharona826) | 172 comments Brenda wrote: "Julie wrote: "Wondering if anyone else did what I did after I read the ending...I flipped back through and could I have possibly not picked up on that??? Sheila, let us know when you..."

I didn't pick up on it either, and I usually see stuff like that coming a mile away. I had read other reviews and knew there was a twist at the end, so I resisted my usual habit of reading the ending first. I'm glad I did, because it really did leave me speechless.

And explained a LOT!

message 18: by Terri (new)

Terri McCarter (terrimccarter) | 6 comments Hi guys... I agree with the late 60s, early 70s.. mainly because of the lack of action taken by the townspeople, teacher, etc. I teach in a primary school and today we have to call and report EVERYTHING/ANYTHING that could possibly be construed as abuse. I also agree that the author wants to show that child abuse happened in the past and continues to happen today. :-(

I totally missed any clues to the ending.. and like Sharon A. I usually pick up on stuff like that early on...

I *loved* this book. My mind has drifted back to it numerous times since finishing it. Momma sucks! LOL I kept thinking *she* would stand up and do something -- very disappointing (but sadly realistic) that she didn't.

Thanks whoever made the suggestion to read this book!!

message 19: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia (cissygold) This has been on my to read list for awhile. After reading all these reviews I am going bump it up to the top of my list.

message 20: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Okay, I finished the book this evening.

message 21: by Duy (new)

Duy | 50 comments I just received the book from bookmooch so I am only on page 58. Can I just say that I was slightly repulsed that Carrie let Emma take her place for the sexual abuse? I mean she is 2 years older, does she really not understand what Richard is going to do ?

Let's see how this plays out in the later chapters..

message 22: by Duy (new)

Duy | 50 comments Don't worry I read very fast :)

message 23: by Duy (last edited Apr 20, 2010 04:33AM) (new)

Duy | 50 comments Yes well my favorite is Emma by far :) Though I thought maybe Carrie was a bit schizophrenic but then realized that if that was the case then the neighbor wouldn't speak with her and they couldn't plan the thing they did to the bully.

I still think something is off about Carrie. Perhaps she is a bit mentally challenged. Or maybe Emma is just a genius. Let's see...

message 24: by Gwen (new)

Gwen | 52 comments I'm a little more than halfway through the book (maybe more like 3/4) but I've already guessed one of the big surprises. Even though that's ruined it a bit for me, I'm still interested to see how it all pans out.

I'm not liking Momma too much. Although she is a victim herself, she does have some power over her situation. It seems to me like she has no faith in herself. Since she feels under-educated and unable to make money on her own, she married Richard because she thought she had no other choice. But there is always a choice, isn't there?

Anyway, I hope to finish the book this evening. I really hope things turn around for these poor girls!

message 25: by Julie (new)

Julie (julmille) | 391 comments So glad that everyone seems to be or has enjoyed the book. Wondering another question...if you had to choose to be one of the characters in the book, who would you be and why?

message 26: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (last edited Apr 20, 2010 02:14PM) (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Tough question Julie! Let's see, if I could be any character in the book, I think I would be one of the adult outsiders, like maybe the lady in the store or the school teacher, but instead of just sitting back and knowing what was going on with the girls and being afraid to speak up (because of the era this book took place in) I'd try to do something to help the girls and the momma get out of their situation. Give them a safe place to escape from Richard.

message 27: by hanna (new)

hanna (hannaknudsen) So, does everyone think that this book is worth reading? I don't know, I got it from the library and have already read some of it and I am not liking it too much. A couple years ago I also tried to read "But Inside I'm Screaming" by the same author but I didn't like it. Should I just stick with it and keep going? :)

message 28: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Hanna, it is really hard for me to say that I would recommend this book to anyone. Here is the review I gave it here on Goodreads:

This is one of those books that is hard to rate for me. While the writing of the book itself was very good, it is just really hard for me to give a glowing 4 or 5 star review to a book that mainly deals with the physical, sexual, and emotional abuses regularly and brutally inflicted on a 8 year old girl and her 6 year old little sister. So I guess I will just settle for a middle of the road 3-star rating.

So I guess it depends on if this is the type of book that is interesting to you. I know many people love it and give it great reviews. I just really don't like the subject matter. But truthfully I was the exact same way with Lolita. I know many people consider Lolita a wonderfully written book, but the subject matter of it just turned my stomach also.

message 29: by hanna (new)

hanna (hannaknudsen) Brenda & Sheila -
Thank you so much for the comments. I am going to read more of this book after I watch Lost tonight. :P Hopefully I'll enjoy it, I think perhaps I will! I do see that it has good reviews on Goodreads.

message 30: by Sharon A. (new)

Sharon A. (sharona826) | 172 comments Excellent question, Julie. If I were going to be a character from the book, I would choose to be the old man (I can't remember his name) who taught the girls to shoot. I loved him, and his tender care (and understanding) of Emma really touched me.

message 31: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 92 comments Overall, I did like the book. One of the best things about this story is that the relationship between Emma and Carrie allows for a sense of normal childhood activity in an otherwise abnormal life.

message 32: by hanna (new)

hanna (hannaknudsen) I finished the book this evening. It is not a favorite of mine, but I would say that the ending makes it kind of worth while to read. I didn't pick up on the ending at all. Usually I am not one that looks for clues to how something might end, though. For both books and movies I kind of just read/watch without trying to figure out what will happen. My boyfriend on the other hand is completely opposite! He is constantly guessing movie/book endings. Actually, I was telling him about the book as I was reading it and he guessed one part of the ending before I finished it!

Carrie's mother really bothered me a lot during the novel. Her behavior was quite disturbing for me to read about. I just cannot imagine acting the way she did, but then again I am not a mother nor have ever been in this sort of situation. By the very end, I just felt bad for Carrie as I had during the whole entire book.

message 33: by hanna (new)

hanna (hannaknudsen) Oh - one more thing... after reading it I concluded that I think it would be an enjoyable movie!

message 34: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 532 comments I didn't like Carrie's mom either.

message 35: by Duy (new)

Duy | 50 comments I finished it this morning. Can I rant?

First of all; I totally understand how abusive woman cannot run away from the abuser etc etc. But your baby is getting beaten and bruised and tied to chains and made to eat dog food and has cuts and blood oozing from her wounds AND YOU JUST ADD TO THE ABUSE BY WHIPPING HER???? That is inexusable! She is not fit to be a mother.

I am glad Richard was killed at the end; but don't understand why Carrie wasn't taken into a mental hospital? Why isn't she getting any help?

I decided my favorite character is Mr Wilson. At least he taught Carrie how to defend herself.

I don't care what year you live in , when you see a little child getting abused you should do anything you can to stop it.


message 36: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 92 comments I can understand how a woman who is being abused simply isn't thinking rationally, and this allows her to let her child be exposed to the same abuse. What I really have a hard time with is the other family members, the grandmother and the aunt, who can see the abuse more objectively and do nothing to help.

With that said, to me the book was less about the abuse and more about the relationship between Carrie and Emma. Both the title of the book and the ending really point you in the direction of the relationship between these girls rather than their relationship with the adults.

message 37: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I did like how the book ended. I had mentioned previously that I had spoiled the fact about who Emma actually was (or wasn't) by reading the reader discussion guide questions in the back of the book.

And I kind of predicted that when the girls started learning to shoot the gun with the neighbor, that there was a good chance that Richard was going to get shot.

Truthfully, one thing I loved the most was the very last paragraph in the book, where Carrie writes a note to Emma saying she is so glad she learned to read and write. Carrie still needed to have Emma with her, and I'm so glad she found a way to do that without having to talk to her out loud, which made the adults around here aware of Emma. I'm thinking that the only way Carrie actually was able to survive all the bad things that were happening to her was to have Emma there to share it all with.

message 38: by Tiffini (new)

Tiffini Johnson (tiffinijohnson) | 4 comments Okay. I have refrained from this discussion because this book strikes a nerve with me.

We all know that abuse of any form is wrong. We know that to blame the victim of domestic violence is often an easy route: it's harder to fully understand their reasoning and thought processes. Many of them are genuinely afraid.

That said, reading the abuse of the girl was very difficult. I had a really hard time with some of it and when Emma went in the room with the dad, I about lost it. You see, I think Carrie was a very intelligent little girl. The book I wrote, "The Character" examines how children create constructive coping mechanisms in order to survive terrible trauma. In my book, it was with the written word. With Carrie, it was an imaginary friend/protector. I think children are not given nearly enough credit. Their strength is under-estimated. And despite being the child, I thought that Carrie's method of coping (Emma) made her a far stronger person than the mother who, instead of finding a constructive way of surviving, retreated behind silence and fear.

It is a very moving and insightful look into the normal mind and life of an abused child.

message 39: by Sharon A. (new)

Sharon A. (sharona826) | 172 comments Sheila wrote: "I did like how the book ended. I had mentioned previously that I had spoiled the fact about who Emma actually was (or wasn't) by reading the reader discussion guide questions in the back of the boo..."

I agree, Sheila.

message 40: by Corinna (new)

Corinna (vegasnative) | 70 comments I finished the book yesterday, and posted, but then deleted because I talked about the ending. Wasn't sure if that was open yet or not?

I kept going back and forth on the time. I thought maybe it was in the 50s, then I thought it must be a bit later around the 70s. But then....this was set out on the boonies and so I thought maybe it could have even been current time. Although I would hope that today, if teachers saw marks on their students they wouldn't ask the child if they want to "talk about it", I would hope it would be investigated right away.

This book made me want to give my kids 1 more big hug and tell them 1 more time that I love them. Gripping story!


message 41: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Corinna, since the main discussion of this book ends on Friday I say by all means feel free to discuss the ending. :o)

message 42: by Corinna (new)

Corinna (vegasnative) | 70 comments Ok thanks Sheila!

I was going to say that was such a Sixth Sense twist, I did not see that coming at all!! I'm a little peeved that the mom didn't get any jail time. She knew what was going on, maybe not the sexual abuse, but she should have been held somewhat responsible for it I think.

Also, Richard got what he had coming to him. No tears shed for him, but it was weird how after he had his break down and started crying & saying he was "sorry" that we didn't hear much about him. It was as if he had stayed away from Carrie...up until the last day that is.

message 43: by Corinna (new)

Corinna (vegasnative) | 70 comments I wanted to ask you gals. What did you think about Carrie kicking Mr. Wilson's dog? After she kicks Brownie, it is mentioned a few more times how the dog stays out of her way. With grammy and the aunt being not overly "loving" types of people, do you think the abusive behavior is/has been/will be carried down, and is this somehow a reference to it?

message 44: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (last edited Apr 28, 2010 04:52PM) (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Brenda, I think that Emma was just a way for Carrie to deal with what was happening to her. I just looked up "imaginary friend" and here is what Wikipedia says in brief:

Imaginary friends, also known as "imaginary companions", are pretend characters often created by children. Imaginary friends often function as tutelaries (or perform a tutelary function) when they are engaged by the child in play activity. Imaginary friends may exist for the child into adolescence and sometimes adulthood. Imaginary friends often have elaborate personalities and behaviors. Although they may seem very real to their creators, studies have shown that children do have an understanding that their imaginary friends are not real.[1:]
According to several theories of psychology, an understanding of a child's conversations with their imaginary friends can reveal a lot about the anxieties and fears of that child as well as the child's aspirations and perception of the world. Some children report that their "imaginary friends" manifest themselves physically and are indistinguishable from real people, while others say that they see their friends only in their heads.
So I think that Emma was just an imaginary friend that Carrie had, something many children have. And I think she used Emma as a way of dealing with some of the abuse (like how both she and Emma were chained like dogs in the back yard) and I think she used Emma also as a way to distance herself from some of the abuse (like how Emma went into the bedroom with Richard in her place). Emma was Carrie's way to deal with her life. So I don't think it was a mental illness.

message 45: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new)

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I was not at all surprised that Carrie kicked the dog. I think that is another normal reaction of an abused child, to lash out in their own way at something they can hurt too. And I suspect that abuse might have been a long standing pattern in that whole family.

message 46: by Corinna (new)

Corinna (vegasnative) | 70 comments I wasn't surprised either. It was the same thing with her wanting to tell the classmates at the new school how she was so popular. She was trying to be "on top" for once.

I think the future for Carrie & Momma would be bleak. If they lived in poverty while she was married, imagine how she will be as a widow living in the care of relatives. This is such a sad story, and it probably happens every day in current America (and all over the world). I would imagine someone like Momma who is not big on education will move on to the next man.

message 47: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Gender | 7 comments I enjoyed this book but agree it was a difficult subject. I picked up on the ending while reading the first chapter so was fun to see how the author was able to write it in away to make readers think it was her sister. I think I guessed early on because I have recently read a couple of books with the same twist. :)

I was thinking it was set in the 50 - 60s. Thank goodness society has come a long way and won't tolerate abuse like they used to. Still have a long way to go!

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