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Insight into chapter "The Best Possible Light" ?!?!

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message 1: by Abbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Abbie Does anyone have any insight into explaining the chapter "The Best Possible Light"? The only connection to Jane is that it takes place in the same building where she lives. I don't see any other reason for its inclusion.
My guess is that Melissa Bank wants to point out to readers how self-absorbed we can be. Until this point, everything is Jane Jane Jane. But in another apartment, just a few feet away, others have their own worries and joys to deal with, and Jane's existence is reduced to a simple, "Is she hot?". Its purpose is to humble us.
I think it's this chapter that makes "Girl's Guide" really special.
Any other thoughts?

message 2: by Erin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:43PM) (new) - added it

Erin i thought i had fallen asleep and dreamed that chapter.


didn't even notice they referenced jane. this is why you shouldn't read in bed on nyquil.

Salma hehe...I think what happened is her publisher said she needed to have a certain number of stories to put in there and that was a last minute add. Love this book, by the way. What'd you guys think of "The Wonder Spot"?

Allison Ator Yeah, my initial thought on starting that chapter was "WTF, did we just jump 20 years into the future?" Once they had established that this was a different character, I just thought, "Why?"

I agree with Abbie's assesment that the author thought she needed to open up the story beyond the interior of our heroine.

[I didn't read this on Nyquil, but obviously, I was on something because everyone's name escapes me at the moment. Sorry, in advance, for all the pronouns.]

I would add that the story is linked to Jane's in that it offers a parents' perspective. While we see the mother's assesment of her daughter's relationships, I think the parallel is mainly between this mother and Jane's father. Just as Jane's dad was worried about her relationship with an old alcoholic, this mother has to contend with her son's unique situation. In both situations, the parents disappointment has no effect on the support and love that they offer their children. I think we are being offered an insight into that judgemental yet unconditional and ineffectual feeling that most parents of grown children must feel.

I did find it interesting (and it could be a coincidence, but I think not) that the parents in this chapter obviously not on good terms and their son turns out to be something of a prick. I mean, he seems nice enough, but I guess I just don't think too highly of someone who would be in that situation.

In contrast, Jane's impression of her parents is of a happy marriage. Or at least an enduring one. We have reason to hope she finds happiness in the end. Is this a matter of chance? A major theme in the book is the influence that a father has over a daughter. Maybe this chapter is a social commentary on the influence a father can have on a son.

Just a thought.

Addie Later on in the book Jane makes a reference to the characters in this chapter stating she overheard the arguement of someone on the terrance in the apartment below.

message 6: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin This is really going to bring the level of this discussion down a bit, and for that I am sorry. But I went back and read this bit and it really annoyed me. The best comparison I have to explain my annoyance is my boyfriend's favorite show, Heroes. I'm still trying to understand how "amazing" this show is, don't get me wrong, but so far all I can figure out is that they like introducing new characters, developing them intensely for 2 or 3 episodes, and then killing them off.

This is not cute or eye opening to me. To me this just says "our writer room got bored and didn't know how to expand on that character. And also we ran out of time because a pick up game of basketball started at studio D and we have a rivarly against the art department team from HBO's Tru Blood".

In a novella format I really appreciate a good vignette. But instead I found myself taken out of the book and not compensated for it (ie never saw this storyline or characters again). Then again, who knows. Maybe Melissa got bored and there was a pick of game basketball going on in the neighborhood. and of course, she has that rivalry going on with stephanie meyers...

Alan Moore I loved the Girl's Guide when I read it some years ago. Recently finished The Wonder Spot and found it even better, though maybe I should read the former again, my memory is not what it was. I found TWS more mature, better structured and funnier. Roll on her next book!

Samantha I'm glad there's a discussion about this since this chapter completely threw me off. The only link I could see to the rest of the book is when the mother thinks, "I am the one who taught him to regard himself as a blessing" since this theme kinda runs throughout the book with a lot of the male figures Jane runs across. I'm think in particular of her brother, Henry, and Archie.

But I'm glad to see that this chapter was the argument that Jane was overhearing. Somehow I missed that set up.

Tammy I am also ecstatic about the presence of this chapter. I can't tell you how many times I turned back to it to see if there was any other connection I was missing. I also appreciate Abbie's take on it.

Thanks for starting this!

message 10: by Jo (new)

Jo This chapter totally foxed me too.

Finally I figured out that Nina is Nina Solomon, Ben's wife - who is introduced in "My Old Man" by Jane's aunt. Ben Solomon, the artist and Nina who made documentary films.

Still not entirely sure why Melissa Bank included it, though. It's a curve ball for sure!

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