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message 1: by Becki (new)

Becki (beckalina) | 73 comments I completely agree. I think the chapter really gives us some insight into the way the characters act in the present by showing us the past. Gary is exactly like his father. Which isn't a good thing. And poor Chip appears to be a lost cause.

Enid upsets me so much. Not only the way she treats her family, but the way she treats everyone. She tries to make herself seem better than everyone. She would rather people look up to her and think she is too good for them, than to show who she really is and have people want to be her friend. This was so obvious at the dinner table the first night she met Sylvia. She made a conscious choice to not acknowledge Sylvia because it would make Sylvia either her rival or her best friend. Instead of trying to make friends with her, she tries to make her jealous, knowing that it could make Sylvia hate her. But it was almost like she wanted Sylvia to hate her. Enid is so incredibly self-absorbed that she can't even have normal relationships with people who want to be her friend. When Sylvia tells Enid the story about Sylvia's daughter being murdered, she is pouring her heart out and Enid can barely keep focused on the story. I didn't like Enid before this chapter, but I really hate her now.

I just wanted to cry for Alfred. He is really just falling apart. And he is trying so hard to hold it together. And I hate Enid even more for not seeming to care that her husband isn't functioning well enough to be on a cruise to begin with. The battle he had with the turd seemed like a mirror to the battle he is having keeping up the farce to everyone else that he isn't sick. No matter how hard he wanted to be able to hide it, there was no way to keep people from seeing. And while Gary seemed to have the same battle in the last chapter, trying to hide his depression, I feel sorry for Alfred and I didn't feel all that sorry for Gary.

I could say more, but I feel like I'm rambling. This was a major chapter for so many reasons.

message 2: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK Enid is just a small sad woman. They alluded to Alfred being rather awful many times - it seems like she chose to be nasty in response as a small power grab on her part. The problem is that there are SO few things she has power over, that she gets obsessed with them.

But I liked the part about her spitefully making the dinner. Because it's nice to remember that moms aren't selfless childrearing vessels. As much as we hear about women who give up everything, including their own happiness, for their kids - I think it's nice to remember that most do NOT actually put their kids first, not all the time, despite them always saying they do. People are selfish. The line about What you discovered about yourself in raising children wasn't always agreeable or attractive. is particularly telling. I think it's a great truth of life, and I'm glad it was told here. It's not even a particularly extreme example- parents always get stubborn to their kids' detriment, especially when the kids are equally stubborn. I've lived that Don't Leave The Table Until You Eat Your Vegetables moment from the kid's side (though I didn't leave myself there, that I know of) and I wouldn't be at all surprised if I ever had kids to live it from the parents' side as well.

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