The Rory Gilmore Book Club discussion


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message 1: by Shannon, the founder of fun (back from sabbatical) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:43PM) (new)

Shannon | 254 comments Mod
If you are finished with the book, start discussing here.

message 2: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I just re-read "Wicked The Grimmerie: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Broadway Musical" because I wanted to see what Gregory Maguire said about the novel. I thought the group might find this passage about what inspired him to write the story interesting.

First, he talks about how he had the idea to write Wicked back in 1988 but he didn't think he was a skilled enough writer at the time. Then he moved to London for a while in 1990. He talks about how the way Saddam Hussein was portrayed in the British press shifted his politics from progressive liberal to something more on the right.

"That's when I realized that I could marry these concerns to questions I had when I first thought of the idea of Wicked: Was it possible for someone to change his moral stripe? To be born blameless and become evil? Or does one have kind of a kernel of evil inside, like cells that are predisposed to be cancerous? At that point, the project took shape. So the idea was to write the story of someone who was really bad. But the minute that Elphaba appeared on the page -- sharp-toothed, smelling like dog urine, appearing more of a beast than a human being -- I couldn't help but love her as a parent loves a child. I couldn't make her as bad as I originally thought she was going to be. But I couldn't make her a saint, either. She's a little bit morally corrupt in the novel. And toward the end, when Dorothy lands in Oz, the Witch is having sleeping problems. Anyone who has suffered any kind of serious insomnia, even for 24 hours, knows that you lose your way very quickly. So her being hysterical in the last 40 or 50 pages of the novel is directly related to panic and sleep deprivation. She's having a nervous breakdown. Is that the same thing as being bad?"

So, what do we think about the questions Maguire asked himself? "Was it possible for someone to change his moral stripe? To be born blameless and become evil? Or does one have kind of a kernel of evil inside, like cells that are predisposed to be cancerous?"

Does Maguire answer these questions in the novel?

message 3: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Meghan This is the classic nature versus nuture argument. How much are WE responsible for our actions and how much are influenced by our environment.

To me, I never felt that Elphaba was evil. I see how her actions often brushed up against the status quo which caused a lot of problems. I posed this on a different thread, but it really makes me feel like this is how the medical research community must feel like. Do you do this questionable experiments in hopes to advance your research and possibly find a cure? By crossing the boundaries of acceptable morality, are you in fact, becoming evil? And why does "questionable morality" become "heroic efforts" if the results are good but "horrific" and "unpardonable" if the results are not?

The Wizard had an incredible spin team and he knew how to market well. He only wanted to exploit Elphaba when it was practical but ruin her when it wasn't. How often do we hear about similar situations in the news?

message 4: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:10PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) OK, I have a feeling this is going to be an unpopular opinion here but here goes...

I hated Wicked.

I found it difficult to get past the bizarre stuff like the Animal orgy, etc.

Plus, and I hate to say it because I'm usually in the "the book's way better" camp, but I love the musical. Love, love, love it. And this book is so different. I think it would have been better if I'd read the book before I saw the show. Although I still wouldn't have been able to get past the orgy scene. Weird.

message 5: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:10PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
I have mixed feelings, really. Strictly speaking, I didn't like it much. (Yeah! I'd forgotten about that orgy thing... that was creepy.) The book left me feeling really weighted down, heavy in my spirit (yes, I believe we each have a soul). But at the same time, I really liked how the deepest issues in life were so central, vital to the story. It was like a philosophy class (with a really twisted teacher) on hallucinogens!

But a big part of my not being fond of it is that I just don't like stories that deal in completely fantastical sentient beings. Tictok things and Animals (vs. animals) and other more obscure oddities. It isn't just a fantasy world or inhuman abilities, it's all of that together.

You know as I say that, I think of The Eyre Affair series and realize that's not entirely true. (LOVE those!) But somehow that world and those beings were more believable... extinct things being brought back, for example, is something my mind can easily accept as a possibility... in an alternate universe... but I couldn't even really picture a lot of the beings in Wicked.

The one thing I somehow could believe in the book, however, is Elphaba. She was real enough. I somehow really liked her; understood her.

And I really appreciated how it discussed so many really heavy-duty philosophical issues in a relatable way. It didn't just ask "what is evil," but delved into determinism vs. free will, nature vs. nurture, the Problem of Evil (why? is there good without it?), what is a soul, and on and on.

I guess that that dichotomy of hating it and loving it at the same time is why I can still say it's a good book. It's thought provoking, for sure!

Anyway, I just finished it today, so I'm really still processing. Ask me tomorrow! ;D

message 6: by Tiffany (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:10PM) (new)

Tiffany I was never even interested in reading Wicked until I got tickets to the musical and I wanted to see what it was based on. I'm not into fantasy at all but I love this book. Maybe I'm just a Wizard of Oz groupie because I love the movie, the musical and this book - lol.

I definitely could have done without the Animal orgy, but overall I did find the book complex and thought provoking. But more simply I just liked learning more about the characters, their backgrounds, what they were like when they were younger, etc.

It's a weird book, I'll definitely give it that, but I appreciated the whole story-from-another-angle thing that Maguire accomplished.

message 7: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:10PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) But what do you think made these Animals and other fantastical creatures different from the anthropomorphic animals we generally accept (such as Mickey Mouse, Aslan of Narnia, even the Cowardly Lion in the original story)? Is it the humor with which they are usually presented, or the knowledge that some of them (like Aslan) are merely symbolic?

Like you said, I don't have a problem accepting the characters in Thursday's world (from the Eyre Affair, a book everyone here should read). But I think that's because they are meant to be fictional even within the context of the book.

And what about creatures in, for example, the Harry Potter series? In many ways, the hippogriffs, thestrals, dementors, and other imaginary or mythological creatures heightened the enjoyment of the story as they transported you into a different world.

The bizarre, fantastical nature of this novel (I like the way you described it as hallucinogenic) is one of the main reasons I didn't enjoy it. Yet I enjoy other fantasy works such as the Harry Potter, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Thursday Next series. I wonder why that is?

message 8: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
I'm not a big fan of fantasy, either, and wondered how I was going to like this. After TLOTR movies (which I LOVED!), I tried to read The Hobbit. And I didn't make it past the first chapter. Also, not a fan of the Harry Potter series. However, the The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe is in my top three books of all time. And for some reason, I really bought into the creatures in Wicked as well. They weren't awkward to me--I really felt they were relevant. I guess that's part of the beauty of books...they find their own audience.

message 9: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
(Okay, I wrote a comment here once and it disappeared, so I'm pretty frustrated right now!)

Don't get me wrong, I love how Maguire told the story from another angle and how he imbued it with such deep issues... and this seems to be one of those books that, for me at least, takes time to process my feelings about it... But I don't regret reading it. That I know. And I liked Elphaba. Even appreciated the journey the tale took me down...

So here's the thing... I think I figured out why I have a negative feeling about the book... it's not just that I knew that Elphaba would die in the end, but that it all seemed so futile. She didn't get any answers, she didn't get any love, she didn't really ever accomplish anything worthwhile (not in her opinion particularly). And she had no hope because she didn't believe there was more than what she had. I think it's that emptiness that makes it hard to have a positive reaction. But like I said, give me time!

(Ugh. I said that so much better the first time.)

message 10: by Tiffany (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Tiffany Did anybody else get the feeling that Elphaba just couldn't catch a break? She wanted to do good but it just never seemed to work out that way for her. Like when she went to Fiyero's castle to confess to his wife and ask for forgiveness and then Sarima wouldn't let her! I feel like she ended up caving under the circumstances as opposed to being really and truly wicked, the way others perceived her.

message 11: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Meghan Well, considering how really screwed up Oz is, it's not surprising that you really don't want to picture yourself there. Plus, unlike HP, Narnia, LOTRs (I haven't read the TN series yet), it's not a battle of "Good" versus "Evil" here. It's more like the lesser of two evils. While I sympathize and want Elphaba to have her life the way she wants it, she really isn't a "great" person. She's mean and grumpy and really anti-social. She's definitely no mother-of-the-year either. And while I don't think she's morally bankrupt, I do question her motives in the end. I think in college she wanted to "change the world" (like most college grads), but in the end (like life), the world changed her.

With that, there isn't a hope for a better Oz. I think that's the whole point of HP, CON, LOTR - there's that hope throughout all the stories for a better world. There is a shining character(s) that no matter what, you can depend on being faithful and true. You really don't have that kind of "hero" in Wicked. And that's off-putting when there's no character to believe in.

message 12: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Meghan Now see, I totally am heartless. I do not feel bad for Elphaba at the end. I think she hardened herself because of her childhood disappointments and she ended up with the problems she had because of actions and decisions she made. So she did it to herself.

She knew Fiyero was married when she had an affair with him and that didn't bother her in the beginning. So I don't really feel all that bad for her that she wasn't able to absolve her guilt in the end. I say "good for Sarima" (although personally, I think Sarima was putting her head in the sand on that issue). But how weird is it that the women your husband is having an affair with is living in your house and brings your husband's love child with her?

The thing that I don't get is the question of who's the lady in the legend? Is it Elphaba (that lady was pictured holding onto the animals) or is it Dorothy (who was holding on to Toto)? And if it's Elphaba, then is she really dead?

Has anyone read the sequel, "Son of a Witch"? Just wondering. Can you even imagine how screwed up he's got to be considering HIS childhood? (Um, being put into a well and forgotten for days!)

message 13: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:05PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments I know this is an old thread, but I missed the discussion.

Meghan, I read Son of a Witch, and I thought it was torture to get through. As I read it, I felt like Gregory Maguire had a notebook full of clever pithy phrases that he wanted to include in a book someday, and he just sprinkled them through this strange story. Interestingly, I've read 3 (I think) books from the LF Baum's Oz series to my children, and I'm finding that there are lots of things I may have understood better if I had read those books first. Still, I don't want a second chance with SoaW.

I loved Wicked. I've actually read it twice. First several years ago, just before the musical debuted (I found out about it at my bookclub meeting and thought making a musical of the book was an extremely odd idea), and then later, after I became very familiar with the Wicked soundtrack--loved it--and wanted to refresh my memory about the differences between the book and musical.

The second time, when I read about Elphaba trying to apologize to Sarima, it brought to mind the movie "Flatliners." Does anybody else remember that one? Anyway, the theme in that movie seemed to be that people couldn't rest in the afterlife until they could forgive whoever tortured them in life. Except for Julia Robert's father, who needed to apologize to her and BE forgiven. So, it felt to me like Sarima was trying to damn Elphaba to eternal torture. I don't think Elphaba was wanting to apologize for the affair (although that may be what Sarima was upset about). I think she wanted to explain that it was her fault he was dead.

I saw a big running theme through the book about racism and other prejudice. Obviously, there was Elphaba, who was a completely different color from everybody else. But all of the Animal suppression, etc. made me think of real-life Civil Rights issues.

The first time I read the book, I just thought about how many times we meet somebody at a single point in time, or for a brief period, and we think we have summed them up--we put them in a certain category. But, there is a huge story of their life before then that we just don't know about. I pretty much idetified with, and liked, Elphaba through the whole book.

Does anyone think the outcome might have been different if she'd had some sort of therapy or Prozac?

message 14: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod

I definitely noticed the racism and prejudices... on so many levels. And I think your idea about Samira trying to damn Elphaba to eternal torture is really plausible. I felt something to that effect as well. She kept Elphaba in suspended animation. Elphaba never did move forward from there... not really. She tethered herself to the past and wouldn't untie the binds because she gave them over to Samira.

I really liked your observation on forming ideas of people as a whole from a single point in time... we don't think about what brought them there or even where they are going. That's who they are to us. Honestly, I can't believe we never discussed this as it is the most obvious point of the book! Well done you for calling us on that one!!!

message 15: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

Meghan Robbie - I'm so going to have to read SOAW now because you mentioned it referenced Baum's original stories. Am I the only one who found that pumpkin dude more than a little weird and slightly creepy?

I liked what you said about Sarima. I think you're totally right. And Elphaba was very tortured about being responsible for his death. I think that's why she stayed and didn't just leave. It was like she knew it was her earthly punishment to stay with a woman who tortured her so.

AND YES! I totally thought, man, this girl just needed some therapy!

message 16: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Yes, Meghan, I thought the pumpkin guy was creepy. And the saw horse thing?

We were all surprised when we read The Wizard of Oz and found out Dorothy's shoes were silver. I liked the way Gregory Maguire handled that. I don't have a direct quote, but he indicated that they looked different colors depending on the light or angle or something.

As for Elphaba being a bad mother (mentioned further up the thread)...I got the sense that she honestly wasn't sure that he was her son. She had that sort of fugue thing.

Oh, in Son of a Witch, there's an interesting way they dealt with Elphaba living on. The more I think about it. SoaW wasn't *that* bad. I was kind of in a bad place myself then. Well, if you read it, Meghan, perhaps we can discuss it.

message 17: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Oh, Michele, I'm not sure if I felt the point in time judgement thing more because of having judged others that way or having been judged that way. Hmm...

message 18: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments Hm, whatever I say here I have to qualify by saying that it has been years since I have read the book. I keep wanting to reread it but I cannot find my copy! I know I lent it to someone...anyway!

I think that the way Maguire presented Elphaba, she came across as somewhat neutral to me, as in moral fiber or character or whatever. I feel like maybe she even leaned towards being a good person. But she wasn't particularly LIKEable. I want to emphasize the difference there. She had a very defined sense of right and wrong, particularly while in school. And she backed that sense up by the work she did to help keep Animals free if I remember correctly. She just wasn't very sociable, and lacked the skills that help people get along in this world and be liked. Because of this she isolated herself and thus was more prone to have issues later. Between that and her physical differences, and her familial issues she was ripe to be 'turned' bad.

I think that if her circumstances were different, she very well could have been a good, kind and loving person. I don't think she had much of a chance in her life with her situtation. While her sleeping with a married man was not a good thing, I see it more as her one grasp at a true connection, affection and love, and if it had been more successful, then maybe things would have gone differently for her in the end.

I do believe that it happens that some people are born inherently good or evil, and yes, I do believe that some people are just evil (Jeffrey Dahmer for one!) but I believe that the majority of people can go either way depending on their circumstances. I think Maguire made a strong case that she was the way she was because of her life, and more importantly the things that she lacked growing up, starting with the most important, touch, and the maternal bond that comes with touching, holding and cuddling your baby. She never had that, and studies say that that matters, it affects how children grow up and deal socially, and physically with others, and affection!

Ok, sorry if I rambled or anything. My 2 cents seems more like $1.43 today!

message 19: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments There was a very big gap of time that was skipped between when Elphaba was a pre-schooler and when she went to Shiz. I remember being amazed that she functioned as well as she did and seemed to have a sense of self-respect.

message 20: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
You know, Erica, I think she was "likeable," as you put it... I think she just struggled to know what to use to define right and wrong not having any core beliefs. She floundered in her decisions because of this. Yes in her youth she was involved in actions, but not ones she made decisions on per se. Also, when it came down to taking a life she faltered because of her moral dilemma and missed the opportunity. I think she was sociable... she had friends that were willing to stick with her. She had ideals that she valued more, but that she didn't always trust. It made for a shaky life. At least that's what I saw.

message 21: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
One more thing, I vehemently disagree that people are born inherently good or evil. To say that is to dehumanize the "monsters" of our world and give people cause to see themselves as separate, different than the Hitlers and the Dahmers. When we do that we make it easy for it to happen again. We all have the same capacity in us for good and evil. It's about choices and experiences and how we respond to each.

I've researched and interacted with a lot of holocaust survivors and that is the thing they most often speak of... don't dehumanize those that do evil - even calling them monsters is doing just that - because then we see ourselves as better and pride is the first step in becoming them.

That's just my 2 cents.

message 22: by Arielle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Arielle | 120 comments Well said, bravo, bravo!!

message 23: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments This is related to what you said Michele, I think. Most of the time, when people discuss this book, we debate about Elphaba, whether she was born evil or chose it or became that way because of society. But we should also be looking at everybody else--individually and collectively--to see how they responded to her and whether *they* were good or evil and how they got that way. Her nanny (forget what she called her) certainly was a huge help, treating Elphaba like a human being, insisting she be "socialized," etc. How did nana become that good, that caring, that compassionate? Or was she just being self-serving? Her father playing favorites--did he choose to do that, or was it something he "had no control" over? Perhaps he felt like he somehow was able to help Nessa with her physical disability, but was powerless to help Elphaba with her color issue? If we were at Shiz, would we be one of Glinda's cohorts, worrying about fashion and mocking Elphaba? Would we simply ignore her? Would we go out of our way to find out about her and befriend her? Since we are all on goodreads, we all have to at least identify with her bookwormyness a little bit.

The following story involves the musical, but I think it is relevant. I have the soundtrack, and the kids love to listen to it, but it inspires them to ask all kinds of questions. In the musical, when Elphaba's father sees she is green, he says, "Take it away!" My 4 1/2 year-old son asked why he did that. I said, "Well, I think he was shocked and frightened to see that his baby was green. Wouldn't that scare you?" Then he said, "Yes, but I would try to be brave and keep her and love her." Is my son born good, or is he that way just because of me? ;)

message 24: by Dottie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 698 comments Well this group's done it again -- I've got to read a whole bunch of books that I hadn't even thought of reading just because I got caught up in this wicked, wicked thread about Wicked.

So I have to read Baum's books -- shame on me I never did -- and then I have to read Wicked. So she's a book worm, eh? So are lots of those folks who end up being the "monster" types in real life -- they are studious, bookish, loners and therein lies the tale. Sounds like the Wicked story to me -- hmmmm.

Back to the discussion -- just had to "complain". The TBR shelf is going to bypass the read shelf if I'm not careful. And I like to reread sometimes, too. I'll run out of timeeventually.

message 25: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments I hear what you are saying about dehumanizing people, and that is both a great point, and an easy trap to fall into. As far as Elphaba goes, I want to qualify things by saying that I don't feel that she was evil even towards the end.

Also, personally I liked her, I just don't think that by society's standards she was 'likeable'.

And I want to clarify that I think some people can be born evil or not, but I do think that is very rare, and that nurture affects most people greatly. But I just can't account for people who are raised by good loving families with morals and all that turn out so hideously bad even still without considering inherent traits. But again, I believe that to be VERY rare!

Gosh this is a great conversation!

message 26: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Meghan and this is one of the biggest plusses for the online book club! You can go back to older books and still discuss. I love it!

Dottie - you MUST read the original Oz. But the pumpkin man (Jack) I think first appears in the sequel, Return to Oz. Even as a kid, I though Baum must have been tripping on something (before I knew what drugs were) when he came up with Jack and the sawhorse thing. It was just really weird.

But our image of Oz is so heavily influenced by the movie and Judy Garland, it all but erases Baum's original concept. Just think, if there was no technicolor technology, we might all be talking about the SILVER shoes and not the ruby slippers! I find that rather fascinating--the whole "what ifs" in life.

But it's why I love Wicked so much because I really enjoyed how Maguire took such an institution like Oz and made us re-examine it.

message 27: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Ah, wouldn't it be nice (or at least cleaner from the perspective of any research possibilities) if parents were the only influences on their children? Since babies don't come with Operating Instructions (book I loved by Anne Lamott), even "good loving families with morals" don't do everything right, that is if there is a right. I'll out myself as a physician here--I've often found myself counselling parents of truly wonderful kids who ended up addicted to drugs and then in the ICU having OD'd. Most of those parents certainly don't understand it, and neither do I, of course. One time I said to a mom, "I'd love to be able to sit here and tell you that this kind of thing would never happen to my daughter, but I can't." There's always the flip-side, too. Great kids who are loving, moral and doing well, who were raised by hateful, immoral parents. Ugh!

Ha, I'm with you, Meghan, about LF Baum potentially tripping. And, yes, Jack Pumpkinhead doesn't come in until the second book, The Marvelous Land of Oz. The last one we've read is Ozma of Oz, and I think I liked that one better. I can only stretch my brain so long, though, so we had to switch back to the Little House books for a while. (I'm talking about book I'm reading to my kids, BTW.)

message 28: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) How then would you explain siblings who turn out dramatically different from one another?

message 29: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Personally, if I were forced to choose a side on the nature vs. nurture debate, I'd probably say nature gets the edge. I think as we learn more about the human genome, we'll learn a lot about "pre-disposing factors" for behavior. With regard to nurture, I would argue that no two siblings, even twins, have the same exact environmental influences. Even parents tend to treat different siblings differently.

I have two quotes that stick in my head from two different psychologists. One came from a neuroscientist. I was at a cocktail party talking with him about parenting (long before I had kids of my own) and I was saying how scary it must be to know that everything you do has such a big impact on your child, and he responded with, "yes, but in no predictable way whatsoever!" The other is from a psychologist who does therapy. His response to a question about why siblings turn out different was, "If you put butter in a frying pan, it melts, but if you put an egg in a frying pan, it gets hard."

message 30: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments Hm, that one about the butter and the egg is particularly intriguing!

message 31: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Meghan You have to read freakonomics. Levitt discusses how the statistics continually prove that reading to your kids every night does absolutely no good in improving test scores. However, kids who live in homes where books are plentiful continually score higher than kids that don't.

His (and many other experts' opinions) reason why: genetics. Half of what your kids need are just plain old good genes. Smarter kids TEND (not always) to come from smarter parents and vice versa. The other quarter comes from financial status. Kids who have tons of books around them usually live in a higher socio-economic class, thereby, have more opportunities in life than kids who don't.

I found that particularly interesting and it explains a lot. Considering all those stories you read about twins separated at birth but when they found themselves years later they found there were certain characteristics or mannerism that they were identical (like they both like mayo with their fries instead of ketchup). And they grew up in completely different and separate environments.

But I don't know. I'm adopted and I find myself very similar to my mother. So either my birth mother was very similar to my adopted mom or there is something to be had about the whole nurture thing.

message 32: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Sometimes I think the reason I love musicals is because my mother got me started watching them when I was very small, and we watched them together all through my childhood. But then I think about how I have an inherent ability to sing and dance and act and maybe that is why I love musicals.

Interesting to note that my mother can also sing and dance and act.

message 33: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments That is an interesting comment about you and your mom Meghan. My mom was adopted and found her birth mother when she was an adult (on my parents honeymoon no less!) and it is interesting how they differ yet are the same.

The moms are from very different backgrounds, education levels and so on. My mom has the taste of her adopted mother, but the characteristics and enjoyments more in line with her birth mother. They like to read the same types of books, eat the same foods, they both are collectors and love to travel. So it is interesting to see nature vs nurture in action.

I am also amused that you used fries in mayo as an example. I have lots of mayo stories, but I won't go off on THAT tangent!

message 34: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Sarah, you brought up siblings that are so different. Well, there is birth order... the mother would naturally have less time to cuddle and spend time exclusively with a second child. As a result, one child might think the exact same shared experience was great or awful depending on perspective of the parent's affections. Life experiences will always be different, but starting from birth order on out, their internal responses will be different.

You might then say what about twins? Well, if you hug one first, she might feel enveloped in love while the other might feel slighted or less loved as a result... even if just in that instance... and then their experiences are different. They will look at the same event so divergently!

I worked for several years at a home for women in crisis pregnancy. I oversaw many child placements (birth moms choosing the adoptive families). Seeing some of those kids now, I am DEFINITELY one for nurture over nature. However, some of that nurture was in the womb and therefore some of those kids suffer as a result of not being well cared for pre-birth.

I think what is going to be discovered with the genome thing is that they can be altered. Look at the study where plants refused to inherit diseases. Or the "overweight" gene... I think that is bunk. If you are raised by people overweight then you won't be as active and will be fed as to enhance that possibility. I think THAT is where the pre-disposition comes in. Look at how many overcome it. Also... we have the same genes as our "cousins" from Europe or Africa or Asia, so why then are there so many more overweight people in the states? Environment, society, all of that.

As for those that turn out "evil" from good families... well, have we taken into account all the other factors that form them? Society, friends, all that? How about being exposed to something awful at a young age... without the parent's knowledge... and as a result having an unhealthy interest in something that becomes a fixation and eventually an addiction? When in the throws of addiction two things happen... one is you excuse your actions that you might have been appalled with in the past just to be able to live with yourself (this can often turn into pride), and two is that it always escalates. That's how I see Dahmer.

Anyway, there is a little of my take. And I agree - great discussion!

By the way, I'm not discounting nature all together. I just think that nurture plays a far stronger role. Also that even nature is effected by nurture.

message 35: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Oh, one more thing... A friend of mine always assumed that she and her sister, who were adopted by the same family, got the "skinny gene" because neither one ever had issues with weight. When they finally met their birth mother they were shocked to find that she was always overweight. You know what? Ever since then both of them have to be careful with their weight. Just that suggestion caused them to struggle.

Mayo on fries is a recent thing of mine... my cousin did it when we were young and I thought it gross. Now I find it yummy on occasion! Ranch is always good. Oh man, I'm sooo hungry!!! I can't swallow, so it's killing me thinking about all this!

message 36: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Mayo. Gross. But ranch dressing is good.

message 37: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments I liked mustard on my fries in HS. Hmmm, I gotta try that again and see if I still like it...

message 38: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments The thing about genetics is that anyone could get the "skinny gene" from great uncle Herbert, not necessarily from mom or dad. My statistics days are over, but lots and lots of possibilities there. And the nurture part for all the reasons Michele mentioned and more, is very fuzzy. I'm with the "no predictable way whatsoever" from my neuroscience friend. With the genetics, in some ways, we're back to the free will. I see some people who literally need to eat cheeseburgers in order to not lose weight, and others who need to eat only carrots in order to not gain. Not necessarily related or causing the above, are those who go crazy if they don't exercise, the drive is so strong, in contrast to those who wouldn't ever have the desire to exercise. Nature vs. nurture arguments aside, each person decides whether to eat cheeseburgers or carrots, and whether to exercise or not. (Ah, but is a craving for cheeseburgers hormonal, my neuroendocrinologist people ask.)

My two kids were quite different, even in the womb--one of them much more active than the other. The active one really craved stimulation, even as an infant and is still the same way. The less active one loved to be swaddled. A funny anecdote is the different ways each of them reacted to their first "No!" One acted like I had said, "Do it again, but faster and with a smile." The other just immediately went "Waaaaaaaa!" and appeared to have a broken heart. They're both very bright and very stubborn.

message 39: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Great. Now I want a cheeseburger with fries and mustard and ranch dressing. Thanks a lot you guys! :P

message 40: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Oops Sarah, I added more after you read the above.

message 41: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:10PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments Hm I had a good burger last night, but no fries! Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese! Yummy, I am definitely not a carrot person, and it shows! :)

message 42: by Erica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:10PM) (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments But ya know it is funny, I was raised by my mom, my dad was in my life, but not on a regular basis (biyearly visits) and when I turned 18 I moved in with him. Not long later, I started working at a restaurant where he had worked, and it was weird! I would say something, with my quirky sarcastic self, and people would give me the oddest looks and then tell me that I sounded just like my father. We have so much the same sense of humor and sarcasm among other things. Not to say I am NOT like mom, I am, but I have so many physical AND personality traits fromd dad. Genetics and all is quite interesting!

message 43: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Robbie, I LOVE your "No!" story!!! Fantastic! The thing is, I was for most of my life a fairly non-active person. Now I am a triathlete and will CRAVE exercise. Okay, not this week as I've been sick, but in general. Even more so when I'm extremely stressed... I will want to IMMEDIATELY go for a run. What a difference! I'm sure that's effected my opinion on these matters even more... or well, enhanced them.

message 44: by Dottie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 698 comments Sheesh -- I'd been searching for the mayo on fries commentaries -- forgot where I saw it.

Living in Belgium for five years switched me to mayo on fries -- er -- frittes. Mayo is the standard thing folks use there though the little frittes stands all have a wide variety of "sauces" -- none is usually just plain ketchup/catsup.

SO I get odd looks at times asking if I can get mayo for my fries

message 45: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) If anyone goes to NYC, make sure you go to Pommes Frites on, I think, 102nd street in the Village. They have Belgian fries and like 30 different dipping sauces.

message 46: by Dottie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 698 comments I've heard of that place and if I ever get back to NYC I'm planning to drop in and see how it is.

We have a local -- well, it's in Laguna Beach a few miles down the coast -- Belgian Bistro where we go when we need to "feel" we are back in Belgiuim. The owner is Belgian and so are at least part of the staff -- and the ambience and food are right on target. And they have a good number of Belgian beers though not the only one I got really attached to -- sigh.

message 47: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

brian   hey sarah... it's on 2nd Ave. and it's amazing. love that place.

message 48: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Yeah... 123 2nd Ave. For some reason I was thinking of the street number and not the avenue.

message 49: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
I do mayo when it is French-style french fries (skinny, perfectly fried), and most especially when I'm at a bistro. I just randomly requested it one night as it suddenly sounded good. So bizarre! Otherwise my favorite thing on fries is brown sauce - a British thing. A YUMMY thing. I also enjoy (lots) malt vinegar when having fish & chips. Great. Now I'm craving brown sauce!

message 50: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
You people are not allowed to talk about food on GoodReads. We are getting way off course, and it's bad enough my lazy butt is sitting here on the computer all the time...what? now I'm going to be running around looking for the perfect french fries to go with my MAYONAISE! Cut it out! :>

And whoever brought up Blue Cheese mac and cheese should be banned from this site, b/c I love anything blue cheese related....wait a minute, what about french fries and blue cheese dressing?

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