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Tasiyah We Were The Mulvaney's
By Joyce Carol Oates


Jane Lee This book left me kind of stumped, trying to figure out exactly what happened to Kathleen, and what was this crazy life Frances was living? I'm assuming James was the father of Lily and Ambrose? For a while in the book I thought Rose was a man, because of all of the different references to himself. Any thoughts??


Tasiyah Yeah, it did stump me too so I had to re-read some parts. You're correct that James was the father of Lily and Ambrose. And about Rose, I find that a lot of people actually thought Rose was a male but she wasn't well at least not until later in the book.


Jane Lee I guess Frances was the only one being molested by her father, which would explain why she was so different from her sisters. It was also really wierd the way she sent Lily away, and why she even did that. The book ended in a confusing way, at least it did to me.


Tasiyah Yeah I think that's the main reason why she was so different. And I dont understand why she sent Lily away or let her feed from her breasts. Do you think because she played a motherly role to Lily? I was shocked when I read that.


message 6: by Lena (new) - added it

Lena I thought she sent Lily away to get her away from James? It's been a while since I read this...


Jane Lee Yeah, that was wierd that she did that, there were a lot of things that she did that I didn't understand. One was why was she so set on getting pregnant? to Lena- I'm not sure why she did, James was already dead when Frances sent her. Another wierd thing about that was that she just sent her walking. I also wondered why James only molested Frances and not Mercedes and Lily. And, was it all her life or did it start after Kathleen died? Lots of questions to this book unanswered. ;)


Linda Templeton I did enjoy this book although things changed so fast in this family that you better not miss a page or you were lost! It definately made me think about many unanswered questions in this book.


message 9: by Shirley (last edited Oct 16, 2012 12:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shirley I think that James labeled his daughter, Frances, as the "bad girl" of the family. I think this is why he molested only her as the girls were growing up. The true love of his life, the daughter he truly desired, was Kathleen. He was so upset when he caught Kathleen with Rose that he raped her and from that rape Lily and Ambrose were born. Frances decided to live up to her "bad girl" label. I didn't understand about her wanting to get pregnant either, except maybe to humiliate James by becoming pregnant with a black child. But Mercedes stepped in after Frances' baby was born and gave the child away. I think Frances was always under the impression that her child died at birth, the lie Mercedes told to everyone. This is a dark, complicated novel, but it held me captivated.


message 10: by Gilles (last edited Oct 16, 2012 05:13PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Gilles I don't understand why this novel was such a big success. I didn't think much of it, in fact found it quite boring. I was so glad to move on to other things when I finished it.


Hayley Linfield Have you read Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards? Similar themes, and some very different ones as well. It took me a while to get into it, but once I was in it, I loved it.


Tasiyah No I havent but I'll look into it. Thanks!


Heather Shirley wrote: "I think that James labeled his daughter, Frances, as the "bad girl" of the family. I think this is why he molested only her as the girls were growing up. The true love of his life, the daughter he ..."

I've read this book several times. I randomly picked it up on a discount aisle in Australia. I never could figure out why I liked this book so much but you have put it very well. Dark, disturbing and captivating. I'm going to read it again!


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