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Group Read Discussions > The Lifeboat

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10108 comments Mod
Welcome our group host Ethan!!

Thanks so much for nominating and agreeing to step up and kick our group read discussion up to the next level! Looking forward to seeing you in action!

message 2: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 616 comments this came in for me at the library the other day and since its a new release I got to get it read - looking forward to starting it tomorrow

message 3: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I look forward to discussing this novel with the group! Just a reminder: The publisher generously offered 3 copies of this novel, so I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog until Sunday. It is open to anyone, but it would be great if you could join in the discussion. As you read the novel, I think you will find there are many things worth talking about.

Here is the link for the giveaway

message 4: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I'm not sure if anyone has started reading the novel yet, but I thought it would be fun to start to discuss the premise of the story, generally, to get us started. At the beginning of the book, Grace finds herself in a life boat, separated from her husband, who stayed behind on the sinking ship. History shows us that women and children were always given first rights to life rafts. With the fairly recent sinking of a cruise line ship, do you feel that the "women and children first" rule still applies?

message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (wsbecker) I am just starting the novel. I feel that the "women and children first" rule still applies. I think most men would feel the need to save their children and wives before themselves. I know I would definitely save my children before myself, but I also would want to save my husband so I don't know. I think they should have to have enough safety equipment for all onboard. That way people would not have to choose who should live and who should die. Looking forward to reading the novel!

message 6: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 616 comments while i'm not necessarily a fan of Wikipedia - here is an article about where the women/children first originated -

personally, I think then, compared to now when I believe vessels are required (IIRC) to have enough to accomodate everybody is doesn't apply as much. But then I'm also in the Navy where we have lifeboats for everyone, and everyone has an assigned one - should we have to abandon ship - and we practice that drill at least once every couple of months.

message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (tnbooklover) Hi Everyone - really looking forward to this discussion. I am almost finished the book and I think there will be loads to discuss. As far as the "women and children first" certainly the children. I'm alittle conflicted as to how I feel about women before men but as others have said it's not as much an issue today as it was then.

message 8: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments Perhaps it has become more about properly drilling passengers for evacuation than who gets out first. While some sort of evacuation plan must be rehearsed, I think it is also important to recognize that things rarely go as planned in times of emergency. Either way, I agree that our standards today seem to focus on everyone making it safely from the ship.

message 9: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments By now, I think it is safe to discuss one of the opening scenes from the novel that really left a lasting impression. As the passengers of the lifeboat sail by some of the debris from their sinking ship, they come upon a person, clinging to a piece of floating wood to stay above the water. Despite wanting to save the stranded passenger, Mr. Hardy makes them leave this person behind. As they sail on, they know that they have just condemned this person to death. Given the situation, is it better to have left the person behind, potentially prolonging the lives of the passengers aboard the boat, or should they have stopped to save the person, purely out of human goodness?

message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (tnbooklover) This scene really sets the tone for the book and sets up one of the main themes. I was surprised that they were leaving people behind this early on in the chaos. I'm not sure there is a difinitive better answer here. The question becomes better for whom? Obviously it's not better for the person left behind. There isn't really any way to know what that person could have contributed to the overall survival had they picked them up but the bottom line was there were more people than the lifeboat could accommodate. Tough, tough decisions certainly. I'm glad I didn't have to make them! As ruthless as Mr. Hardie was I don't think they would have fared as well without him especially in the first few days.

message 11: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (amarie007) | 22 comments I think, as the boat was overflowing with people to begin with, that Hardie made the right decision in leaving the person behind. Saving them purely out of human goodness would have ended up with killing everyone on board the lifeboat, especially when they had problems with the boat flooding later on.

message 12: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments It is odd that Hardie's actions at the start of the story really ensured longer survival for the majority of passengers, but after several days of really losing hope he met such an unfortunate fate.

message 13: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments How is everyone's reading coming along?

message 14: by Colleen (new)

Colleen I just finished but I need time to get my feeling in order.There is alot to think about...I'll be back with more comments soon

message 15: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (tnbooklover) I'm finished as well and agree with Colleen there is ALOT to think about with this one.

message 16: by Paula (new)

Paula I just started to read it and I agree that as hard as the decision was Mr. Hardie made the right decision. In the scheme of things, more people would have died taking on any more individuals. I'm glad I didn't have to make the choice!

message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather Boustead (ReflectionsofaBookWorm) | 21 comments I finished this one a week ago, but I just posted my review. Some of it seemed hard to swallow but in the end I don't know if I would have done differently. *sigh* human nature at it's finest.


message 18: by Paula (new)

Paula I just finished it and wow, what a lot to think about. I couldn't put it down!

message 19: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 616 comments for some reason i am really struggling with this...when I get into it, its good, but actually making myself pick it up is another story...maybe just not in the mood...I might throw my name on the list for the audiobook at the library and try it that way

message 20: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments On the same "human nature" train of thought, I wonder if you have any opinions on the gender roles portrayed in the novel. It could be that, given the early 20th century setting, the roles of the men versus those of the women were decided by the social expectations of the time. On the other hand, does the crisis situation cause men and women to revert the what society deems as their traditional roles?

message 21: by Heather (new)

Heather Boustead (ReflectionsofaBookWorm) | 21 comments Given the time period the book was set it wouldn't have been considered taboo for women and children to be saved. It also would have been expected for the men to step up in the roles they took on, and without giving some of it away, it would have also been expected for the men to decide what they did with the straws. I think now a days it is every man woman and child for themselves, which does come into play into this story hence the beauty (sarcasm) of human nature is portrayed.

message 22: by Ann (new)

Ann (lovabook) | 17 comments Hi Everyone, I haven't read the book yet but it sounds like an interesting discussion on doing the right thing. The recent cruise disaster and the abandonment of the ship by the Italian captain and the worldwide response his unprofessional and unmanly act shows we still have moral expectations. Ashley suggested to sacrifice a few for the common good, but this only works in theory as none of want to be the one sacrificed! I like the Navy's idea of assigned lifeboats. maybe ships could colour code their lifeboats to the level that each passenger is on. Say blue level is blue lifeboat? Looking forward to a good read and more discussion.

message 23: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments Thanks the comments everyone! Feel free to add your own questions. Ann, I think you'll find that the author fairly portrays the different reactions and consequences of the situation. Thanks for joining us.

message 24: by Ann (new)

Ann (lovabook) | 17 comments Thanks Ethan. I have read a few blogs that have critiqued this book. It seems the readers' responses and reactions to this book are really interesting.The author has expertly given us a story that challenges what we least expect of ourselves and others when faced with survival. All the more reason to get a copy!

message 25: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) It seemed to be a story of survival for Grace in many ways, both in and out of the lifeboat. In 1914, her family's money was gone and her father was dead (which was not an easy situation for a single girl). To survive, she arranged to meet Henry Winter, a wealthy man. Then, she has the struggle to survive on the lifeboat with the food and water soon gone, the boat getting flooded with overcrowding, and a power struggle between the passengers. Eventually, Grace faces another test of survival in the courtroom when she is put on trial. Grace has the calm head and personality to be a survivor.

message 26: by Ruthbie (new)

Ruthbie | 2 comments I agree, it is a story about survival, and I think it certainly makes you think about how far you would go in order to survive.

message 27: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments Since the month is coming to an end, I think we can finally discuss the ending. I really enjoyed the book, but I couldn't help but feel that the author didn't really find a suitable ending. After posing all of these questions about life and human nature, I felt that she never came to a point on the issues.

message 28: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (amarie007) | 22 comments Ethan wrote: "Since the month is coming to an end, I think we can finally discuss the ending. I really enjoyed the book, but I couldn't help but feel that the author didn't really find a suitable ending. After p..." I agree. I felt like the book kind of just left the reader hanging. I wanted to know more!

message 29: by Paula (last edited Jun 27, 2012 01:28PM) (new)

Paula I also felt like the author left us hanging. I wondered if it wasn't the author's intent and for every reader determine an ending for themselves or maybe even left room for a second book to fill us in on the rest of the details.

message 30: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I assume that the author intended for the ending to somehow represent the misdirection that Grace must have felt as she completed the trial and began her new life. Either way, I was kind of disappointed in the way that everything wrapped up.

message 31: by Anita (new)

Anita | 2 comments I just finished the book today. I actually really liked the openness of the ending. It felt right to me that Grace, who throughout the book is so evasive and hard to pin down, would end the story that way. It seemed to me that the reader was in the same boat (ha ha!) with Dr. Cole when she says to him "You will have to find your answers without me."

I didn't sympathize with Dr. Cole, who I felt was trying to define things that can't ultimately be defined, and trying to fit Grace's behavior into the little categories he already had set up in his mind. So in a way, I felt like the ending enlarged the book a little bit (does that make sense?), by aligning us with Dr. Cole and challenging our, and his, expectations.

message 32: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 17 comments I also felt the ending was rather weak and the possibility of another book about Grace may have been the reason.
Having just read Anita's response I found her point of view interesting and a way of looking at the end that I head not considered.

message 33: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I kind of agree with Anita about the author's intentions for the ending, but I felt it didn't work as well as the rest of the book.

message 34: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments Thanks to everyone who read and participated in this group read. It has been really fun discussing this great novel with you. This discussion will remain open, so feel free to continue posting as you read and complete the book!

message 35: by Noelle (last edited Jul 08, 2012 07:08PM) (new)

Noelle | 18 comments I enjoyed the premise of the book, but I never really felt for Grace, I mean I was never really rooting for her, and at times I wondered why she wanted to have Mr. Hardie embrace her somehow? and then she eventually sided with the women, since she perceived them as stronger towards the end? Not sure how that could occur so dramatically in such a short time. However, it did appear that most of the people right before the rescue were starting to lose their minds. I just wish I had more compassion for Grace but I never did.

message 36: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 1260 comments I tend to agree that Grace seemed emotionally empty, but I think it may have been a result of the crash. On a macro level, perhaps her lack of emotion is representative of the time period i.e. lake of gender equality.

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