Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Some excellent points Emily, particularly the fact that Franklin (post Kevin's arrival) and Celia are cardboard cutouts. I think it's an easy trap to fall into - Shriver's interest is in Kevin and (to a lesser extent) Eva - and I don't think she's allowed the other characters to become real. As you say, they are there solely to fulfil a purpose. Your point about characters taking on a life of their own is very true, but for that to happen you do have to listen to them - sometimes they'll try and take over, butting into scenes unnecessarily and you need to shut them up a bit, but at least if they are given a voice they are more likely to be rounded.

As for the marriage, I don't think it was purely a plot device. To be honest I'm surprised they stayed together at all and the disintegration of their relationship felt right.

I'm also surprised Shriver thought Eva to be 95-99% good mother. Can't say I saw much evidence of it. I find it hard to understand the concept of not loving your child, but would have thought it more likely that in such a position the mother would be prone to seeing the good in her offspring (or at least pretending to) - to cover up the guilt of not loving them or prevent having to face up to the possibility that her lack of love could be in some way responsible for the way they act. Perhaps it would have been interesting if the Franklin/Eva roles had been reversed.