WEGG Question #26 - Realism

by Peter Hedges

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inspired
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Unread postby inspired » Fri Apr 27, 2007 6:19 pm

I would have to agree with you ladies and say that the story and characters, for the most part, appeared realistic in the sense that you could probably find people with many of the same traits and living in somewhat similar circumstances today. However, I wish Peter Hedges had spent a little more time developing some of the characters a bit more. Some, like Ellen, seemed far too stereotypical. I would find myself thinking that there had to be more to her than meets the eye. As far as Becky is concerned, I would have to agree with all of you as well and say that she appeared as a person who had lived far beyond her years.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:50 pm

Sorry, to be absent from class today. The real world was claiming way to much of my time today. :banghead:

It seems we have an accord here on the Grape family and Becky. Count me in too. I thought the family interaction was very well written but I had problems with Becky as you all did, just too young to make the character believeable.

KY, you asked a question about the ages and actioins of the Grape kids. I had that thought about Amy but then I think she was stepping into the mother role that Momma had abdicated and Gilbert was falling into the dad role. It seemed to me that they were all clinging to their old lives to take care of Arnie and Momma and stuck in a bit of a time warp, not knowing how to move forward.
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:11 pm

Nebraska and Parlez referred to 40 years ago....

I was wondering while I was reading the book what time period Hedges meant for it to take place. I don't remember him ever saying. Did any of you catch the year or decade? Sometimes I miss these details. :dunce: :blush:
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:24 pm

I didn't catch any references but my take on it was that it was contemporary with the time it was written...early 90's, late 80's? Someone out there may have a better feel or remember something specific from the book. Good question, Liz.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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Linda Lee
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Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:38 pm

The only time frame I remember being mentioned is Elvis's death,
which was 8/16/77. On page 102, Gilbert describes telling Amy that Elvis had died. He also mentions that this was when Momma still did the cooking and appeared in public. I would place the story somewhere in the mid 80's, as a guess.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:43 am

Linda Lee wrote:The only time frame I remember being mentioned is Elvis's death,
which was 8/16/77. On page 102, Gilbert describes telling Amy that Elvis had died. He also mentions that this was when Momma still did the cooking and appeared in public. I would place the story somewhere in the mid 80's, as a guess.


Yes, I always thought it was too, after all when Peter Hedges wrote it it was probably the end of the 80's early 90's. Certainly from the costuming of the movie I always felt it was that period or earlier, but certainly the book mid 80's.

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Unread postby suec » Sat Apr 28, 2007 5:36 am

I have to say that while reading the book, one of the things that struck me most forcibly was just how often I felt that the characters were like people I know, in one way or another, despite the fact that some of them are two-dimensional. In fact, it was a bit too close to home for comfort at times. For example, I have a disabled cousin and one thing that stands out, to a remarkable degree, is the extent to which my aunt talks about him. When we meet up, it's always how he is getting on (he's in a home now) but she never even mentions her other son. The daughters get a passing reference. It is something that the three siblings are all too aware of, as they've had it all their lives. Larry? Check. I know someone just like him, with much less "excuse", who only phones or visits his mother on her birthday, Mothers' Day, and Christmas. She doesn't always get even that; sometimes he settles for having flowers delivered. Mrs Brainer? Check. There are people who do those things, inside and outside of teaching. My own grandmother was one of them. When my little brother went through a bedwetting phase, due to some trauma in his life at the time, she told his cousin about it - a lad the same age as him. Insensitivity, or cruelty depending on how you look at it, can be found anywhere.
While like others, I didn't find Becky very convincing as a character, I thought his interest in her believeable. Not only is she beautiful, she's also one of the few chicks in town. He tells us at the start how old the population of the town is, most young people having left. The few girsl his own age appear to be unattractive to him, or he has antagonised them (or both). Another reason was her difference to Betty Carver. I've seen that happen: someone choose a girl who is so very different from the last.
Unhappy marriages? Check. Merry widows? Check.
On the other hand, characters like Mr Lamson and Tucker were also believable - thankfully! I am grateful that I know people like them too.
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Unread postby Liz » Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:53 am

Gilbert's Girl wrote:
Linda Lee wrote:The only time frame I remember being mentioned is Elvis's death,
which was 8/16/77. On page 102, Gilbert describes telling Amy that Elvis had died. He also mentions that this was when Momma still did the cooking and appeared in public. I would place the story somewhere in the mid 80's, as a guess.


Yes, I always thought it was too, after all when Peter Hedges wrote it it was probably the end of the 80's early 90's. Certainly from the costuming of the movie I always felt it was that period or earlier, but certainly the book mid 80's.


I placed the movie in the mid 80's based on Becky's and Ellen's attire.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby nebraska » Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:07 am

Liz wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:
Linda Lee wrote:The only time frame I remember being mentioned is Elvis's death,
which was 8/16/77. On page 102, Gilbert describes telling Amy that Elvis had died. He also mentions that this was when Momma still did the cooking and appeared in public. I would place the story somewhere in the mid 80's, as a guess.


Yes, I always thought it was too, after all when Peter Hedges wrote it it was probably the end of the 80's early 90's. Certainly from the costuming of the movie I always felt it was that period or earlier, but certainly the book mid 80's.


I placed the movie in the mid 80's based on Becky's and Ellen's attire.


Shocking as it may seem, the mid-80s is 20 years ago. :bawl: I had to stop and do the math.....seems like yesterday. And yes, even that was a different place in time.


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