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Topic: PBS BOOK NUTS:MAY *LOVE WALKED IN* by Marisa de los Santos-DISCUSSION

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Subject: PBS BOOK NUTS:MAY *LOVE WALKED IN* by Marisa de los Santos-DISCUSSION
Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
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Final discussion tonight, Thursday, May 28th at 8pm EST.



Last Edited on: 5/28/09 6:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:07 PM ET
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Sorry I didn't get this set up sooner. I had/have a headache and I tried to take a nap to get rid of it. I'll be right back to get started.

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:15 PM ET
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Synopsis

When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. Charming and debonair, the spitting image of Cary Grant, Martin sweeps Cornelia off her feet, but, as it turns out, Martin Grace is more the harbinger of change than change itself.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, eleven-year-old Clare Hobbs must learn to fend for herself after her increasingly unstable mother has a breakdown and disappears. Taking inspiration from famous orphans (Anne Shirley, Sara Crewe, Mary Lennox, and even Harry Potter) Clare musters the courage to seek out her estranged father. When the two of them show up at Cornelia’s café, Cornelia and Clare form a bond as unlikely as it is deep. Together, they face difficult choices and discover that knowing what you love and why is as real as life gets.

 

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:16 PM ET
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What is Clare's fascination with fictional characters? Why is she so fascinated by them, even before her mother leaves? Why can she relate to them? In what ways is she abandoned even before she is actually abandoned?

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:24 PM ET
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I really like this book.  I read the required chapters on Saturday and had a hard time stopping. LOL Then after reading some of the questions in the reading guide I'm looking forward to the rest of the book. This is one of those books that flows for me. It was easy to get into which is hard for me when it's written in 1st person. I think it's easier  because the author goes back and forth between 1st and 3 person.

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/19/2006
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Kathi, I am now liking this book very much but I had a hard time getting into it.  It was almost 100 pages before I started to like it and see how the pieces fit. 

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:38 PM ET
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Do you feel that Cornelia is a "grounded" person or do you feel that she's always trying to find the perfect leading man?

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:40 PM ET
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I think she is more grounded than she appears.

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:45 PM ET
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How do you feel about Martin? Did you find it strange that he never mentioned Clare to Cornelia? He doesn't seem to have any type of relationship with Clare. I don't think the author says anything about how long he has been outside of Clare's life.

Subject: Sorry folks. I'm not feeling so great....
Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:57 PM ET
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Here's a bit from the reading guide to help with the discussion. Please continue with your thoughts and comments about the book.

1. Discuss Clare’s attraction to fictional orphans. Why is she so fascinated by them, even before her mother leaves? Why can she relate to them? In what ways is she abandoned even before she is actually abandoned?

2. Cornelia claims that she doesn’t fantasize about living in an old Hollywood movie but it becomes clear that she does. In what ways does she try to keep her own desires for the perfect Hollywood romance at bay? Why does she think she’ll never have it? Does she harbor false or unrealistic expectations about love? In what ways, in the end, is Cornelia’s story “old Hollywood?”

3. Why do you think Cornelia is so immediately drawn to Martin Grace? What does he represent to her? In what ways does he live up to her expectations? In what ways does he fail?

4. Discuss Martin’s reaction to Clare’s situation. Why do you think he never told Cornelia about Clare? Once Clare reappears in his life, what do you make of his actions and reactions to both Clare and to the missing Viviana? Do you think he handles it well? Try to imagine his perspective. Discuss.

5.In what ways are Cornelia and Clare alike? Why does Cornelia immediately feel the need to comfort Clare? How do they fill empty places in each other’s lives? Also, why does Clare take to Teo so quickly when she can’t do the same for her father? What about Cornelia and Teo together comforts Clare?

6. Clare realizes quickly that her father does not love her. Do you think that she’s correct in her assessment? Do you think, in general, she is fair to Martin? Is Cornelia? When Martin told Cornelia he loved her, did you believe him? Why or why not? Do you think it’s possible that he could love Cornelia but not his own daughter?

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2008
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I think Martin is as deep as a potato chip.  Doesn't care about his marriage.  Doesn't mention his kid because, frankly, she figures so little in his life it never occurred to him because he never gives her a thought. 

I like Cornelia.  I am an old movie fanatic and I love that she identifies with the old movies.  Actually, except for her being tiny (which I am most decidedly not!) I can relate with her almost completely.  She sees more and more of the prop guys and bad lighting in her perfect Hollywood version of the Martin movie but she wants to believe the magic and tries to overlook it. 

Clare I love.  Trixie Belden was my best friend growing up.  Or my alter ego.  I guess lots of kids want to be in a world free of their parents. I read to escape and my favorite daydreams were with those characters.

Poor Clare.  I totally bought into how she handled her mother's "sickness."  She tried to get help, then she tried to ignore it, and then it became her secret.  Totally human reaction. 

I am really enjoying this book.

I hope Martin gets hit by the mother's bus and Clare and Cornelia live happily ever after in a used book & vintage movie shop they buy with the insurance. :o)

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2007
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I hesitated about this book as I anticipated that  it was a lightweight work devoid of much interesting dialogue.  However, I am enjoying it immensely.  I think I read that the author is a poet and that shows in her word choices.  I am a fanatic about words...the plot could be the most clever ever but it the characters don't speak in interesting dialogue, the book is shut.

I like the device where Clare and Cornelia alternate chapters, and the fact that their passions are movies and books, through which they filter their experiences.

Wow!  I am a moron.  I did NOT see Martin as Clare's father, even though the back cover mentioned that Cornelia and Clare cross paths at the cafe though Clare's dad.  I sorta liked Martin until I saw his relationship with his daughter.

One criticism of the book is the shifting description of Clare.  On one hand she seems remarkably grown-up...like managing to care for herself as her mother slips further away, but she also seems more immature at other times.

It became very clear that her mother was unbalanced when she went outside in a summer dress with a picnic basket and disappeared into the woods...not sure what month that was but obviously very cold!!

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 11/25/2008
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So far I don't like this book very much. I read for enjoyment and relaxation and this book is not relaxing for me, expecially the Cornelia chapters. She reminds me of someone who is ADHD--just rambling on and on. And I am not a movie person so the movie analogies don't make much sense to me. I do liek how she alternates characters from chapter to chapter.

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 11:00 PM ET
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Cindy, you are not a moron.  I didn't get Martin as her father either.

Diane, it took me 100 pgs but now I am enjoying the book.  Hang in there..

 

Date Posted: 5/12/2009 7:14 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2008
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There are days I'm not sure if my daughter is 23 or 3...she can be having the most insightful conversation and suddenly throw a hissy fit if her sister looks at her wrong.  (She is 11)  So I can believe the shifting descriptions of Clare.  (Heck, I know 40 year old coworkers like that.)

Date Posted: 5/14/2009 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
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I have to agree with those that said it took about a hundred pages to get into this book.  I had a hard time going back and forth between Clare and Cornelia for a long time too. 

Wow!  I love how Dianne C. said she felt Cornelia had ADHD.  I think she's the reason I had a hard time following her chapters to begin with because of all her ramblings.

I also didn't see it coming that Martin was Clare's father.  I was so disappointed to find that out.  I loved that Martin started out as the perfect "Hollywood" leading man and wish he could have stayed that way.  I'm sure Cornelia felt that way too.  I find myself dreading the times when I see his name come up, because he doesn't measure up.  I wish he would have gone to the police to find Viviana.  I think he didn't go because this way if she is found he can leave Clare's life again.  I find him incredibly selfish and don't believe for a minute that he loves Cornelia. 

 

Date Posted: 5/18/2009 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2005
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I read this last year and sorry that I've missed discussion the last few weeks!

I really loved this book when I read it.  I recently read the sequel to it ("Belong to Me") and can say that it is also a wonderful read.  Yes, it's fluffy, but I really enjoyed both of them and would say they can stand alone as well.

 

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
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Anyone here?

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 8:18 PM ET
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What do you make of Clare’s reaction to Martin’s death? Discuss the conversation she has with Teo on p. 204. Why does Clare think she’s evil? Do you think she is? Why do you think she can have such open conversations with Teo? What about him makes him so trustworthy to her? Why are his opinions so important? What void does he fill in her life?

 

I thought Martin's death was really anticlimatic. I guess it had to happen but it just seemed weird to me. I am glad that Cornelia wised up to the fact that he did seem emotionally stunted and that he probably couldn't really love anyone. How can you not love your own child? How can you forget to mention the fact that you have a child?

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2007
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It has been a while since I finished the book, but I became a bit disallusioned with it about halfway through.  I enjoyed the language and character development, as well as the little side trips plot-wise, but it seemed like the author ran out of steam, or at least fresh ideas. 

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 9:01 PM ET
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I got a similar feeling Cindy.

I'm going to put some other discussion questions here just in case anyone pops in later then I'm heading to bed.

Subject: Discussion questions
Date Posted: 5/28/2009 9:22 PM ET
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Throughout the novel, Linny is a very stabilizing force. What about her soothes Cornelia? Why are both Clare and Cornelia so relieved when Linny arrives just after Viviana? What role does Linny’s character play in the novel? In what ways is she the opposite of Cornelia? Why is that something both Clare and Cornelia need so badly.

11. Were you surprised by Viviana’s return? Did you believe that she would return? Do you think Cornelia’s plans for herself and Clare were realistic?

12. 12. What does Mrs. Goldberg represent to Cornelia? How do her memories of Mrs. Goldberg help her through difficult situations? How do her stories about Mrs. Goldberg help Clare? What does Mrs. Goldberg’s house represent to Cornelia? To Clare? Why does Clare want so badly to stay there?

13. 13. In the end, do you think Cornelia makes the right decision to leave Clare with Viviana? How is leaving them at Mrs. Goldberg’s different than them returning to their own home? Why does it seem safer to all of them? Do you think Clare will really forgive Cornelia for leaving her?

14. 14.Why is Cornelia surprised to discover that she is in love with Teo? Were you surprised? Why or why not? In what ways is he exactly what she was looking for? In what ways is he not? What do you make of his relationship with Ollie? Do you think he and Cornelia have a chance? Why or why not?

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
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I was struck that she was closer to Teo after having just met him, than she was to her own father who she had spent time with.  It really showed that she didn't care about her father, either, when she was more worried that Teo had died.  I think he fills a void because he honestly cared about what she had to say.  I was glad that Cornelia came around and realized that Martin wasn't the man she thought he was. 

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2005
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I think the only thing that bugged me about it was the fact that Cornelia seemed to so readily give up Claire.  I kind of wanted her to keep Claire with her and Teo.

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
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I wasn't surprised by Viviana's return.  From the description of Clare's and Viviana's life before her breakdown she was very attentive and Clare was her life.   I think that Cornelia was very unrealistic in her thoughts that she would get to keep Clare with her after having known her for such a short time.

 

I was glad that Viviana and Clare were staying in the neighborhood.  That will give Clare the stability of knowing that help is only a few houses away.

 

I saw it coming with Cornelia and Teo, but I'm still not sure if I like how he married her sister even though he loved Cornelia.  To me that seemed cowardly to not let her know his true feelings until she finally knew how she felt about him.

 

 

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