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Character Development

Created: 04/14/14

Replies: 10

Posted Apr. 14, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
LeahLovesBooks

Join Date: 04/08/14

Posts: 44

Character Development

Life is an odyssey, parenting is an odyssey. Even our careers are odysseys. These characters definitely grow and evolve throughout the book. Yet something is missing: Fikry's leap from self-destruction into fatherhood. Surprisingly, he appears to be a good and responsible parent. Any comments about his evolution? What do you think that Zevin uses complete literary license to saddle him with a child?


Posted Apr. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
maryh

Join Date: 03/17/14

Posts: 8

RE: Character Development

It did seem that Fikry changed awfully quickly. He didn't even know how to change a diaper yet adjusted right away to having a baby in his life? I wanted to hear more about Maya - she was a little too perfect to me. I guess the book had more of the quality of a fairy tale to me. I liked it! But these were just some things that jumped into my mind as I read it.


Posted Apr. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 248

Expert

RE: Character Development

I think that maryh sort of hit the nail on the head with her reference to fairy tales. When I finished this book, which I enjoyed very much, I thought of it as similar to the Aesop's fairy tales and mythical stories we all heard as children. Bad things are happening to good people, bad guys win sometimes, and life goes on with all of it's ups and downs and people do really strange and sometimes awful things. Sort of like our real world of the news of horror and brutality around the globe interspersed with stories of real heroes and real humanitarians doing wonderful things. It was and enjoyable read with joys and sorrows and yet a sort of feel good thing throughout.


Posted Apr. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
donnac's Gravatar
donnac

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 37

RE: Character Development

In Zevin's defense RE character development (for Fikry anyway), I felt that despite his self-destructive tendencies Fikry seemed ready for an excuse to change. It was clear how much he had loved his wife and missed her and then went on a long bender of self pity. The fact that she had been pregnant when she was killed added credibility to the notion that he may have been getting mentally prepped to be a father. So I didn't find it much of a leap to accept his ready response to fathering Maya.

As for Maya, I too felt she was more a prop, character-wise. For one thing she appeared to have too little angst over her abandonment. Abandoned kids usually have more behavior issues. She had none. But then it wasn't her story.

How about the other characters? Did you find Ismay or Lamiase credible? (D0nna Chavez)


Posted Apr. 15, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
markav99

Join Date: 05/27/11

Posts: 7

RE: Character Development

I agree with Donna that AJ had loved his wife , and had been prepared to love his unborn child... so, his ablility to integrate little Maya into his life is believable because she arrives at just the time when AJ needed to re-open himself to the possibility of love. He wasn't an instant natural at parenting, because at first he Googled everything - such as "bathing protocol for a 2 year old girl". I like the way Zevin shows us the many subtle ways that AJ's "porcupine heart" started to care about the other people in his life as well.


Posted Apr. 17, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 121

Expert

RE: Character Development

I think some of this gap in the story may be explained by Zevin's familiarity with YA books. The characters in those books are often not as well developed as we may want. Or they have gaps in their development. I thought it was still a well written book but was a bit of a fairy tale, as are many YA books.


Posted Apr. 17, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Gin

Join Date: 10/21/12

Posts: 24

RE: Character Development

I love the character development in this novel and feel it is one of the real strengths of the book. From the first description of Amelia as she contemplates answering her phone, "she doesn't want to become the kind of person who thinks that good news can come only from calls one was already expecting..." I got such a sense of who these people were, what they thought. I found A.J. to be prickley and irritable but when he realizes the "intolerable bubbling " inside him is "Fucking love, he thinks. What a bother. It's completely gotten in the way of his plan to drink himself to death, to drive his business to ruin. The most annoying thing about it is that once a person gives a shit about one thing, he finds he has to start giving a shit about everything." I could picture these characters inside and out.


Posted Apr. 23, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
maggiep

Join Date: 03/28/14

Posts: 17

RE: Character Development

I had an issue with most of the characters in the book. A.J. went from someone who didn't know the basics about a baby to a really good father. Ismay never quite grew the backbone she needed. Lambiase was reminiscent of a good ol' boy where I wouldn't expect one to exist. My biggest issue was in how easy it seemed to be for A.J. to foster and then adopt Maya. That was the most unrealistic issue of all. With all that said, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit.


Posted Apr. 23, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
LeahLovesBooks

Join Date: 04/08/14

Posts: 44

RE: Character Development

I was struck by how I could picture all the characters. HOWEVER, Zevin does little to fill in the gaps as to how they evolve the way they do. Even the literary references between the chapters offer little insight. I bridged it in my mind by allowing her artistic license. It still amazes me that Fikry grew from eminently dislikable to being more than likable.


Posted May. 08, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
JulieT

Join Date: 05/08/14

Posts: 1

RE: Character Development

I found the beginning of the story very confusing but as it went along the way the characters were introduced by their environments and actions was interesting. It was nice to read something for a change that seemed more normal and had a happy ending even if it was sad. If this were ever made into a movie I would never be satisfied by the actors chosen to be the characters.


Posted May. 14, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
LeahLovesBooks

Join Date: 04/08/14

Posts: 44

RE: Character Development

I'm not sure how this book would do as a movie. The literary references are part of what gives it its "panache."


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