All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-a-long Discussion Pt 2

on February 18, 2013

Lifesaving For BeginnersHello everyone and welcome to the second part of our discussion. Thank you to all who took the time to drop by last week and comment and leave their thoughts and contribute to the discussion. Again, this post will contain ***SPOILERS*** up to page 296.

Part 2 revealed what a lot had already suspected: Kat is Faith’s birth mother. Pregnant at 15, she didn’t even realise until she was into her 7th month. I hear about these people but in the 2 times I’ve been pregnant I’ve looked like a person with a beach ball wedged up my top and both my babies have kicked the living bejeesus out of me. So I’m never going to have one of those pregnancies that takes me by surprise with a mere 6-8wks to go! Kat’s mother didn’t find out until she was in labour and she made the decision that Kat should give the baby up for adoption. She felt it was the best thing to do.

Faith, having gotten the address of her birth mother (via Milo, in the first section of the book) took herself off to Ireland, Milo in tow to attempt to meet the woman who gave birth to her. This didn’t go so well, as Kat refused to turn up to her parent’s place where Faith was waiting.

In other news, Thomas learned that Kat had a baby and Kat learned that Thomas is getting married. And someone is blackmailing Kat with the knowledge that she is the author of the Declan Darker series.

Two things stood out at me reading this section. They were DENIAL and DOING THE RIGHT THING. It seems that Kat lives a life of denial – she never thinks of the baby she gave birth to (she didn’t even know if it was a boy or girl, she never saw it, never held it, never wanted to). She doesn’t want to deal with Faith’s appearance in her life now – she could have gone around to her parent’s and used that as a way to meet her in the company of others, which may have made it easier. But instead she ran away and that seems to be what Kat is doing these days. She’s holing up in her apartment, drinking too much wine, eating too much take out, unplugging the phone, not working on her novel. She even applies this form of denial to her relationships – she refuses to see how she cares for Thomas, or acknowledge it. Perhaps if she did, it would put her in a position where she would need to move forward, perhaps get married, or entertain the idea of children… and all of that would bring about memories Kat has kept firmly locked away.

Likewise there’s several mentions of doing the right thing – Kat’s mother tells her that she thought adoption was the right thing at the time, but now all of these years later, she’s not sure that it was. Faith’s aunt tells her that her adoptive parents didn’t tell her that she was adopted because that’s what they felt was right… they didn’t want her to feel any differently from the twins, or from Milo.

I think that Kat’s mother is a large part of the way Kat is, especially once I saw the way in which her parents interacted. I also think that never speaking of it has had severe repercussions.

A few questions:

Do you agree/disagree that Kat is severely in denial about many things? Do you think this contributes to the fanatical way in which she guards her privacy?

Did her mother do the right thing in arranging an adoption? Was it the right thing to never talk about it, ever?

Did Faith’s parents do the right thing in not telling her that she was adopted?

Who do you think Kat’s blackmailer is?

Thanks everyone and I’ll see you back here next week to wrap it all up!


14 responses to “Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-a-long Discussion Pt 2

  1. Feistykel says:

    Kat is absolutely in denial! It drove me nuts but that just means it was written well. I think that it does help her privacy and I think those conveniently feed one another.

    Of course that arranged adoption was a nightmare and should never have gone down the way it did. You know, it’s one of those awful things that has such huge impact and at the time everyone is just trying to do what’s ‘right’ – just to get it out of the way. Never a good idea long term.

    In terms of telling a kid they are adopted – I don’t think that’s a call we can make fairly (unless we’ve been there) it’s such a highly personal thing, I’d hate to try and say yes or no – I just don’t think it’s that black or white.

    The blackmailer had me beat. I couldn’t figure it out, but I thought perhaps it had to be comeone connected to Faith. Maybe the boyfriend?

    • I agree that she’s very well written! I’d far rather hate a character and get fired up and be angry at their actions than feel nothing at all. A book that can make me feel so many things is a well-written book in most cases.

      I only know of 2 people that are adopted and both of them were told when they were children/always knew so I don’t really know what it would be like to find out something like that in your 20’s. I think on one hand, I can see where the parents were coming from – they didn’t want any division when they were able to conceive naturally later on. But then you do very much run the risk of them finding out somehow, even without the parents splitting up and one of them passing away.

      I really had no idea about the blackmailer at this stage also.

  2. I also agree about Kat totally being in denial and I’m finding her quite unlikeable at the moment. How sad though, that Kat’s parents had no idea she was pregnant until she was in labour. Talk about heads in the sand! Obviously it would have been sensible for Kat’s mother to talk through the adoption idea first and it would have been nice for Kat to see the baby and know it was a girl. On the other hand, would that have made the adoption process that much harder? I’m not sure there was another option because there was no way either Kat or her parents were capable of looking after a baby at that stage.
    With regards to faith’s adoption, that is a tricky one. I agree that until you are faced with that kind of a situation it’s impossible to know how you would react. I felt horrible for Faith that she travelled all the way to see Kat and got nothing from Kat in return. faith comes across as being quite mature, but Kat acting like a spoilt child.
    I’m really enjoying the humour associated with Milo and his child’s perspective of the world. Life seems so much simpler when you’re ten!
    Also no idea about the identity of the blackmailer. Perhaps it’s Maurice?

    • I agree that it was very sad her parents didn’t know and that she couldn’t tell them. I don’t have a daughter but I would hope that if I ever did and something like this happened, she could come to me and tell me. And I think that yes, it would’ve been good for everyone to talk about it, but given the dynamics of Kat’s family (teen mother with absent, often vague parents, special needs child) I think it would’ve been quite difficult for Kat to keep and raise the baby herself. Not impossible, but then she wasn’t given that option. I know that in the “olden days” when babies being adopted out was more common, it did happen quite often that the mothers didn’t see the child before it was taken away. Presumably so that they wouldn’t bond with the child or change their mind.

  3. Adoption is such a personal thing although these days, with so many ‘open adoptions’ it forces less secrecy.

    The blackmailer has me stumped (although I’m not trying to think about it too much, just letting the story unfold). My only thought was that perhaps it’s someone connected with Brona (Kat’s publisher), given that Brona wants to reveal Killian’s true identity. That said, it seems a little malicious for a publisher!

    I am still really enjoying all the bits written from Milo’s perspective and, perhaps because I have a 10yo son, keep finding Milo’s story heart-breaking. He is so stoic and it’s the little details – eg. having to cut his own toenails now that his mum is gone and his observations such as ‘ice cream tastes the same in the winter as it does in the summer, despite what adults think’ – that makes him such a lovely character.

    • I find Milo’s story heartbreaking too…. I really felt for him when he was trying to hide his fear about Faith never coming back from Ireland. And Faith was really quite clueless about it but I was quite happy for him when she allowed him to come with her in the end. I think the trip actually helped the both of them with their relationship, even if that particular one didn’t help Faith with her adoption.

  4. To be honest, Kat needs some sense knocked into her – she has been in denial for far too long already! Perhaps the way her family handled the pregnancy and adoption played a role – sort of a here one day, gone the next. I really think the family should have discussed adoption and other options, but they don’t sound like a talking family (especially Kat’s mum).

    I don’t think denial plays a huge role in Kat’s need for privacy – some people just are more private than others and given Kat’s real job…well, it’s a bit OTT but each to their own. Possibly she gets it a bit from her mother, who seems to continually disappear to write books…

    I’m wondering if the blackmailer is someone from the inquest at the start of the book – otherwise it must be someone who we haven’t met yet.

    Argh, now I must get on and read the final part. I really want to know who the blackmailer is!

  5. Susan says:

    I have to say, I really struggled to maintain interest in this middle section of the book. During the 150 (ish) pages, not a whole lot happened and the narrative doesn’t seem to be going anywhere particularly interesting. The writing is easy to read but I can’t seem to reconcile the imbalance between the sunny tone of the writing and the (relatively) bleak subject-matter. It just doesn’t feel right for me. And the staccato sentence structure is driving me funky bananas, almost as much as the dialogue-explanation-dialogue-explanation pattern that the paragraphs have settled into.

    For me, books are a vital form of escapism, and this one is annoying me more rather than capture my interest. Kat’s self-centredness (and self-righteousness) is maddening. I’m finding it very hard to care about her or feel sympathy for her. She’s one of those people that I’d want to tell to shut up and stop being so ungrateful for what she’s got. She behaves like she has never really grown up, especially during the scene when Faith goes to Ireland to make contact with her.

    I, too, thought the blackmailer might be a publisher hoping to capitalise on Kat’s secret but, again, I’m not really that intrigued. I don’t understand why she just doesn’t ignore the phone when he rings. Why would you pick up? And Thomas leaving his big engagement news on the answersphone? Nah…

    Above all, the biggest problem I have is the wild coincidence that Faith’s two mothers were involved in the same accident. I’m sure bizarre things like this happen every day but in this instance I just don’t buy it.

    • I agree about the coincidence with the two mothers in the car accident – it is so unlikely but one of those things that, when reading fiction, I just suspend my disbelief! That said, I thought the scene where Kat’s mother delivered the news (about Faith’s adoptive mother being in the accident) really lacked punch – Kat barely reacted and I think as (creative) authors, such as both she and her mother are, they would realise how INCREDIBLE that coicidence was.

  6. Jessi says:

    I’m still finding Kat’s character irritating – but I prefer that in a character than being totally impartial to them. All of the traits I find myself frustrated just help make her a real character, we are all at times selfish/self centered and feel that the world revolves around us to a degree, That being said, I can see her being a person I would avoid in real life.

    In regards to the adoption, personally I think it is so much better for everyone if everything is just truthful and upfront from the start – no hush hush or secret keeping. However, I understand that in previous generations this hasn’t always been socially acceptable either and that was just the way situations were dealt with (everyone’s family lines have similar things if you look back far enough). I feel that it causes so much unnecessary hurt in an already difficult situation.

    I have no idea yet who the blackmailer could possibly be, which for me means that a book is well written. I like to be kept guessing and then when I look back think “how could I have missed that?”. There is nothing worse than when you can tell the way a story line will play out.

    I feel really sympathetic to Milo, it is a big adjustment for such a young person and I really like reading from his perspective.

  7. Like most people I agree that Kat is in denial and needs help! I think she guards her privacy because she doesn’t want anyone to know the real Kat. Likewise in the way she treated Thomas in the first third of the book – she was dismissive of him, contrary and difficult. To me, that’s just symptomatic of her denial. She’s denying her true feelings so she covers over them, makes light of them. It’s the same as people who are flippant or laugh off things others feel strongly about. They can’t bring themselves to feel because it hurts.

    I also found it sad that Kat was unable to talk to her parents. Little is really known about her teen relationship with them but I’d guess it was similar to most. You know, “I can’t talk to my olds. They don’t understand anything”. Finding out at such a late stage of pregnancy would be terrifying. But I’m not sure I believe that she really didn’t know, didn’t suspect anything. Maybe she thought it would all go away. And then, agreeing to let her child be put up for adoption – a classic, “make it go away” scenario. It’s sad that this was the only option her mother saw and there seemed to be no discussion about other options. I guess that’s another way to look at the lifesaving aspect of the title – maybe her mother thought she was saving Kat’s life – giving her a life.

    Not talking about it for years is sad, also. I find it hard to believe that Minnie and Kat never talked about it. It’s strange. When you go through something like that together, wouldn’t you talk about it?

    At this point I don’t know who the blackmailer is. It’s an interesting twist to the story. A catalyst that will eventually force Kat to face her fears and the truth of who she is.

    I’m interested to see what happens next – I have hopes that Kat and Faith will be able to form a relationship, but it will be difficult.

    Sorry this is late again!

  8. […] or want to know more about how they work, here are the links to our comments each week: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Beware of […]

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